My Bladder a Source of Daily Embarrassment – Cured with a Pacemaker Device ‘Says Grateful Patient’
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 14, 2020: Physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of the Mubadala network of healthcare providers, are urging the community to confront difficult conversations about urinary problems and to visit a doctor should they experience them.
The call comes as the hospital sees a growing number of patients, particularly women, who have been living with urinary problems for months or even years before seeking medical attention. This delay in seeking treatment can severely impact a patient’s quality of life, causing them to refrain from everyday activities and social events out of discomfort or embarrassment.
Physicians are keen to let the community know that there are a variety of treatment options available from medication to artificial urinary sphincters and the recently introduced ‘pacemaker for the bladder.’
“Despite what many patients think, urinary problems are common and are usually very treatable. The tragedy is that so many people suffer in silence because they are embarrassed to discuss something that’s considered a sensitive topic. It’s high time that we break that taboo so that people are aware that there are solutions to these problems and they can get the treatment they need,” says Dr. Zaki Almallah, a urologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
Fatima, a 25-year-old Emirati national, began experiencing bouts of urinary problems from a young age. She would have difficulty emptying her bladder, causing a great deal of discomfort and embarrassment. She would rely on a catheter to pass urine, a solution that caused her deep distress.
“I had been living with this problem on and off for years. I had tried medications and other therapies, but nothing worked. It was so stressful to live with a problem like this and trying to live a normal life, especially since I didn’t like to discuss it. I avoided going out too much and couldn’t visit the beach or anything like that,” says Fatima.
As she got older, her symptoms worsened until she visited Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in search of a solution in early 2020. Following a complete evaluation, her care team determined that a device that stimulates the nerves that control the bladder would restore normal function, allowing her to pass urine normally again.
“This device acts like a pacemaker for the bladder. It can be used to treat both incontinence and difficulty passing urine, restoring normal habits and giving people back a sense of control over their lives. Once people come forward, they are generally surprised and relieved to find that they are not alone and there is a solution to their problem. For people like Fatima, being freed from urinary problems is transformative, allowing them to live their lives to the full,” explains Dr. Almallah.
Following a short, minimally invasive surgery to install the device and wires under her skin, Fatima has made a complete recovery. She will continue visiting the hospital for checkups every few months in the hope that she will regain normal function without the device in two-to-three years.
“I am so pleased that this chapter of my life is behind me. Dr. Almallah and everyone were so supportive and understanding, I wish I had found them years ago. I advise people in a similar situation not to wait and visit a urologist as soon as possible. It could save you years of suffering,” concludes Fatima.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s bladder clinic offers patients a range of clinical and surgical options to treat urinary problems including incontinence, overactive bladder and difficulty passing urine. Physicians at the hospital recently began offering artificial urinary sphincters to treat incontinence as well as botox for the bladder and other treatments.