When you struggle with severe stress incontinence, a laugh, sneeze, or cough can turn a fun, joyful day into a frustrating, embarrassing, wet mess. Millions of men and women go through life with incontinence. They are never sure when a leak will appear, but what they do know is that leaks are inevitable.
Does this sound familiar? If so, you need to know that just because incontinence is part of your present does not mean it needs to be part of your future. Don’t cancel plans because you’re worried about leaks. Live life to the fullest without having to think about incontinence.
If you want to revisit what it was like to live without incontinence, schedule an appointment Urology One. Dr. Tabet, Dr. Heiser and Dr. Ochs will discuss the effective artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) procedure to treat severe stress incontinence, and explain how it can put an end to your leaks and incontinence-related worries.
The urinary sphincter is a muscle in your body. This muscle, located past the bladder and at the start of the urethra, allows you to regulate the flow or urine from your bladder. When your body tells the urinary sphincter to close, it prevents your bladder from leaking urine through the urethra. When your body tells it to open, you can then urinate through your urethra.
Often following a prostatectomy or radiation therapy, you may lose control of your urinary sphincter. When you lose control of your urinary sphincter, you may no longer be able to close it, or you may not know it has relaxed, causing you to leak.
An artificial urinary sphincter acts as your natural urinary sphincter would if it was functioning properly, but is controlled manually. If your urinary sphincter is failing, resulting in severe incontinence, an AUS can help restore bladder control by giving you the power to keep your urethra closed until you are ready to urinate.
The AUS device has three parts: a balloon, urethral cuff, and pump. The balloon is located under your stomach muscles, and it receives fluid when the urethral cuff is opened. The urethral cuff is located around the urethra and filled with fluid to make it close, stopping urine from leaking out. When there is no liquid in the urethral cuff, the urethra is open, and urine can pass through. The pump, located in the scrotum, moves fluid in and out of the urethral cuff when activated by squeezing the pump.
When squeezed, the pump starts the AUS system, and you will be able to urinate and empty your bladder. The cuff will remain open for three minutes, giving you enough time to finish urinating, and then close automatically, preventing leaks.
If your urinary sphincter is failing, causing severe stress incontinence, you may benefit from an AUS. This form of incontinence often stems from having surgery on the prostate or pelvis, or if you have experienced damage to your nerves. The AUS procedure is recommended only for those with severe incontinence. To discuss benefits, risks, and side effects of having an AUS, schedule an appointment with Urology One.
Incontinence is hardly ever permanent, meaning that even if your stress incontinence is severe, putting incontinence behind you is possible. The experts at Urology One have spent three decades helping patients with incontinence and other urological conditions, and has become known for providing an excellent patient experience.
In your initial appointment with our specialists, we will examine your body, ask about your symptoms, and conduct tests to discover the cause of your incontinence and begin to develop a treatment plan.