Bladder medication may be causing memory loss…

Did you know that your bladder medication maybe causing memory loss?

If you are taking an anticholinergic medicine (Enablex, Ditropan, Oxytrol, Detrol, Vesicare orSanctura) you may be experiencing some common side effects; dry mouth, dry eyes, dizziness, constipation, or memory loss. A 2006 study of oxybutynin ER, for example, found its effect on memory to be comparable to about 10 years of cognitive aging. That is like taking a 67-year-old and transforming their cognition to a 77-year-old! This class of drugs is commonly used to treat over active bladder, bladder urgency, urinary frequency, and urge urinary incontinence. These types of medicine can be helpful in reducing the urges that are produced in your bladder. Unfortunately, the side effects can be so significant that some people may end up stopping medication because of how the side effects make them feel.

What should you do?

How should you proceed if you think you may be experiencing memory loss (or any other side effects listed above) related to your bladder medication?

First, you should talk to your doctor about other options. Physical therapy can be very effective in treating urinary incontinence, both urge urinary incontinence (leaking urine precipitated by a strong urge) and stress urinary incontinence (leaking urine with a cough, sneeze, or exercise). Studies show that medication along with physical therapy is more successful than taking medication alone when treating urge urinary incontinence. It is the goal of the therapist to help train the pelvic floor muscles, work with your bathroom habits, and review your fluid consumption in order to reduce bladder urges, urinary leakage, and improve your quality of life. The therapist will also make a recommendation to your Doctor on when to reduce and ultimately discontinue anticholinergic use. In many cases, physical therapy alone is able to stop the leakage of urine without the need for prescribed medication. Many times patients state that pelvic physical therapy has been life-changing and they wished they would have done it sooner!

What to expect from pelvic floor therapy.

What should you expect when making an appointment for pelvic floor therapy and how do you get started?

​First, you will want to find out from your insurance if a doctor’s prescription is necessary in order to start physical therapy. In the state of WI, we have what is called open access physical therapy, in which you can see a therapist without needing to see your physician first. However, if you are planning on submitting charges through your insurance, some insurance companies require a physician visit prior to starting therapy.

​Next, you should look for a therapist that is specially trained in pelvic floor therapy. At Freedom PT services, we have 3 therapists that are specialists in this area. Once you make an appointment with a therapist they will determine what habits may be influencing your bladder over activity, assess the health of your bladder, strength of your pelvic floor, and alignment of your back and pelvis. Through this detailed assessment a customized exercise prescription will be made, as well as recommended modifications in regards to your bladder habits, and fluid intake. Typically patients are seen 1 time per week for 6-8 visits.

Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
Nina Olson graduated with honors from Marquette as a Doctor of Physical Therapy. She specializes in women’s health services and uses a variety of manual techniques to effectively treat each person as a whole. Nina incorporates the Pilates Method into the rehabilitation of her orthopedic and spine patients as this method as proven to be a fun and effective treatment modality.