NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s help for women who are constantly having to go to the bathroom, what drug commercials call overactive bladder.

It’s a real condition with both quality-of-life and health consequences, and CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez says there’s a non-drug solution.

Having to go to the bathroom all the time is serious. It disrupts sleep, leading to health issues. Plus meetings, road trips and more have to be planned around bathroom breaks.

Drugs help but have side effects. There’s also biofeedback and even Botox. But now there’s a different approach.

Maria Greco has been struggling with her so-called overactive bladder problem for years.

“During the night was my biggest struggle. I would have to get up, like, 3-4 times and not have a very good sleep,” she said.

It’s gotten bad enough that she has to plan her day around it.

“I was very limited to liquid. Maybe a cup of tea in the morning and just maybe a bottle of water throughout day,” Greco said.

She’s tried a number of remedies, including medications. She says they helped some but had side effects.

“Dry mouth, problems swallowing, dry eyes, abnormal sweating,” said Dr. David Greuner, of New York Surgical Associates.

Then Greco found her way to Greuner, who explained that many cases of overactive bladder are actually due to blood pooling in the veins around the bladder, kind of like varicose veins in the pelvis.

Special ultrasound scans confirmed the problem for Greco. Those swollen veins were creating pressure on her bladder and that’s what led to her frequent urination. The giveaway that it was a vascular or blood vessel problems was, Greuner says, if they’re better in the morning and then get worse throughout the day.

The solution is a relatively simple procedure to block off some of the offending dilated veins pressing on the bladder. A thin catheter is threaded into the area through the veins, then a long-used surgical material called gelfoam is placed in the vein to create a controlled clot.

“It’s almost like sclerotherapy for a varicose vein,” Greuner said. “Success rate is extremely high, about 95% complete symptom resolution from this.”

Which is what Greco is hoping for. That and, of course, a peaceful night’s sleep.

The key to success with this controlled clot or embolization procedure is, like most medical procedures, patient selection.

If a woman is OK in the morning but her need to go to the bathroom gets worse during the day and into the night, that tells you that blood is probably pooling in the pelvic veins and the patient might benefit from this procedure.


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