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New Treatment Available For Overactive Bladder Relief

April 25, 2012

Over 34 million people in the United States suffer from overactive bladder with symptoms such as urgency and frequency of urination. Typical treatment may include patient education, dietary changes, addressing bowel problems, urge suppression techniques, and bladder retraining with a board certified continence care nurse. Additionally, medications commonly prescribed for overactive bladder have side effects of dry eyes, dry mouth, and constipation so patients may trade one problem for another.

Now there’s good news for those whose suffer from overactive bladder. If at least two overactive bladder medications have not been helpful, Medicare and many other insurance providers now cover a non-pharmaceutical therapy that may help 60% to 80% of patients suffering with overactive bladder relief. The therapy is Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation or PTNS.

PTNS uses a very fine needle (similar to an acupuncture needle) inserted in the inside, lower leg/ankle skin and connected to a pulsating low electrical charge that stimulates the tibial nerve, which transmits the impulse up the leg to the nerves in the pelvic plexus to help relax bladder spasms. Discomfort is minimal. The treatment lasts one-half hour, once a week, for 12 weeks. Significant improvement in symptoms usually occurs by treatment 5 or 6, usually with decreased urination initially at night allowing for better quality of sleep as well as decreased daytime visits to the toilet. After the 12-week treatment, patients return in 4 weeks to maintain the effect, then 5 weeks, etc. until the appropriate interval to maintain the effect is determined.

Ideal candidates for this therapy include those patients who have been unresponsive to drugs; had insufficient response to drugs; are unable to take drugs; have had intolerable side-effects from drugs; or simply do not want to take drugs. This new therapy is now available at Bozeman Deaconess Urological Associates. For more information, contact them at 406-556-5300.
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