Marc Bourgeois, 48, says urinary incontinence was one of the most frustrating and embarrassing things he has dealt with in his life—but that doesn’t prevent him from talking about it with other men.
It’s quite the opposite—Bourgeois calls attention to the importance of regular medical checkups to anyone who will listen, whether it’s a co-worker or the deli clerk at his neighborhood Kroger.
"If I can prompt just one man to seek help for his urinary incontinence, it was worth it because it is most often very treatable with the right doctor,” says Bourgeois. "I’ve been amazed by how many men I’ve encountered who have trouble with urinary continence since sharing my experience.”
In February 2012, Bourgeois began experiencing unusually high urinary frequency in the middle of the night. This progressed to complete loss of control over his bladder while he slept.
"I’d wake up soaked four to five times a night. I started wearing Depends and avoiding water six hours before going to bed to try and prevent it. It caused me extreme anxiety,” he recalls. "It came on gradually and I was so caught up in the business of life that I wasn’t paying attention to the signs my body was sending.”
Those signs included a weak urine stream and overall reduced urine output. He was referred for additional testing to Ayman Mahdy, MD, PhD a UC Health urologist, assistant professor at the UC College of Medicine and the director of voiding dysfunction and female urology. Mahdy is fellowship trained in urinary incontinence, voiding dysfunction and female urology.
Mahdy prescribed a bladder scope test (cystoscopy) and a comprehensive video-urodynamics examination to fully assess Bourgeois’ bladder and kidney health to determine the best course of action.
Tests revealed the underlying source of Bourgeois’ incontinence: a blockage in his bladder, caused by an enlarged prostate. He was diagnosed with chronic urine retention with reflux. This chronic retention had caused resulted in "overflow” incontinence, which indicated further imaging and kidney function evaluation. Tests showed long-term pressure from the backup of urine had resulted in a distended bladder and stress on his kidneys that had severely compromised his left kidney health. During testing, Mahdy’s team removed a liter of retained urine from Bourgeois’ bladder.
"I had to self-catheterize until they cleared me for surgery. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but the Kristy (nurse) was so patient and coached me until I got it right,” recalls Bourgeois.
"Back pressure is detrimental to the kidneys—it causes the organ to lose its ability to function normally. It was critical that we remove the bladder obstruction right away to reduce the pressure on Mr. Bourgeois’ kidney to preserve his remaining kidney function,” explains Mahdy.
Bourgeois underwent a transurethral resection of the prostate—known for short as a "TURP procedure”—to remove the blockage in May 2012 at UC Health West Chester Hospital. By 10 a.m. the next day, Bourgeois had his catheter removed and was able to spontaneously and completely empty his bladder. He didn’t need the catheter anymore to eliminate urine from his bladder effectively. Within a week, he had completely regained control of his bladder.
"My prayers—and my mother’s—were answered when I found Dr. Mahdy. Because of him, I can have a normal life. I have reset my life in many ways, and I hope other men realize through my testimonial that they don’t have to suffer in silence from urinary incontinence.”
Appointments and Information
Mahdy offers medical and surgical management of a full spectrum of voiding dysfunction and urinary incontinence problems. For more information, visit ucphysicians.com/urologyor call 513-475-8787.