Relief for Incontinence
Maria P. Canter, MD, MSc is one of only three female urogynecologists in the Washington area specializing in the Interstim® procedure for urinary incontinence. Signs of urinary incontinence in women include a frequent urge to urinate, an uncomfortable sensation that the bladder is never empty (even after urinating), and an urgency that doesn't always leave enough time to make it to the bathroom. "Some women become afraid to leave the house, and they are exhausted because they are going to the bathroom every 20 minutes all night long," notes Dr. Canter.
When remedies such as medication, biofeedback and dietary changes fail to alleviate symptoms, InterStim can be life-restoring. A small device, implanted in the lower back, stimulates the sacral nerve, which controls the muscles of the pelvic floor and bladder. Functioning much like a "pacemaker for the bladder," the electrode can be turned on or off by the patient, and can be dialed up or down for maximum effectiveness. Once implanted, it is invisible and discreet. "You can shower and swim and noone will know it's there," says Dr. Canter.
Interstim is done in two steps. First the device is implanted (on an outpatient basis with no overnight stay) and symptoms are tracked for one to two weeks to gauge improvement. Once the electrode has been properly calibrated, a five-year battery is implanted to keep the device running. "Results are usually evident within 24 hours, and a 50 percent improvement in urgency and frequency is good," says Dr. Canter, recalling one patient whose daily trips to the bathroom went from 25 on average to six or eight.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Canter, contact Urogynecology & Pelvic Surgery at 703.717.4000.
- An obstetrician/gynecologist specializing in the care of women with conditions such as incontinence, prolapse, emptying disorders, pelvic pain and overactive bladder. Urogynecologist Maria Canter, MD conducted research in urinary disorders and her findings will be published this year in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.