Urethral disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Patients may suffer from a narrowing of the urethra (urethral stricture) or inflammation of the urethra (urethritis). Whatever the cause, the team at Affiliated Urologists can help! Check out some of our treatment options below.
Biofeedback is considered a self-regulation treatment technique for patients suffering from urinary incontinence. This therapy may be recommended in conjunction with pelvic floor muscle exercises to help patients overcome their stress, urge, mixed, functional, or overflow incontinence. Biofeedback uses small sensors and a computer to measure the function of a patient’s pelvic floor muscles as they are exercised. During a biofeedback session, sensors are placed alongside the anus and across the abdomen. These sensors are then connected to a technological device that displays movement of the pelvic floor muscles. When the patient is ready, he or she may be asked to perform pelvic floor muscle exercises, also called Kegels, to measure the growth and strength of their muscles for bladder and bowel movements. Biofeedback sessions typically last 30 minutes and patients’ generally average two to three visits a week.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Pelvic floor muscle exercises, also known as kegel exercises, are an effective treatment option for patients suffering from a weak pelvic floor. As alluded to in the Pelvic Floor Muscle Weakness section on the website, these exercises are essential for improving bladder and bowel control in patients suffering from prolapse or urinary incontinence. To learn more about these exercises and ways to perform these pelvic floor movements, please visit the Pelvic Floor Muscle Weakness link above.
Bladder training is a behavior therapy that helps treat various forms of urinary incontinence. The goal behind bladder training is to increase the time between emptying the bladder, refilling the bladder, and emptying the bladder again. Patients who suffer from urinary incontinence may experience leakage or an increased urge to urinate. As such, patients may require frequent bathroom breaks, adult diapers, and other urinary incontinence tools. All of these lifestyle changes can significantly decrease a patient's quality of life. Depending on the type of urinary incontinence a patient suffers from, bladder training may include techniques such as practicing kegel exercises, developing a fixed voiding schedule, keeping a bladder activity journal, making dietary changes, and participating in biofeedback. Patients should talk to their physician at Affiliated Urologists about bladder training before implementing any of these changes themselves.
Dietary Changes & Medications
As we mentioned previously, dietary changes and medications may be necessary to manage or treat a patient’s urethral disorder. When it comes to making dietary or lifestyle changes for conditions like prolapse or urinary incontinence, patients may be asked to avoid certain beverages that increase urination, such as soda, coffee, or tea (all of which contain caffeine). Patients may also be instructed to drink fewer liquids before bedtime to prevent nighttime urination, which is also called nocturia. Medications may also be prescribed to patients suffering from various urethral disorders. A physician at Affiliated Urologists may recommend anticholinergic drugs, which block a chemical that triggers abnormal bladder contractions. Mirabegron is another medication that helps relax the bladder muscle to increase the amount of urine the bladder can hold. Additionally, Botox may be considered for patients suffering from an overactive bladder because it paralyzes the bladder muscle, allowing patients to control the time between urination.
Minimally invasive surgery may be a viable option for patients suffering from severe urethral injuries or defects. One of the most common procedures for urethral hypermobility or obstruction is a urethroplasty, which is a type of surgery that reconstructs all or some of a damaged urethra. There are different kinds of urethroplasty procedures that can be performed depending on the location, cause, and length of a patient’s urethral stricture. For example, a surgeon may perform a primary anastomotic repair for patients that require the excision of a stricture to widen the urethra’s pathway. In other instances, a substitution repair, which requires buccal mucosa grafts or genital skin flaps, may be necessary to improve or build upon a specific urethral stricture. Women suffering from stress incontinence may benefit from a completely different type of urethral procedure that requires a urethral sling. Ultimately, surgery for a urethral disorder depends on the condition itself. An Affiliated Urologists physician can explain the different surgery options in depth if that's what the patient's condition calls for.