Urinary Incontinence, Stress: Treatment Options (cont.)

MEMBER QUESTION:
Does drinking water help prevent bladder problems?

MILLER:
It is often good to stay adequately hydrated and drink plenty of water for your general health. However, drinking excessive water will often negatively impact your bladder symptoms. It is a mistake to believe that drinking large amounts of water will have any beneficial effect on your bladder.

MODERATOR:
So how much water should we be drinking a day to maintain good bladder health?

MILLER:
With regard to the bladder, there is no specific amount to drink. You need to maintain hydration and not avoid water drinking. You need to stay away from excess caffeine and alcohol, but to drink only reasonable amounts when you're thirsty is the best way to avoid bladder symptoms. Often this might total 6 to 8 glasses in a 24-hour period. More than that, while good for other parts of your body, may exaggerate your bladder symptoms.

MEMBER QUESTION:
How long does the mesh last?

MILLER:
When you're gone, the last thing in your casket is your breast implants and your TVT mesh.

BONNIE:
In my case it will just be my mesh.

MILLER:
Seriously, TVT mesh is not absorbable and is therefore permanent. When successful, the procedure is a lifelong correction of symptoms.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Isn't leaking just an inevitable part of getting older?

MILLER:
This is the most important myth that we want to dispel. Just because a problem is common does not make it normal. There is no reason why any woman needs to live with these symptoms when treatment is readily available.

BONNIE:
I waited a year to talk to my doctor, and in my eyes that was a year too long. But it is actually a short time, compared to most women. In the long run, I spent five years dealing with the problem and trying to correct it before I had the surgery and was cured, and in my eyes, the five years was way too long, but since I had one more child, that brings me down to three years, and that was still too long.

Miller: "(You) don't have to keep this a secret ... SUI is a real medical condition that can be completely treated."

MEMBER QUESTION:
I am considering a vaginal rejuvenation and labia reduction. Is there anything I should know about these procedures?

MILLER:
These procedures will have no effect on bladder symptoms. These procedures are gaining popularity in many circles where plastic surgery is common. My personal opinion is that they are unproven, potentially dangerous and may leave women with sexual dysfunction. Women's anatomy varies from person to person. I think it is dangerous to begin to convince women that their labia or their very natural anatomy is in some way unattractive.

The other reason some women pursue these surgeries is to improve their sexual life. There is no current evidence that surgical tightening procedures will accomplish that goal. On the contrary, they may have the opposite of the desired effect and create sexual pain.

MODERATOR:
We are almost out of time. Before we wrap things up for today, do you have any final words for us?

BONNIE:
I think what most women need to realize is they don't have to keep this a secret, that SUI is a real medical condition that can be completely treated with TVT and you can get your quality of life back. Don't be scared to go and talk to your doctor and get the help that you need.

MILLER:
Bonnie Blair's brave, uninhibited involvement in the Breaking the Ice campaign, shows us that this problem can occur to anyone, from housewife to Olympic athlete. It's not just racing around the rink; it's also racing around the house. All women bothered by incontinence deserve to speak to their physician and if necessary, speak to a urogynecologist or specially trained incontinence specialist. At Milwaukee Urogynecology/Advanced Health Care, we see women of all ages to treat their incontinence.

BONNIE:
For more information, there's a toll free number, 888-496-3227, and a web site, www.beatsui.com.

MODERATOR:
Our thanks to Bonnie Blair and Dennis P. Miller, MD, for joining us today. And thanks to you, members for your great questions.

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