From Therapy to Surgery:

Incontinence Program Offers Range of Options

Ingalls has introduced one of the area’s most comprehensive treatment programs for urinary incontinence. The Ingalls Incontinence Treatment Program features a full range of bladder control treatments for men and women of all ages, from simple muscle-strengthening exercises to minimally invasive surgical procedures.

“An estimated 15 to 20 million Americans have bladder control problems or urinary incontinence,” explains Vibha Sabharwal, M.D., board-certified urologist and incontinence expert on staff at Ingalls. “And while the condition affects both men and women, it’s nearly twice as common in women.”

At Ingalls, specially trained physical therapists work with patients on an individual basis to help them regain bladder control through:

  • Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Biofeedback.
  • Lifestyle changes such as fluid and diet management.
  • Maintaining a voiding diary and making scheduled bathroom trips.
  • Relaxation and breathing techniques.
  • Medication, including anti-spasmodic drugs that help calm an overactive bladder.

If surgical treatment is necessary, Ingalls urology experts offer several minimally invasive procedures using today’s most advanced techniques.

The most popular and common surgery for women is the sling procedure, which involves placing a sling (made of synthetic mesh or biologic tissue) around the urethra to lift it back into a normal position. The sling is attached to the abdominal wall and aids in urine retention by compressing the urethra.

More recently, the sling has been made available for men with urinary incontinence.

Forty-two-year-old mother of three Tamara Esposito of Homer Glen underwent the sling procedure at Ingalls last December with excellent results.

“I’d been living with the problem for seven years,” Esposito explains. “There were times when I’d have to go the bathroom 15 times a day, plus I lost sleep at night from having to go. But not anymore. I didn’t even like to take walks before, but now I can laugh, jump, sneeze, walk and play with my kids. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Other surgical options include transurethral injection therapy, which can be done under local anesthesia. For severe cases, an artificial urinary sphincter can be put in place.

For patient convenience, incontinence treatment is offered at four area locations, including the main hospital campus in Harvey and at the Ingalls Family Care Centers in Flossmoor, Tinley Park and Calumet City. For more information, call Ingalls Care Connection at 1.800.221.CARE(2273)

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