There is hope for millions living with bladder control issues

Not being able to control your bladder is a problem 40 million Americans are dealing with in the country. It’s a taboo issue that people will live with for decades without considering a visit to the doctor. But we are learning about good news for those who struggle with this.

“I would constantly say, you know ‘I need to use the bathroom; I’m sorry,’ or ‘Where is your bathroom; I’m sorry,’” said Joanne Anderson in Punta Gorda.

Anderson is among the millions of Americans with bladder-control issues. She suffered with it for more than a decade.

“It was very embarrassing that no matter, where we would go; I would have to make sure that I looked up a bathroom,” Anderson explained.

Anderson finally went to see a urologist.

Dr. Carolyn Langford told us, an estimated 50% of people with severe symptoms see a specialist.

Part of the reason is related to feelings of shame due to the problem.

“Because it’s not something you talk about in polite company,” Landford said.

But it’s worth talking about because there are solutions out there. It includes exercises, medications, and Botox is another possible option.

There is also a fairly new treatment called a neurostimulator. It’s something a surgeon implants in a patient. The device normalizes communication between the brain and bladder.

“They are smaller about the size of a thumb drive, which is really advanced,” Langford said. “They’re now MRI safe, and they’re rechargeable, lasting up to 15 to 20 years.”

Anderson is a believer. She now can go two to four hours between trips to the bathroom.

“It’s just more comfortable to know that I’m OK, and I’m not going to have an accident,” Anderson said.

Dr. Langford told the biggest misconception about bladder control issues is that medication is the only solution. She said, almost 100% of the time, there is more that can be done.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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