It can cause embarrassment and even pain. Thousands of children suffer with urinary incontinence every day. For some, traditional treatments don’t work, leaving kids and parents feeling helpless. Now, there’s a new implant that is dramatically improving their lives.
Nine-year-old Kate Lamons couldn’t control her bladder during the day and that led to some embarrassing situations.
“She was changing clothes at school and she was changing underwear constantly because it was always wet,” said Ashli Lamons, Kate’s mother.
Ashli says behavioral therapies and medications didn’t help Kate’s urinary incontinence, but something else did. Dr. John Pope implanted the InterStim in Kate.
“The wire comes in from the back and it lies right up beside that nerve and stimulates that nerve only,” said Pope, Professor of Urologic Surgery and Pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
The device stimulates the sacral nerve coming from the spine that helps control bladder muscles. With a remote, Kate and her mom can increase or decrease the strength as needed.
“It just feels like something is kind of vibrating,” said Kate.
Kate’s had the device for more than a year now and she hasn’t had an embarrassing situation at school since.
“I was so excited because I got to take home all of my extra clothes that I had in my locker,” Kate said.
The InterStim is FDA approved for adults. Pope is using it off label for his pediatric patients. He’s one of the few doctors in the US doing so. He’s implanted the device in 17 kids. The doctor says almost all of them have had positive results.
Urinary incontinence occurs when a person is unable to control their bladder and so they also have difficulty controlling urination. Some individuals with incontinence “leak” when they sneeze or cough while other people wet themselves on a regular basis because the urge to urinate comes on so strongly and quickly they can’t make it to the bathroom. Incontinence is a common problem which can be caused by a multitude of things including underlying medical conditions or physical problems. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)
TYPES: Urinary incontinence can be categorized into a few different groups. Some types of incontinence are:
- Stress Incontinence – Stress incontinence refers to when the bladder releases a little urine when pressure, such as from a sneeze, is put on the bladder. This is often the result of an event that weakens the muscles in the bladder such as giving birth.
- Urge Incontinence – This is when the urge to urinate comes on very suddenly followed by involuntary urination. People with urge incontinence may also feel the need to urinate more often than normal.
- Overflow Incontinence – This type of incontinence is when a person is leaking small amounts of urine throughout the day. Because the bladder cannot empty completely, the remaining urine dribbles out constantly. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)
RISKS: Certain factors can make a person more likely to experience urinary incontinence. One risk factor is sex because women have a higher risk of stress incontinence because the go through events such as pregnancy, birth, and menopause which can all cause loss of bladder control. Being overweight can also put extra pressure on the bladder and raise the risk of incontinence. More seriously, certain conditions are associated with incontinence including overactive bladder, kidney disease, or even diabetes. In addition to being embarrassing, urinary incontinence can also lead to repeated urinary tract infections and skin problems like rashes or sores. (Source: www.mayoclinic.com)
NEW TECHNOLOGY: InterStim is a device used to control urinary incontinence in people who do not have a urinary blockage and have not been able to treat their incontinence with other methods. The device is placed in the upper buttock region during a surgical procedure and it uses electrical pulses to help the communication between the sacral nerves and the brain, which are involved in bladder control. There are currently over 100,000 individuals with device and InterStim is removable if the person no longer wishes to have the device. (Source: www.medtronic.com)