Could a Tampon-Like Device Help Bladder Control?

Ladies, if your bladder leaks when you laugh, cough, dance, sneeze, and/or exercise you could be experiencing stress urinary incontinence (SUI). And, if you are, you’re in a club with many millions of members, says urologist Mark Wainstein, MD, FACS, a ProMedica genito-urinary surgeon on staff at ProMedica Toledo Hospital where he is a Fellow in pelvic and reconstructive surgery.

SUI happens to many women as they age, Dr. Wainstein says and is “often caused by injuries to the pelvic floor muscles, ligaments and vagina resulting from pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.” When these bladder supports weaken, the bladder can move toward the vagina. Because this downward movement prevents muscles that force the urethra shut from squeezing as tightly as they need to, urine can leak into the urethra when physical stress occurs.

What to do. If this sounds like you, the first thing to do is see your primary care doctor, Dr. Wainstein advises. If he or she diagnoses SUI, then you may ask about treatment options, including Poise* Impressa* Bladder Supports. However, if you experience the other type of incontinence, Urge Urinary Incontinence (UUI), which is most often associated with the sudden need or rush to urinate, these bladder supports are not for you. This type is most often treated with medications.

Poise* Impressa* Bladder Supports can help allay SUI by addressing valve problems, which is one of three things that have to be in place for the bladder to work properly, Dr. Wainstein says.

How it works. The Poise* Impressa* Bladder Support “is transvaginal and is inserted just like a tampon,” Dr. Wainstein says. “It works by simply creating a better seal on the valve by pinching the urethra.”

When not to use. However, there are some limitations. For instance, women who are pregnant, experiencing their menstrual cycles and those with vaginal and/or urinary infections should not use Poise* Impressa* Bladder Supports, Dr. Wainstein advises.

Other options. Women may also receive physical therapy to improve the function of the valve but the long-term success is limited, Dr. Wainstein reports. Also, a sling can be implanted surgically underneath the urethra to tighten the valve. Dr. Wainstein says that he’s implanted numerous slings and that “complication rates are very low,” despite the controversy surrounding them. There are also options for women experiencing UUI.

The first step to finding a cure for your SUI, Dr. Wainstein emphasizes, is to see your primary doctor. “There are tests that can be done to find out the cause for both SUI and UUI. It’s important that women know they are not alone and that something can be done for them.”

Dr. Wainstein says urinary incontinence “is not a normal part of aging,” though many women believe it to be. “Many women feel they just have to live with it. That’s unfortunate because there are actually many things that can be done.”

If you have questions about bladder control, speak with your primary care provider or consider speaking to a urologist.