It's a condition many people are uncomfortable talking about. Stress urinary incontinence affects 15 million women in the U.S. Every year, tens of thousands undergo surgery to fix it, but it doesn't always work. Now, there's a promising new non-surgical option done right in your doctor's office.
A laugh or sneeze or cough! It's all it takes to trigger an embarrassing problem.
"It really impacted the quality of my life," said Carolyn Upton, who has stress urinary incontinence.
Upton first noticed she was having trouble controlling her bladder in her mid-forties.
"Running, jumping jacks, all those things were really terrible for me," she said.
She was one of 64 women picked for a first of its kind study at Beaumont Hospital.
"It's like, the body heals thyself," explained Kenneth Peters, M.D., professor and chairman of urology at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and chief of urology at Beaumont Hospital.
Peters leads the research team that's testing a non-surgical procedure to help and possibly cure stress urinary incontinence
"The nice thing about this is, it's all office based," Peters said.
At their doctor's office, patients underwent a leg biopsy.
"We would take a little piece of muscle," said Peters.
Cells from that muscle were isolated, then, over several weeks grown in the lab and separated into different doses.
"Ten million, 50 million, 100 million or 200 million cells," he said.
The cells were re-injected and helped regenerate muscles that control the bladder and within six months, "the majority of patients had at least 50-percent reduction in their incontinence," said Peters. "Depending on the dose, anywhere from 20-50% of patients become completely dry."
Peters says it appears the higher the dose the better the outcomes. Upton says her problem is about 80 percent better since the procedure.
"It really does change your life," she said.
So much so Upton decided to do a marathon.
"About mile 19 or so, I was like, I'm so glad I don't have to stop and go to the bathroom!" she said.
Peters says if incontinence is improved after one treatment but not gone, the cells could possibly be stored and re-injected into patients. He says future trials to test the non-invasive procedure are in the works and could happen within the next year.
BACKGROUND: In stress incontinence, the sphincter pelvic muscles, which support the bladder and urethra, are weakened. The sphincter is not able to prevent urine from flowing when pressure is placed on the abdomen (such as when you cough, laugh, or lift something heavy).
Stress incontinence may occur from weakened pelvic muscles that support the bladder and urethra or because the urethral sphincter is not working correctly. Weakness may be caused by:
- Injury to the urethra area
- Some medications
- Surgery in the prostate or pelvic area
- Stress urinary incontinence is the most common type of urinary incontinence in women. (Source: www.nlm.nih.gov)
TREATMENTS: Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are and how much they affect your everyday life.
Your health care provider may ask you to stop smoking (if you smoke) and avoid caffeinated beverages (such as soda) and alcohol. You may be asked to keep a urinary diary, recording how many times you urinate during the day and night, and how often you leak urine.
There are four types of treatment for stress incontinence: (Source: www.nlm.nih.gov)
- Behavior changes
- Pelvic floor muscle training
“BODY HEAL THYSELF”: Findings from a multi-center trial led by researchers at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. may give urologists another minimally invasive treatment option for women with stress urinary incontinence. The study showed that treating a woman with her own muscle-derived cells was both safe and effective. Unlike surgical treatments, this procedure takes place in a physician’s office.
“This was an incredibly safe method of treatment. There were no significant side effects,” explains Dr. Kenneth Peters. “Also noteworthy, is the majority of patients treated had a significant improvement in their urinary leakage and up to 60 percent of the women became dry, leading to an improved quality of life. Because of the positive results, our research team is considering a larger phase III trial."(Source:beaumont.edu)