Ask the Nurse

I am 77 years old and had a bladder suspension previously. I have taken a number of medications for my overactive bladder, but the side effects have been prohibitive. When I get the urge, I immediately use the restroom. I still have a leaky bladder. I also have a bulging bladder and have used a pessary, but it does not always work. Is there anything I can do for the bulging bladder and leaky bladder?

There are many different types of leaky bladders, also known as urinary incontinence. This includes:

  1. Stress incontinence - leaking with coughing, sneezing or bearing down
  2. Urge incontinence - leaking with the sensation of urgency
  3. Mixed incontinence - mixture of both stress and urge incontinence

Doctors may use medications to help treat overactive bladder or urge incontinence, but these medications can often cause constipation, dry mouth and fatigue. To treat stress incontinence, we encourage women to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles by performing Kegel exercises.

A newer option is automatic neuromuscular pelvic exercising devices which are FDA approved to treat stress, urge and mixed urinary incontinence. Please read the column on vaginal bootcamp to learn more about the pelvic floor muscles and what you can do to exercise them!

For the bulging bladder, also known as prolapse, we recommend you seek consultation with your original surgeon. The pessary can be a good temporizing measure. Unless it is causing major obstructive symptoms, it is not a medical emergency but should still be evaluated by your original surgeon, if possible.

All my best,
Speaking of Women’s Health nurse

February 6, 2016 at 11:10am