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New Relief for Stress Incontinence

'Tension-Free' Relief

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"The biggest advantage of this procedure is that it can be performed under local anesthesia," says Peters-Gee, explaining that this allows a doctor to test the ability of the sling to create continence and to know on the spot that the condition has been treated. "The ability to make adjustments right then and there also reduces the need for using a urinary catheter," says Peters-Gee. An additional advantage is that women who may not be candidates for surgery that requires general anesthesia are candidates for this procedure.

SUI is the most common form of incontinence. Other urinary incontinence can be classified as:

  • Urge -- an abrupt and uncontrollable desire to void.
  • Mixed -- a combination of stress and urge urinary incontinence.
  • Overflow -- the involuntary loss of urine resulting from an overfilled bladder without any corresponding feeling or urge to void.

While most cases of incontinence are not caused by serious problems, it's important to consult a urologist who can perform a complete workup, says Milton Krisiloff, MD, former chief of urology at St. John's Medical Center in Santa Monica, California.

"All cases of incontinence have to be evaluated to rule out infections, neurological problems, and bladder cancer," says Krisiloff, hastening to add that 95%of cases are not caused by these conditions.

Treatment for these other types of incontinence -- often called overactive bladder -- includes prescription medications such as Detrol LA, which works to help control involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle, the cause of strong, sudden urges. Drug therapy is often paired with behavioral techniques and bladder training, which together can help patients regain control over their bladder.

Before turning to medications, however, Krisiloff suggests a very simple approach that he has been using with patients for more than 20 years. His recommendation? "Change your diet." Eliminate all caffeine (that means coffee, tea, chocolate, caffeinated sodas), alcohol, and hot, spicy food.

Claiming almost a 90% success rate in curing these forms of incontinence (this won't work for SUI though, Krisiloff emphasizes), Krisiloff has compiled his recommendations and findings in a book, The Krisiloff Diet.

"By eliminating these irritants from your diet, you reduce the inflammation action on the neck of the bladder," Krisiloff explains. He concedes that many urologists don't believe this treatment works, but many of his patients see a remarkable difference in four to six weeks. An added bonus he's been finding is that this dietary change has also improved conditions for his patients who also suffer from irritable bowel, esophageal reflux (GERD), prostatitis, and even bedwetting among children.

"This is a purely natural approach," he says. "Why not try it first? If it doesn't work, the conventional urological approaches are always available."

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