A New Solution to an Old Problem

By Joseph Gauta, MD, FACOG

A New Solution to an Old ProblemMany people suffer from an Overactive Bladder (OAB) and are desperate to find a solution. No one should have to experience the annoying and embarrassing problem of a constant need to use the toilet. While an Overactive Bladder can occur in both men and women, it generally affects women more often. The symptoms include urinary urgency, frequency, and even incontinence.

While all of the causes are not known, we do know that certain activities can make the situation worse. For example, drinking excessive amounts of caffeine, soft drinks, and alcohol can have an unwanted diuretic effect. Sometimes, simple lifestyle changes may help alleviate symptoms.  Physical regimens such as bladder training and pelvic exercises can be beneficial. There are also medications available for OAB that have been proven to be effective.

There is another treatment that has been proven to be very effective in treating annoying bladder and fecal issues associated with overactive bladder.  It is called Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS). This involves the insertion of neurostimulator electrodes into the lower leg. The goal is to send stimulation through the tibial nerve. A tiny wire the size of a hair is placed just under the skin of the leg and an external pulse generator then delivers a mild electrical signal that travels to the sacral nerve plexus. The sacral nerve plexus, among other functions, regulates bladder and pelvic floor function.

PTNS is a low-risk procedure and no major safety concerns have surfaced. This makes it a viable alternative for many who suffer with OAB. In separate studies, the success rate has been shown to be over 75%. Locally, Joseph Gauta MD, a renowned Urogynecologist has seen success with this procedure first hand. With PTNS, there is great news for anyone suffering from an overactive bladder.

While this option may not be for everyone, its very promising to those who suffer from OAB. If you have any questions regarding Overactive Bladder (OAB), please contact the Florida Bladder Institute at (239) 449-7979. It is one of the leading women’s surgical facilities in Southwest Florida. They specialize in both Gynecology and Urogynecology. The Florida Bladder Institute is located at 1890 SW Health Parkway – Suite 205, Naples, Florida 34109. You can also visit their website at: www.floridabladderinstitute.com.

Why did you seek treatment?
I was  in a car accident and suffered some muscle and nerve damage.  Since the car accident I’ve experienced incontinence and my toes curl under rather than go straight.  My friend told me about the percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation and how it worked great to treat her incontinence so I decided to give it a try.

What does the treatment entail?
I went to the doctors office once a week for 12 weeks to have the percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation done.  After 6 visits the doctor interviewed me to see how it was working. I told him after one treatment I noticed improvement.    A small needle that resembles an acupuncture needle was placed into my ankle.  This needle pulses and sends an electric current up the tibial nerve. It doesn’t hurt at all. The electric current reawakens the nerve that wasn’t working.   The treatment lasts about 45 minutes.  As a bonus, my toe that was curled under on that foot is now straight!

Would you recommend this
treatment to a friend?
Oh yes, that’s how I found out about it.   I tell all my friends about it and hopefully it can help them too.
—- M.S.

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