In recent news, researchers at the University of California-San Francisco discovered a new drug that could inhibit the occurrence of urinary incontinence in women while greatly improving their quality of sleep. Those who suffer from urinary incontinence understand that this is an affliction that ceases to subside, no matter the time of day. Even in the deepest of sleep, episodes of incontinence can occur. Due to this, maintaining a regimented sleep cycle proves to be very difficult. Now, with the discovery of the new drug, fesoterodine, women who have incontinence will be able to rest easy at night knowing that their incontinence is being treated.
Putting Incontinence to Rest
Incontinence is a very common issue for women; especially those who have suffered frequent bladder infections, have given birth, are menopausal, or have a weakened bladder due to old age.
Due to its uncontrollable nature, many women’s sleep patterns are disrupted and their quality of life is greatly reduced. Leslee Subak, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology states, “Two of the biggest quality-of-life factors for older women are poor sleep quality and incontinence, and the older you get, the more prevalent both conditions are, and they do seem to be correlated. And so, if we can find a drug to treat one and effectively decrease the other, too, that could be big for improving quality of life.” Luckily, with the determination from scientists and doctors from UCSF, that treatment has been made possible.
Back in 2012, researchers at the University of California-San Francisco conducted a study that looked into the effects a certain drug had on reducing the episodes of incontinence. Since incontinence is 5-10 times more common in women than men, researchers decided to revolve the study around women with incontinence. In their research, they discovered that the drug, fesoterodine, decreased the number of incontinence accidents while reducing the number of time participants woke up in the middle of the night to urinate. Fesoterodine is an antimuscarinic which helps to control accidental urination by blocking the receptors in the bladder.
Killing Two Birds With One Stone
Since fesoterodine proved to be efficient in preventing incidences of incontinence, researchers wanted to take it a step further and determine if it had beneficial effects for sleeping. To produce accurate results, researchers had their participants take part in a sleep evaluation, first–the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index is a self-reported evaluation that measures sleep duration, daytime sleepiness, the amount of time it takes for an individual to fall asleep at night, as well as 4 other sleep factors. Each category is scaled from 0 to 3 and totaled together at the end. Typically, the higher the score, the poorer the sleep quality–ranging from a score of 5 or more. In their study, they found that 57% of their participants recorded poor sleeping habits with an average score of 6.4. However, the women who were taking fesoterodine each night reported that slept much more soundly; only waking up to urinate once per night, if at all.
Since incontinence affects 25% of women who are in their 20’s and 30’s, 50% of women who are menopausal, and 80% of women who are 80 and up, the newly discovered medicinal effects fesoterodine has on sleep patterns and incontinence is truly groundbreaking. Not only will this new course of treatment help to soothe incontinence in women while bettering their sleep patterns, it will greatly increase their overall quality of life.