What is overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder is a condition with symptoms that include urinary urgency, frequency and possibly urinary leakage. Spasms of the bladder muscles cause people to feel like they must urinate often and quickly, even though there may not be much urine in the bladder. Spasms may be due to muscles that are too active, inappropriate nerve signals between the bladder and the brain, hormone changes, pelvic floor weakness, neurological disorders or a urinary tract infection (UTI).
How will UCPA’s new services help patients?
For those suffering from an overactive bladder (OAB), Urology of Central Pennsylvania has gone a step beyond routine standard care. We have created an easy route for patients to better communicate with healthcare providers and find the right solution, saving patients both time and money.
These new services are called UCPA’s OAB Patient Navigator and OAB Care Pathway.
OAB Patient Navigator
When a patient chooses to use the complimentary OAB Patient Navigator service, a personal Navigator will call her/him regularly to: explain and answer questions about his/her diagnosis, coordinate communication between the patient and physician, guide the patient through the next steps toward significant improvement in OAB symptoms, and facilitate scheduling treatments.
UCPA’s clinical team, including the personal Navigator, will help to guide patients through the OAB Care Pathway, from evaluation to conservative treatments to re-evaluation and more invasive treatment, if needed.
OAB Care Pathway
The OAB Care Pathway begins with an Evaluation of the patient’s urgency, frequency and incontinence. Once the evaluation has been completed, UCPA’s clinical team can recommend therapies to treat symptoms.
The next step on the OAB Care Pathway is Conservative Therapies. There are many ways that patients can overcome an overactive bladder. Conservative therapies include bladder training, pelvic floor muscle training and diet and exercise. Medication may also be included to assist patients as they employ the strategies listed above and their bodies grow stronger.
After four to eight weeks of conservative therapy and conversations with the personal Navigator, patients will return to the office for a re-evaluation. Depending on how the patient has progressed and whether symptoms continue, advanced therapies may be needed.
Advanced therapies include Botox® and InterStim™. Botox® can be used to treat incontinence or urgency/frequency caused by involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle. The benefits usually last for 6 to 9 months, and the procedure can be repeated, if successful. Studies have shown that roughly 70% of patients will benefit from this approach.
InterStim™ is an implant that electrically stimulates the sacral nerves, located in the lower area of the spinal column above the tailbone. The sacral nerves affect bladder and bowel functions and use of InterStim™ may change or alleviate symptoms. This therapy is effective, but does not work for everyone.
There are two stages to InterStim™ therapy – evaluation and implantation. The evaluation, or Percutaneous Nerve Evaluation (PNE), is about a week-long test to ascertain whether the treatment will work for the patient. If the treatment is successful, the staged, permanent implant is placed.
Overactive Bladder is common and treatable
Overactive bladder is very common. More than 37 million adult Americans suffer from the challenges of bladder issues, but many do not seek help due to embarrassment. People suffer physically, emotionally and socially from OAB due to its distressing effects. Those with OAB may limit social interactions, employment opportunities, trips outside of the home and develop social isolation and depression. It may affect exercise, your sleep and your sex life. OAB may also cause skin problems or infections.
Frequency, urgency and leaking urine is not normal and there is something you can do about it. A variety of treatment options are available and UCPA offers our patients a personalized journey to better bladder health through the OAB Patient Navigator and Care Pathway.
Improve your quality of life starting today by calling Urology of Central Pennsylvania at 717-724-0720 or 717-763-1174.