Oral Medications

Anticholinergics

How they work

Anticholinergic drugs block the action of a chemical messenger acetylcholine so the bladder has less contractions.

Anticholinergic medications include:

  • Oxybutynin (Ditropan XL, Oxytrol)
  • Tolterodine (Detrol)
  • Darifenacin (Enablex)
  • Solifenacin (Vesicare)
  • Trospium
  • Fesoterodine (Toviaz)

Mirabegron (Myrbetriq)

Can treat mostly urge urinary incontinence and overactive bladder. Mirabegron relaxes the bladder muscle and can increase the amount of urine your bladder can hold. It will also help to empty your bladder more completely because the bladder hold more urine.

Estrogen

Low-dose, topical estrogen in the form of a vaginal cream, that can rejuvenate deteriorating tissues in the vagina and urinary tract and relieve some incontinence symptoms.

Imipramine

Imipramine (Tofranil) is a tricyclic antidepressant. It makes the bladder muscle relax, while causing the smooth muscles at the bladder neck to contract. It may be used to treat mixed incontinence when there is both urge and stress incontinence.

Usually taken at night because it can cause drowsiness.

Duloxetine

How it works

Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that is approved to treat depression. Studies suggest it might work for both urinary incontinence and depression.

In-Office procedures

Injections

If lifestyle changes and prescription drugs don’t work for you, or the drug side effects are serious, then botulinum toxin, better known as Botox®, is injected into your bladder muscle by way of a small flexible camera in the office. This works well for overactive bladder or urge incontinence. The drug can paralyze muscles to keep it from contracting too often. It may need to be repeated in 3 to 6 to 8 months. Risks include infection and retention of urine.

Stimulating Nerves (Neuromodulation Therapy)

Sacral neuromodulation (SNS)

This treatment will work by stimulating the sacral nerve (near the base of the spine) that goes to the bladder. SNS therapy basically uses a “bladder pacemaker” to interrupt these signals from the bladder to the brain, which can improve OAB symptoms like urgency and frequency. This device delivers electrical impulses to the bladder to essentially stop the signals from the spinal cord that cause OAB. Risk can include site infection, neuron damage, spinal cord bleeding, and rarely infection.

Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS)

This in office minimally invasive therapy stimulates the tibial nerve. PTNS is performed during an office visit that takes about 30 minutes but requires 12 treatments. A small acupuncture needle electrode is placed in your ankle. Gentle electrical pulses are sent to the tibial nerve which runs up your knee to the sacral nerves. The electrical pulses help block the nerve signals that aren’t working correctly.

Surgical Procedures

Urethral Injections for Stress Incontinence

Urethral Injections/Bulking Agents

Using types of collages, the doctor can “bulk up” the urethral sphincter muscle to keep the urethra closed. “Bulking agents” are injected into the urethra using a camera. The injections can be repeated every 3 months if needed. This method is not as effective as other surgeries called a urethral sling, but there is minimal down time. Bulking agents are a temporary treatment.

Sling Surgery for Women with SUI

Sling surgery is the most common treatment for women with stress incontinence. A small strip of synthetic mesh or your own fascia is placed under your urethra as a hammock to support the urethra.

Two types of sling exist:

  • Midurethral sling – The midurethral sling is the most common type of surgery used to correct SUI. The sling is made out of a narrow strip of synthetic mesh that is placed under the urethra with a variety of techniques: retropubic, transobturator and single-incision.
    • For sling surgery made from surgical mesh, the surgeon may only need to make a small cut (incision) in the vagina. The sling is then inserted under the urethra and anchored in the surrounding pelvic floor tissue. This surgery is short and recovery may be shorter than with an autologous sling. There are additional risks associated with using mesh that you should discuss with your surgeon.
  • Autologous sling – In this type of surgery, the sling is made from a strip of your own tissue (autologous) taken from the lower abdomen or thigh. The ends of the sling are stitched in place through an incision in the abdomen.

Bladder Neck Suspension

Bladder Neck Suspension is also called Retropubic Suspension, Colposuspension or Burch Suspension which is usually done at the time of a hysterectomy. In this surgery, sutures are placed in the tissue along the side of the bladder neck and urethra to support the urethra and sphincter muscles to prevent them from moving downward and accidentally opening. There are certain risks with this surgery and should be discussed with your doctor.

Surgery for Men with SUI

Artificial Sphincter

The most effective treatment for male SUI is an artificial urinary sphincter device.

This device has three parts:

  1. A fluid-filled cuff (the artificial sphincter), surgically placed around your urethra.
  2. A fluid-filled, pressure-regulating balloon, inserted into your belly.
  3. A pump you control inserted into your scrotum.

The artificial urinary sphincter cuff is filled with fluid which keeps the urethra closed and prevents leaks. When you press on the pump, the fluid in the cuff is transferred to the balloon reservoir. This opens your urethra and you can urinate. Once urination is complete, the balloon reservoir automatically refills the urethral cuff in 1-3 minutes.

Artificial sphincter surgery can cure or greatly improve urinary control in more than 7 out of 10 men with SUI. Results may vary in men who have had radiation treatment. They also vary in men with other bladder conditions or who have scar tissue in the urethra.

Male Sling for SUI

The male sling is usually used for only mild SUI. It is less effective and not recommended in men who have had radiation therapy to the prostate, pelvis, rectum  or urethra. The male sling is a narrow strap made of synthetic mesh placed under the urethra through small surgical incisions near the scrotum. The procedure is outpatients. Risks including injury to urethra, bladder, urinary retention, mesh erosion or infection.