By Christine Cheng, R.Ph., and Fred Cheng, R.Ph.
Mapping every available washroom along one’s daily routine is a reality for many women of all ages who experience some form of urinary incontinence. It is estimated that nearly 10% of Canadian women are affected and although it is often assumed that incontinence is a normal part of aging and only the elderly are affected, this is not always the case. “Stress incontinence”, the involuntary leakage of urine when a person coughs, sneezes, strains or makes a sudden movement, can result when the muscles and tissues around the opening of the bladder get weak. This weakness occurs when the muscles get stretched, which can be caused by injury, weight gain, pregnancies and/or vaginal births. Another common type of incontinence is “Urge incontinence” which is the accidental leakage of urine that is accompanied by a sense of urgency. Even the sound of running water may trigger the leakage of urine and sufferers may find themselves running to the washroom even if their bladder is near empty. This type of incontinence is associated with spasms of the bladder muscle due to damage to the nerves or muscles in the area, which could be caused by stroke, an infection or inflammation of the bladder. Those who have “Mixed incontinence” experience a combination of the two types described above.
The more commonly known remedies include wearing incontinence briefs and/or doing Kegel’s exercises to tone the area. Others may turn to prescription medications to help with the symptoms, then be dissatisfied with the side effects these can cause. Thankfully, there are several other options including SAGAPRO, a preparation of the Icelandic herb Angelica archangelica that works by calming bladder muscle contractions which allows the bladder to distend further. Sagapro has been highly successful in many of our clients. It is taken once daily and is well-tolerated with no known side effects. Benefits are typically seen in about a month or less. Another option is the homeopathic “INCONTINENCE COMPLEX” that has been used quite successfully to address incontinence in many species (yes, dogs, cats, horses, humans…). This is also taken orally, typically two-three times daily and is very safe and well-tolerated. Results can be expected in a matter of days.
For those in whom Kegel’s exercises does not provide adequate relief, using electrotherapy to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles to improve their strength and endurance may be the answer. The ELISE PELVIC FLOOR STIMULATOR FOR INCONTINENCE is a discreet pelvic floor exerciser that is designed for home use and—– provides different electrotherapeutic programs to help with Stress, Urge and Mixed incontinence. There is also a “Tone” program used twice weekly to help maintain the benefits achieved from daily use of the other programs. Results can be seen in as little as two weeks for those using it for Urge incontinence and in as little as one month for those experiencing Stress incontinence where the muscles will need more exercising. The Elise is safe, pain-free, easy to use, and drug free.
Incontinence is not necessarily a part of normal aging. Come speak to one of our knowledgeable pharmacists to discuss the possible solutions.
Christine and Fred Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-owned and operated Pharmasave in Cloverdale, B.C. (open 7 days a week). They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore.