New, Promising Treatments for Bladder Problems

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Millions of women suffer from urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, but few will admit it or do anything about it.

Volunteer TV's Jessa Goddard has details on the latest solutions to a common problem.

There are several new treatments, some still in clinical trials, and others already being performed, that medical specialists say are giving these women their lives back.

About 13 million women in America suffer from it.

But eurogynecologist Jeffrey Dell says many go untreated, out of embarrassment, or because they're unaware that 90% of the time, their problem can be successfully treated.

"There's really no reason for a woman to put up with these kinds of things. If it's affecting her quality of life, if she's not doing things she would otherwise enjoy, then absolutely take that first step," said Dr. Dell.

That first step is diagnosing which type of incontinence a woman is experiencing.

Stress incontinence is the most common which is caused by multiple childbirths, aging or being overweight.

Urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder, is the accidental leading of urine.

Your treatment options depend on which type you have.

"The gold standard these days for the treatment of stress incontinence, the run, jump, laugh, cough, sneeze type leakage, is implanting a small sling," said Dr. Dell.

During this procedure, this meshlike tape is positioned under the urethra, like a sling to support it, and return it to its normal position.

It takes about 30 minutes and is usually done under local anesthesia.

But a new procedure, called adjustable continence therapy, or ACT, is now in clinical trials.

"They have some very encouraging, early results. Ways that small, implantable devices can create extra support. Some of these things are even removable."

ACT is implanted through two small incisions.

An adjustable balloon is placed on each side of the urethra, they're inflated with fluid to support the muscles and stop incontinence.

People who use the ACT device report significant improvement.

It is reversible if it doesn't work for some reason, and more fluid can be added to the balloon if needed.

A similar device called Pro-ACT is being tested in men with stress urinary incontinence after prostate surgery.

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