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Friday, June 17, 2016

Incontinence TMI to Help You

This oversharing but it will help some of you, maybe many of you.  It's also a little embarrassing to admit it, but here goes.

Incontinence! and a "cure." This is all so humiliating that I can barely begin. It is information I wish I had had ten or more years ago. Okay, the "cure" was not available then.

When I was 35, very slim after having had three children, I would lose a drop of urine occasionally, calling for only a change of panties. I mentioned a surgical fix to my urologist. He said he hated to perform that on a woman so young.

Things rocked along for years with the lost urine getting just a bit worse. I panty liner worked well. Then, I continued by using a little thicker pad. Finally, I was using Poise Over Night and heaviest protection DAY and night. This new thing cost me over $80/month! I can barely afford healthful food and gas for the car.

Plus, some days, I lost the whole contents of my bladder three times a day, necessitating a change of panties, pants and sometimes my blouse. This is so horrible to admit.  I usually washed 30+ pair of panties each week.

When I called my urologist office, the receptionist said they had something that might help. I was desperate, very desperate.

The program is to come for treatment each week and then come once each month for maintenance.

The nurse locates the tibial nerve, about two inches above my ankle inside my leg. An acupuncture needle is inserted. There is no pain whatsoever. Then, she taps the needle and pushed it a little further. That only stings. She cleans the bottom of my foot and sticks on a black pad to ground the whole thing.

The unit is like a large cell phone. She places a little electrode thingy against the acupuncture needle. The dial goes to 12, I think. I usually take a 3 or 4 setting. The lower the setting means she got close to the tibial nerve. She was pleased at the accuracy of her putting in the acupuncture needle. I sit for 30 minutes and the unit goes off.

I can feel the little tingles at the site, sometimes in my foot, and always in my urethra. I told her yesterday my urethra was tingling and if the tingle moved any further,  I would snatch the needle right out. We both laughed at that. This Tibial Nerve Stimulation treatment does have the potential for unintended consequences like tingling in places I do not wish to be stimulated. Well, especially not in a chair in the doctor's exam room.  (bad sentence)

After my first session, I had a little twinge once in a while in my urethra during the week. At the second visit she said this is normal. After the second visit, my urethra had a continual "feel," like it was stiff or something. By the third visit, I was not feeling anything during the week.

My accidents decreased dramatically to almost none by the day after my first visit. She was a little shocked. My success was not normal. Since I started seven weeks ago, I have only had to change my pants once from an accident. About once a week I have to change damp panties. My use of pads has decreased from about a dozen each day to three. One in the morning when I bathe, one midday, and another at night just for cleanliness.

Plus, the length, absorbency, and width of pads has decreased. I spend much less and am able to be less afraid of the accident in public. I always wear black pants in the winter, just a sartorial choice. However, they sure hid any dribbles or worse. I was dreading my change to light gray pants in the summer because even the tiniest drop would show up as dark.

Since black pants in the summer are like a furnace, I did not know what I would do. Thankfully, I found this treatment just in time.  Okay, now friends and family will know this shameful condition.

I was determined I was not going to be the smelly old lady that we all have known.  While I was reading on the internet about this treatment--tibial nerve stimulation--I found that juices like apple and cranberry and other juices reduced the smell of urine. I have  bottle of cranberry pills that I bought for a urinary tract infection. The bottle instructs to take six per day. I take one twice a day. I cannot say it helps or not. I just take them for a precaution.

I share this information with everyone. Only one person has ever heard of this.

My opinion--a portable tens unit might help if there is no insurance to cover the treatments. Maybe you have the means to pay the price without insurance.

UPDATE This is for men and women.

Look HERE. You need to scroll down a bit, so don't give up.

Your turn
Have you ever tried this? Did it work for you? If you don't want to reply here, you can email me at I won't reveal what you have said. Do you know someone who could benefit from this treatment? Do you think I am wacky for revealing my problem to the whole internet? SERIOUSLY, I NEED RESPONSES TO THIS, NOT NECESSARILY CONFESSIONS. I DON'T WANT TO FEEL LIKE PEOPLE THINK I AM AN IDIOT FOR THIS POST. JUST A "THANKS" OR A THUMBS UP WILL SUFFICE.


  1. That is actually very very interesting information. I don't have problems with no control but do have to go a LOT. Wonder if it would just work to decrease the urge to go? I've tried the pills (like Tovias) and they don't seem to do much. Thanks for the info.

    1. Yes, that is one of the reasons some people go through the program. I have always had to go a lot, all my life. So did my son as a child. It does decrease the urge to go. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I think you are very brave to write this post Linda. You may help someone with the same problem. I had an issue years ago with the feeling of needing to go all the time even when my bladder wasn't full. I was worried I had IC (interstitial cystitis), but the urologist could not find what was wrong with me and chalked it up to stress. I was given a pill to "calm" my bladder which helped some but it made my urine blue. Eventually the problem went away as mysteriously as it came, but it took about a year. I hope you continue to see more improvement. Pretty amazing if you ask me, especially if you can avoid having surgery.

    1. Lorraine,
      Thanks. It was nine weeks ago today that I awoke almost 100$ better after my first appointment. Since then, I have wanted to write this post. I finally broke down.

      Since I read about IC, I have hoped it would never happen to me. I think I took the blue pee pill for pain during a uti.

      I was and still am amazed! Surgery would never be an option for bladder control for me.

      Thanks for the support.

    2. That is fascinating!
      I first learned of this point to help bring a baby down during labour, I have used it to relieve period pain for my daughter and tried it for heavy periods myself. (It appears to help but I believe I need genuine acupuncture to get the result I need, it's expensive though)
      I looked it up and it is listed for "hernia, spleen disorders, digestive disorders, insomnia, male sexual issues and anxiety." but not incontinence.

      You were very brave to post this but you should not need to be, it is so common.

    3. kylie,
      I have no idea what you looked up but I have never seen it listed for "hernia, spleen, digestive disorders" or the rest. Incontinence of all kinds is the main this treatment is for. Or, maybe I am wrong. Will you send me a link for what you read? Thanks.


      scroll down to P6

    5. kylie,
      I see, not tibial nerve stimulation, just the whole concept of acupressure and acupuncture. Gotcha!

  3. MS means that bladder issues are a part of my life. Thanks for this. I will investigate.

    1. EC,
      I was not aware this was a part of MS. Hopefully, this can help you.

  4. Linda,
    This is something that my mother has and my aunt had and I have what seems to be the start of it as well. Thank you for sharing! That was brave and kind.
    I am so glad you are having so much success.
    Take care, friend.
    Patti in CA

    1. Patti,
      Kegel exercises only go so far. Now that you know where the "cure" or help lies, maybe your problem will not get so involved as mine did. I have suffered so much that I wanted to help others. Thanks, Patti.

  5. Linda, I must applaud your courage in bringing up this valuable information. What an ordeal you have been through. Funny but whenever. I smell an excess of perfume I wonder if she is covering up something.
    Lately I notice I must answer the call right away! But definitely something to keep in mind. Thank you.

    1. czrol,
      I never tried perfume because I could still smell myself a few times. I was horrified at my condition. It did take courage mustered up over nine weeks.

      Being able to wait a bit is also one of the happy benefits of tibial nerve stimulation. You are welcome.

  6. as a physician this is not too TMI for me :-)

    1. Ur-spo,
      Great news! I was hoping my audience was so squeamish they were turning away. Thanks for the comment.

  7. Hoping my audience was not so squeamish


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