Bladder weakness, leakage and overactive bladder problems can potentially be treated by a tiny device that stimulates a nerve in the ankle. It may seem crazy to insert electrodes into an area of the body that’s literally as far away from the bladder as you can get, but the treatment method has proven to be very effective for some. Will it help to halt your urine leakage?
Women and bladder control
Exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles work for women with bladder control problems on a wide scale, but they won’t guarantee success for all women. Women experience urine leakage and bladder weakness problems much more commonly than men because of the way their bodies are built. The pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder wear out because of gravity, time and childbirth most commonly. Building those muscles back up with bladder control exercises, such as Kegels, works very well…except when it doesn’t. Now, a tiny ankle implant that stimulates a specific nerve could emerge as a viable new treatment option for women with bladder weakness troubles.
The ankle insert
The human body is extremely complex. Blood flows from your heart all over your body, constantly circulating in a dazzling chemical process that only experts can hope to truly understand. And the nerves in your bladder don’t stay restricted to any one part of your body. In fact, there’s one nerve that leads from the spine, near the bladder, all the way down to your feet — through the ankle.
Women who have overactive bladders often have over-sensitive nerves around the bladder. The nerves incorrectly interpret signals they receive, giving you the strong urge to urinate far too often. An ankle insert can help prevent and treat this hypersensitivity in your nerves.
Ankle insert sounds a little bit better than needle — which is actually what you’ll be putting into your body. The needle is inserted for about 30 minutes at a time, while an electrode under the foot creates a complete circuit between the two. This stimulates the nerve that runs past the ankle, which helps it to send normal signals to your bladder again. The procedure is administered in a clinical setting, where needle placement can be strictly monitored.
Bladder weakness is a common problem, but it shouldn’t be. There are tons of ways to treat the problem, from medication to surgery. Consult with your physician if you’re suffering with this problem, and don’t treat it as something you have to adjust to and live with — because it’s not.
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What an interesting concept. I would be interested to know how treatment with an ankle insert compares to other treatments. Have any clinical studies been conducted?
MaryannMay 10, 2012 - 4:08pm
This article refers to Urgent PC Neuromodulation, a low-risk treatment for overactive bladder that has been available from healthcare providers for about 10 years. There are over 30 clinical studies that have been done using this treatment. 60 - 80% of patients respond to treatment with significant improvements in their symptoms and quality of life. Side-effects are minor and usually temporary and include bleeding and mild pain at the stimulation site. More information about Urgent PC can be found at: https://www.empowher.com/providers/article/answers-about-urgent-pcMay 15, 2012 - 8:24am