Sacral Neuromodulation and how it can alleviate bladder incontinence

Author: Medtronic

Date: Apr 2017

Bladder incontinence is very common, with current estimates suggesting that 3-6million people in the UK and as many as 45 million people in Europe are living with some form of urinary incontinence. Despite its commonality, many people still struggle to talk about bladder conditions, feeling embarrassed and struggling with their debilitating condition in silence. People living with bladder control problems can experience a whole realm of symptoms depending on the condition – you may leak small or large volumes of urine, use your bladder very frequently, or not be able to completely empty your bladder. These conditions can have a real impact on your day to day life, creating obstacles and barriers which may deter you from going out and getting involved in activities you used to enjoy. The fear of leaking wherever you go and the constant need to be close to a bathroom at all times can lead to your bladder dominating your life.

Bladder control problems – what kind do you have?

Find out what kind of bladder continence issue you may have - click here to read the full talkhealth article on urinary incontinence.

Why might I have Bladder control problems?

Nerves carry information to and from the brain. Some nerves control the bladder and the muscles that relate to urination. When the communication system between these nerves and the brain is not working properly, a person may have bladder problems such as urinary retention and overactive bladder including urgency urinary incontinence and urgency frequency. There are treatments available which can help improve nerve activity and in turn alleviate the symptoms associated with some bladder control conditions. One of these treatments is called InterStim™ Therapy.

InterStim™ Therapy – What is it?

InterStim™ Therapy (also called sacral nerve stimulation or sacral neuromodulation) was developed in the early 1980s and was approved in Europe in 1994. InterStim™ Therapy helps to restore normal nerve activity so that you can urinate normally. The procedure involves implanting a small medical device which sends mild electrical pulses to a nerve located just above the tailbone. The InterStim™ system consists of:

  • An implantable nerostimulator (INS) which is like a pacemaker implanted under the skin (roughly the size of a two euro coin).
  • An electrode or thin wire that carries the mild electrical pulses to the nerves controlling the bladder.
  • A hand-held patient programmer that enables you to adjust the level of the stimulation and allows you to turn your INS on or off.

In cases where this treatment is suitable it can eliminate or greatly reduce the symptoms for many people suffering from Urinary Retention, OAB Urgency Incontinence and OAB Urgency Frequency.

Who can I talk to about this to find out if the treatment might be suitable for me?

We are offering a free confidential nurse helpline/service which will give you the opportunity to speak with a specialist bladder nurse, either over the telephone or via email, so you can find out more about InterStim™ Therapy.

If you are living with bladder control problems and you would like to speak to a nurse, one to one, from the comfort of your own home, please complete our short registration form by clicking on this link. Our specialist nurse will then contact you directly.

Information contained in this Articles page which doesn’t state it has been written by talkhealth, has been written by a third party, who has not paid to be on the talkhealth platform, and has been republished with their permission. talkhealth cannot vouch for or verify any claims made by the author, and we do not endorse any specific products, brands, or treatments mentioned. The content in our Articles pages should not be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine.

Last revised: 6 June 2017

Next review: 31 August 2018