Most women are not comfortable discussing their bladder control issues with family, friends, or even their doctor. Although, if you suffer from any of the symptoms of overactive bladder, you are not alone. More than 33 million Americans deal with overactive bladder and there is hope for relief. The main cause of overactive bladder and urge incontinence are the sacral nerve roots, which control the muscle impulses that cause the bladder to expand and contract.
To help improve the performance of these muscle impulses, a treatment called InterStim Therapy may provide improvements to your quality of life. InterStim, an FDA-approved surgical implant device, is used to treat bladder incontinence and overactive bladder in female patients. In addition, InterStim provides a solution for women who have failed prior behavioral therapies and treatment with multiple medications.
What does InterStim Therapy treat?
At first glance, it seems as though InterStim Therapy treats seemingly opposite problems. The first problem being non-obstructive urinary retention. This refers to poor bladder emptying in the absence of any blockage of the urinary tract. In men, this can occur with prostate enlargement or prior bladder surgery among other causes. In women, InterStim is used to treat severe symptoms of overactive bladder, which refers to urinary urge incontinence and significant symptoms of urgency-frequency.
How does InterStim Therapy work?
InterStim Therapy utilizes a small, implanted medical device that sends mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerve that’s located just above the tailbone. This nerve controls the bladder and surrounding muscles that manage urinary function. The pulses from this neuro-transmitter work in much the same way as a pacemaker by reducing and regulating the signals given by the sacral nerve. This electrical stimulation may eliminate or reduce bladder control symptoms in some people as well as helping individuals unable to urinate do so.
It is recommended that a physician perform an examination and evaluation to determine whether you are an ideal candidate for InterStim Therapy.
Is InterStim Therapy right for me?
For women suffering from bladder incontinence, the issue is commonly regulated using non-invasive pharmaceutical measures that target the bladder muscles themselves. InterStim Therapy is ideal for women who have not responded well to other forms of bladder treatment or who cannot tolerate the side effects.
InterStim Therapy does not treat symptoms of stress incontinence and cannot be used in female patients with neurological causes of their urinary issues such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, or spinal cord injury. It is also not intended for women with mechanical obstructions such as benign prostatic hypertrophy, cancer, or urethral strictures.
This treatment has not been studied in pregnant patients.