Anna Raisor, aged 53, endured nine years of suffering due to incontinence and the fear of leaving her house. Seeking help, she turned to Loyola University Health System (LUHS) physicians for an innovative approach to address her embarrassing condition.
LUHS doctors enrolled Raisor in a clinical trial centered on cognitive therapy as an alternative treatment for her overactive bladder. But what exactly is cognitive therapy for this purpose? It involves exercises like deep breathing and guided imagery, which train the brain to manage the bladder without the need for medication or surgery. The findings from this study were published in the Journal of Urology in 2019.
Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, an investigator in the study, highlighted the value of this mind-body connection, especially for women dealing with incontinence. During their initial office visit, patients listen to an audio recording with relaxation and visualization exercises. They continue these exercises at home, twice daily for two weeks, while tracking their incontinence episodes in a diary. The majority of patients, including Raisor, experienced significant improvements in their symptoms.
Raisor shared her journey, stating that before the clinical trial, she used seven to eight pads a day and was afraid to leave her home. Today, she is nearly 98 percent free of leakage, thanks to therapy that helped her understand the connection between her brain and bladder, enabling her to manage incontinence effectively and live accident-free.
The study involved ten patients with an average age of 62, who had a diagnosis of overactive bladder (OAB) and were stable with medication. The success of this therapy can be explained by the fact that the brain sends electrical signals through the nervous system, which can overstimulate the bladder in cases of Urge Incontinence. By calming the brain, it can potentially calm the nerves related to the bladder. However, in some cases, physiological changes may be necessary. Another option is a neurostimulator that can bypass the brain.
Typical neurostimulators are found as an implant in your lower back which sends calming signals to the nearby bladder. Tibial neurostimulators used in weekly office visits transmit through needles into the tibial nerve in the ankle. The calming signal then travels up the leg to transmit to the primary nerves. The only non-invasive device that can be used at home to calm overactive bladders is the ELITONE URGE device. It works directly to the primary nerves (primary will usually be more efficacious than secondary nerves). Finally, ensuring that a treatment works also depends on patient compliance, and the ELITONE URGE device is designed to be simple and user-friendly. You can learn more about it at https://elitone.com/product/elitone-urge/.