Medical Minute 10-28: Held Hostage by my Bladder

By: Ramin Khalili Email
By: Ramin Khalili Email

Soda pop used to be a nightmare for Sue Nelson.

"You have to constantly be close to a bathroom," she said.

She was one of the 25-million people living with bladder control issues: 80% are women. Her bladder was telling her it was full, even though it wasn't: She couldn't leave the house.

"People get embarrassed, because it's not something you sit down and talk over dinner."

"It's almost like the bladder reverts back to a child-like bladder," Christopher Smith, M.D., Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.

Doctor Christopher Smith of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston reached for this device. It's a pacemaker of sorts implanted into Sue's lower back and weighing just an ounce. Electric stimulation sent to the base of the spine tells patients when their bladder is truly full.

"It filters these signals, these overactive signals - between a patient's bladder and their brain," said Christopher Smith, M.D.

Studies show 56% of users cut their bathroom trips in half, and 46% of patients had zero bladder control issues.

"It's like, back to my old ... life."

And while Sue was never keen on talking about her problem, she'll happily tout the solution.

"This is just something that happens to some people - and there is hope ... there is hope," said Sue Nelson.

For More Information: Christopher Smith, MD Baylor College Of Medicine -

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