Mercy Urogynecologist Dr. Mark Ellerkmann Discusses Diagnosis and Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence

November 11, 2019
The Institute for Gynecologic Care at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

As many women know firsthand, particularly those who have given birth, bladder leakage is a very common problem.

In fact, 45% of women will deal with stress urinary incontinence in their lifetime. It is a problem that can greatly affect quality of life, but it can be fixed.

Penny Nichols is a very energetic person. She was a dancer in her youth.

"After I had children, I wanted to go back in to dancing and I noticed that when I was dancing, especially with the jumps and leaps and jet's and stuff like that, I would have accidents," Nichols said.

Eventually most activities caused her to leak urine. She stopped doing things she loved because of concerns about a nearby bathroom.

"It was controlling my life. That's what was happening," Nichols said.

She went to see R. Mark Ellerkmann, M.D., Director of The Urogynecology Center at The Institute for Gynecologic Care at Mercy, for mesh sling surgery. It has been around for decades, but studies show it is still the gold standard in stress urinary incontinence treatment.

"It's a minimally invasive surgery. It can be performed in 30 minutes as an outpatient procedure with very high success rates and low complication rate," Dr. Ellerkman said.

Dr. Ellerkmann places a mesh sling underneath the bladder neck to support it and prevent leakage.

"It's sort of like a garden hose on the floor. If you step on the garden hose you can crimp the hose because it's a firm floor, but if the garden hose were on two feet of mud and you step on the hose, everything gets weighed underneath the weight of your foot and you're less likely to close the hose off," Dr. Ellerkman said.

The success rate is long term.

"Even almost 20 years out from surgery, (it) still remains in the 80 to 90 percent range, so for a surgical procedure, that's wonderful," Dr. Ellerkman said.

"It was a game changer. It was great, it was really great," Nichols said.

Six years after surgery, Nichols has her dancing shoes on.

"I'm doing jazz, modern and ballet. And I have no problem at all," Nichols said.

View Mercy urogynecologist Dr. R. Mark Ellerkmann’s interview regarding stress urinary incontinence.

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 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, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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