Life with MS

Bladders Matter

By MS Focus Staff
MS Focus participated in a roundtable meeting with more than two dozen nonprofit organizations, as part of the Bladder Health Alliance. During the meeting, research results were shared, advocacy opportunities were discussed, and plans were made to help bring awareness to bladder health issues.

Kimberly Bailey, MS, a senior program officer for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institutes (PCORI), discussed the importance of clinical effectiveness research. This type of research answers questions that are important to patients, such as “which treatment is most effective for my condition?” She also announced the release of new study results related to bladder symptoms in women.

Evidence Update: Treating Women’s Urinary Incontinence without Surgery

PCORI released the results of a systematic review, in a research partnership with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. It compared the effectiveness of medicine and behavioral approaches to treating urinary incontinence (UI) in nonpregnant women. The study looked at two kinds of incontinence:

1. Stress UI: urinary leakage that occurs when your body strains, such as coughing, laughing, or sneezing.
2. Urgency UI (also called overactive bladder): urinary leakage or loss of bladder control happens when you have a sudden feeling of needing to urinate but cannot make it to the bathroom in time. It is important to note that this study did not look at neurogenic bladder symptoms (including UI caused by damage to the nerves that control the bladder). However, many women with MS may also experience stress UI or urgency UI, which are common conditions. The study found that both medicine and behavioral approaches are effective for both types of UI.

Here are the highlights:

• Kegel exercises improved symptoms in almost three-quarters of women with stress UI, and for many, the symptoms went away completely.
• Bladder training, which involves a plan to go to the bathroom at set times and then gradually waiting longer between visits, improved the symptoms of more than 75 percent of women with urgency UI.
• More than half of women with either kind of UI experienced improvement with medication. If you are experiencing UI, you are not alone and there are effective treatments available.

Speak to your doctor about your treatment options. Read the full update at