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.
Have you ever tried this? Did it work for you? If you don't want to reply here, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.