The intricacies of both bladder and bowel control issues can be overwhelming. Are they related? When should I be concerned about seeking treatment? What is the best course of treatment? Thankfully, all these questions and more can be answered by Dr. Aguirre and his team of experts at Aguirre Specialty Care. We are here to make sure you’re informed and feel comfortable asking questions about your concerns.
We recently sat down with Dr. Aguirre to address some of the most frequently asked questions about bladder and bowel control issues. Here is what he had to say:
Q: What causes bladder/bowel control issues?
A: The chance of experiencing urinary incontinence typically increases with age but it can also develop or worsen for women after giving birth. Bladder issues can occur when the urethra does not compress tightly enough, the bladder muscle contracts when it is not supposed to or there’s an inability to urinate. Fecal incontinence also has the potential to develop with age but can occur earlier in life for women who’ve suffered neuromuscular trauma from childbirth. This loss of bowel control can range from mild leakage to severe incontinence.
Q: Are urinary and fecal incontinence related?
A: Urinary and fecal incontinence can occur on their own or at the same time. If you’re experiencing both conditions, there may be a physiological connection that’s happening between your brain and the muscles responsible for bladder and bowel control. Normally, they would work in tandem to manage proper bladder and bowel function. But in the event your neural pathways become damaged and the brain is unable to transmit the proper signals to those muscles, urinary and/or fecal incontinence can occur.
Q: Is an overactive bladder (OAB) the same as urinary incontinence?
A: OAB and urinary incontinence may occur at the same time, but they are not the same. OAB is a group of symptoms that cause the sudden and strong urge to urinate, often when the bladder is not full. OAB can be considered “wet” or “dry” meaning there isn’t always leakage of urine. When there is, however, it would be considered urge urinary incontinence. This is when there is an urgency that leads to involuntary leakage. Not everyone with OAB has urge incontinence and it may occur for other reasons not associated with OAB.
Q: Why is it important for patients to see you about their bladder/bowel control issues?
A: It’s important to get seen about these issues because there are other conditions that can affect your bladder and bowel. These conditions may appear like incontinence or OAB, but they could also be a sign of certain cancers or chronic illnesses. The best course of action is to schedule a consultation with us to find out the root of your problem so we can rule out more serious concerns. It’s also a great idea to seek professional treatment so you can regain control over your bodily functions and improve your quality of life.
Q: What should patients know about sacral neuromodulation therapy?
A: Sacral neuromodulation therapies like InterStim® target the miscommunication between your bladder/bowel and brain, which more conventional treatments fail to do. We offer treatments that are safe, FDA-approved and minimally invasive. These therapies work using gentle stimulation of the sacral nerves to correct the bladder/bowel-brain communication pathway and restore optimal function.