Continence problems can affect anyone – children, young people, adults and older people. However, due to embarrassment it can be difficult for those affected to talk about these problems. We encourage those living with incontinence to seek help so they no longer have to suffer in silence. Continence problems are often treatable.
There is also a dedicated continence care team who treat bladder problems. The team see more women than men and believe this is because men are often reluctant to talk about such concerns.
Continence care nurse Mary Barker said: “No-one really wants to talk about their bladder problems but we have found that men are more reluctant than women to come forward.
“The problem has got better over the years though. There are now articles in magazines and there are posters on the doors of public toilets. People are more willing to talk about it and it’s not as taboo as it used to be."
Mary said that it is when bladders begin to affect people’s daily routines that they know they need to seek help. In the first instance they should see their GP. If necessary they would then be referred to a consultant or a nurse led continence care service, such as the one at Benenden Hospital.
For some there might be a simple solution. It might just be a dietary change which is needed, for instance, someone might be drinking too many fizzy drinks or caffeine, resulting in a need to the toilet frequently or urgently. For others the problem might be that they need to drink more water, not drinking enough can result in frequent urine infections.
Other problems can be treated with bladder training, pelvic floor exercises, medication and in some cases surgical intervention. Some patients will be treated with a mixture of options.
Benenden Hospital has introduced a service called PTNS. PTNS is Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation is for patients with overactive bladder syndrome. The treatment involves inserting a small, slim needled electrode near the ankle. The needle electrode is then connected to a battery powered stimulator. Mild impulses from the stimulator travel through the needle electrode, along the leg and to the nerves in the pelvis that control bladder function.
Patients have an initial consultation followed by a series of 12 weekly sessions and then a re-assessment. Sessions last 30 minutes, during which patients can relax in a chair. PTNS is offered to patients for whom conservative treatments have not worked and whom might not want or might not be considered as needing more invasive procedures. An estimated 70% of patients respond positively to PTNS.
Jan Chaseley, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Continence Care at Benenden Hospital, said: “The introduction of PTNS has enhanced the excellent treatment options available for our patients and is carried out in the nurse-led clinic.”
For a no-nonsense chat with our Private Patient Team call us on 01580 363158.
Published on 20 June 2020