Incontinence is a common side effect of Type 2 diabetes that is generally caused by neuropathy, or nerve damage from high blood sugar levels. There are different kinds of incontinence, but the one most commonly caused by Type 2 nerve damage is called urge incontinence, or an overactive bladder.
If you’ve tried prescription medications and you’re still not making it to the bathroom in time, there are other options. However, each option does carry some risk.
The most common surgical procedure is sacral nerve stimulation. This is when a small neurotransmitter device is tucked under the skin near the bladder and above the buttock. The device sends minor electrical impulses that regulate and control the bladder. A plus to this procedure is that it’s reversible. The risks associated with this procedure are the same as those associated with other implantable medical devices: infection, mechanical failure, and pain at the implant site.
Another procedure which is not yet approved by the FDA is botox. The procedure involves injections along the bladder floor to prevent nerves that cause incontinence from communicating. The effects last for approximately six to nine months. Trials of botox for incontinence have found that it slightly increases the risk of urinary tract infections and significantly increases the risk of urinary retention, or difficulty emptying the bladder.
A less common surgery is called bladder augmentation, which is also referred to as enterocystoplasty or augmentation cystoplasty. The surgery attaches a part of the small intestine to the bladder to create a larger bladder; this can minimize leaks. It’s considered a last resort treatment, as the surgery includes many risks, and the treatment usually requires catheterization for the duration of the patient’s life.
There is no one way to treat incontinence, and you have to decide with your doctor what makes the most sense for you.
Type 2 Nation received no compensation for mentioning these procedures.
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