Mercy Urogynecologist Dr. Mark Ellerkmann Discusses Urinary Incontinence, Its Diagnosis And Treatment
Mercy urogynecologist Dr. Mark Ellerkmann
Urinary incontinence is a common problem, especially among women, and there are things that can be done about it.
Devera Ruff said she'll occasionally have a coffee, but there was a time when it was strictly off limits for her because of urinary incontinence that started three years ago.
"It was just like, 'I just went to the bathroom, and I have to go again.' I would go and nothing would come out. It was frustrating and irritating," she said.
According to Ruff, it was disruptive to her day and to her sleep, so she changed her diet.
"I tried no Starbucks for a month, no ketchup on the french fries for a while, but I still had the urge despite the modifications. It did not help," she said.
Mercy urogynocologist Dr. Mark Ellerkmann noted that many things are linked with incontinence.
"Childbirth, obesity, occupations of heavy lifting and straining, chronic cough, diabetes, smoking — these are all associated with incontinence," he said.
The first step is ruling out other causes of the problem, such as urinary tract infections or the bladder not emptying fully.
While lifestyle changes, pelvic exercises and medication may help some women, they didn't work for Ruff. She had outpatient surgery with a little sling that supports the bladder.
"It's pieces of synthetic tape that go underneath the urethra that provide a backstop against which the urethra can press closed during coughing and sneezing," Dr. Ellerkmann said.
Ruff had the procedure, which takes about 20 minutes, in December reports she is now doing much better.
"I don't have the urge to go anymore. I also had problems when I coughed or sneezed — I would have a little leakage — but I don't have any of those problems anymore," she said.
Dr. Ellerkmann believes it is important to see a urogynocologist because they are board-certified subspecialists with three years of additional training.
Experts say more importantly, be sure talk to your doctor about the problem.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.