The thing women don’t want to talk about

Bladder leakage: Could a 30-minute procedure change your life?

Shortly after having her second child, Kathryn Hendon started experiencing a problem many women face: bladder leakage.

The trauma of childbirth damaged her bladder muscles and nerves, leading to overactive bladder. Her nerves would cause her bladder muscles to contract, causing leakage or giving her the urge to use the restroom even when her bladder was almost empty. Hendon felt this urge multiple times per hour, sending her rushing to the restroom.

For an active mom of two young children, competitive ice skater and ballroom dancer, this presented a problem that only got worse year after year.

At the time, her only treatment option was medicine that left her drowsy and foggy. When she began seeing a new urologist, John G. Hubbard, M.D., of Norton Urogynecology Center, he suggested she try Botox injections.

Botox helps relax the bladder muscles, stopping contractions and the urge to go to the bathroom.

Hendon has received Botox injections in Dr. Hubbard’s office for several years. After the quick procedure, she can go home and return to work the next day.

“It’s been basically a lifesaver,” Hendon said. “I can do the things I want to do without knowing where the bathroom is and without taking medicine with funny side effects.”

Unfortunately, just a few years after discovering relief with injections, she began experiencing another leakage problem: stress incontinence. Her bladder leaked whenever it was under stress, such as when she sneezed, laughed or danced.

To fix this new issue, Dr. Hubbard suggested a safe, minimally invasive sling procedure. Dr. Hubbard has performed more than 2,000 of these procedures since 1998.

While Hendon was under conscious sedation, using three small incisions, he placed a small tape to serve as a backboard under her urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder). This would keep urine from being released when pressure was put on her bladder.

“It took no time at all to insert it,” Hendon said. “I had no side effects after the procedure, no pain, nothing. It was easy.”

The ease and safety of the procedure is why Dr. Hubbard suggests it to many patients with stress incontinence.

“They are the happiest patients I have ever treated because they are dry the next day, and it works for life,” he said. “It’s such an easy thing to do to be really life- changing for a lot of patients.”

The procedure has helped Hendon compete at her best during her favorite activities.

“When I dance or skate, I don’t have to worry about leakage anymore,” she said. “It’s such a relief. I don’t even know it’s there. I just know it works.”

Bladder leakage is not a normal part of aging. The Norton Urogynecology Center team of pelvic health specialists offers expertise on treating urinary incontinence and other bladder and pelvic disorders in women of all ages. Learn more.

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