Do you or someone you know have a hard to making it to the bathroom? Well then you may have stress incontinence. It's not an uncommon problem and doctors at Avera McKennan can prevent these little accidents with a simple surgical procedure.
Baseball season is in full swing but for moms like Michelle Pellman, a trip to the ball park also meant looking for the nearest bathroom.
"I have stress incontinence which means when I sneeze or cough or if I make a quick movement one way or another there's a possibility that I leak." Said Pellman.
Michelle figured her inability to hold "it" was something she had to live with, so she kept her problem to herself but she's not alone.
"Some people think that this is just a common part of aging or this is what happens when you have children but this is not a normal thing, incontinence is not a normal thing and it can be treated." Said Dr. Matthew Barker, a urogynecologist with the Avera Medical Group Urogynecology.
More than half of all women will experience some form of incontinence in their lifetime. Urge incontinence or an overactive bladder tends to affect older women, while stress incontinence can pop up in any woman who's given birth.
"During the birth process the muscles stretch and that stretch in the muscles can actually lead to weakness of those muscles later on down the road when they start being more active again they lose that support to prevent the incontinence." Said Dr. Barker.
It can be an embarrassing subject to talk about, but that shouldn't keep you from seeking help.
"The hard part was bringing yourself into the doctors office to say I've got this thing going on and beyond that it wasn't easy decision for me to make one of figured out what was going on." Said Pellman.
Michelle had what's called a hyper-mobile urethra, meaning the muscles have stretched so much that there's nothing to stop urine from leaking. Dr. Barker determined surgery was the best option to fix the problem.
"This is an outpatient procedure it's called a sling procedure or anti-incontinence procedure that prevents urine from leaking out when they start doing activity again." Said Dr. Barker.
Basically, this sling helps hold up the urethra and prevent leaking. The procedure is surgical but is even less invasive than laparoscopy because the sling is inserted vaginally. Making it a quicker procedure for the doctor and a quicker recovery for the patient.
"Because the urethra is mobile, we are only just putting the material underneath the urethra and it sits there so it still allows someone to maintain continence and void but it's enough support there that when the urethra moves due to the weakened muscles it actually obstructs the urine from leaking out thus curing them of their incontinence." Said Dr. Barker.
Michelle's surgery took less than an hour and she only missed a few days of work. After just seven weeks she's been given the all-clear to resume active exercise.
"For me it was a no-brainer, once I knew what was going on. There are a few appointments and a little discomfort but I think in the long run it's going to serve me better." Said Pellman.
Surgery is not for everyone but take it from Michelle, when you have two young athletes you're always playing catch up.
"I just want to stay healthy for my kids they're still young and I want to be around to do all that I can and exercise is important to me as well." Said Pellman.
Now thanks to Dr. Barker, Michelle can focus on the game not her bladder. Incontinence is not something you have to live with and correcting the problem starts with talking to your doctor. For more information and how to get in touch with a urogynecologist just call 877-AT-AVERA.