3 Advanced Treatment Options for Overactive Bladder

When you arrive at a mall, movie the­ater, restau­rant or anoth­er pub­lic place, do you instant­ly try to locate the near­est bath­room? If you do, you may be suf­fer­ing from an over­ac­tive blad­der. Over­ac­tive blad­der (OAB) is a chron­ic con­di­tion that can affect your life in so many dif­fer­ent ways, a lot of times because you are wor­ried about your blad­der trig­ger­ing at the wrong time. 

Over­ac­tive blad­der is a con­di­tion that con­sists of fre­quent uri­na­tion, urgent uri­na­tion, and/​or unin­ten­tion­al loss of urine asso­ci­at­ed with urgency that you can’t con­trol. In fact, this chron­ic con­di­tion affects more than 33 mil­lion Amer­i­cans; as many as 40% of all women and 30% of all men live with over­ac­tive blad­der symp­toms. The real num­ber of those affect­ed by OAB is prob­a­bly much high­er since most peo­ple don’t know that they can receive help for these symp­toms or are embar­rassed by them.

When treat­ing over­ac­tive blad­der, your physi­cian will gen­er­al­ly start you off with con­ser­v­a­tive treat­ment meth­ods like pelvic floor exer­cis­es, blad­der train­ing, diet changes and/​or med­ica­tions. But if these don’t work for you, there are three FDA-approved advanced ther­a­pies avail­able that can help you gain con­trol of your bladder. 

Urgent® PC

The Urgent PC sys­tem is a spe­cif­ic type of neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion called per­cu­ta­neous tib­ial nerve stim­u­la­tion (PTNS). This treat­ment involves stim­u­la­tion of a nerve locat­ed in the ankle, sim­i­lar to acupunc­ture, and is per­formed in-office for 30-minute treat­ment ses­sions. Patients typ­i­cal­ly describe the treat­ment as a tin­gling or pul­sat­ing sen­sa­tion. When start­ing this treat­ment, you will receive an ini­tial series of 12 ses­sions each spaced 1 week apart. If you respond to this treat­ment, main­te­nance ther­a­py is need­ed month­ly to main­tain the results. It gen­er­al­ly takes 5 – 7 weeks for symp­toms to change.


While BOTOX® is most com­mon­ly known for treat­ing wrin­kles, it is also able to help treat an over­ac­tive blad­der. BOTOX® injec­tions can be quick­ly deliv­ered to the blad­der through a small cam­era (cys­to­scope) gen­tly placed inside the blad­der. Blad­der BOTOX® can be per­formed in the office or as an out­pa­tient pro­ce­dure. Blad­der BOTOX® requires repeat injec­tions every 6 – 9 months.

Inter­Stim® Therapy

This blad­der con­trol ther­a­py is called sacral neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion. A pace­mak­er-like device for your blad­der is implant­ed just beneath the skin. The sys­tem uses gen­tle elec­tri­cal stim­u­la­tion to nor­mal­ize your blad­der – help­ing you gain blad­der con­trol. Hav­ing this sys­tem installed is done under seda­tion as an out­pa­tient pro­ce­dure. You will be able to test the device pri­or to hav­ing it sur­gi­cal­ly installed to see if this ther­a­py works for you. The final device lasts for about 5 – 7 years before it needs to be replaced.

If you suf­fer from over­ac­tive blad­der symp­toms, know that you are not alone and that there are many dif­fer­ent ther­a­pies that can help you live a bet­ter life.

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