Mercy Urogynecologist Dr. R. Mark Ellerkmann Discusses Diagnosing And Treating Urge Incontinence Or Overactive Bladder

September 22, 2014
Urogynecology at Mercy - Baltimore

Having an overactive bladder, which is also known as urge incontinence, is a common problem that can be treated in a variety of ways.

Many people live with urge incontinence, especially women, but no one really wants to talk about it. Quida Thomas said she initially didn't want to talk about it, even though it had become a big problem in her life.

"There was a lot of leakage, a lot of accidents, and I think the hardest part was going to the store and having to buy different products,” she said.

As embarrassing as living with an overactive bladder is, Thomas did eventually talk to her doctor with the hope that he could help.

"When something like this is interfering with your quality of life and you're not functioning the way you're supposed to be functioning on a day to day basis, you need to talk about it," Thomas said.

According to Mercy urogynecologist Dr. R. Mark Ellerkmann, it's nothing of which anyone should be ashamed.

"Anywhere from 30-50 percent of women can experience symptoms of urinary incontinence and overactive bladder. The problem is that health care professionals do not do a good job screening for this, and women don't often volunteer the information," Dr. Ellerkmann said.

In many instances, urinary incontinence and overactive bladder are manageable through changes in diet and behavior. With some women, it's as simple as doing pelvic exercises. If that doesn't work, there are other options.

"Overactive bladder tends to be treated more with medication, whereas stress-related urinary leakage that occurs from coughing or sneezing with abdominal pressure tends to be treated with surgery," Dr. Ellerkmann said.

Thomas had the surgery, and it changed her life.

"I am so pleased with what I had done. I wish I would have done it sooner rather than later," she said.

View Dr. Ellerkmann’s interview regarding urge incontinence or overactive bladder.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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