This story recounts the experience of a patient who is receiving neurostimulation for the treatment of bladder control problems. Please bear in mind that the experience is specific to this particular person. Not everyone who receives InterStim Therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story.
My bladder problems have been the source of a lot of embarrassment over the years. I can still recall a bad moment when I was on my way to the bathroom at the gym and I ran into an acquaintance. We only talked a few minutes – I didn't want to be rude – but I could feel myself leaking as we talked. Because of my urge incontinence and urgency-frequency, I have left my groceries in the middle of the store, cut my daily walks short, and avoided situations if I wasn't sure there was a bathroom.
My problems started about 12 years ago and gradually got worse. My gynecologist gave me a prescription, but when that didn't help, he brushed me off. My family doctor changed my medication, but my symptoms still didn't improve. For a while I thought, "Maybe this is just how it's going to be." By 2004, I was going about 15 times per day and getting up 2 to 3 times at night, but the leaking was the worst part. I wore pads constantly and always kept a change of clothes handy.
My family doctor sent me to an incontinence coordinator at a women's specialty clinic. The urologist changed my medications again, tried me on 2 at once, and had me do Kegel exercises, but I really didn't see much improvement. I kept a voiding diary and changed what I ate and drank, but nothing really solved the problem. When my doctor sent me for urodynamic studies, I literally couldn't hold for more than 30 seconds. My urologist suggested I try InterStim Therapy, so I attended an informational forum.
In May 2006, I had a trial assessment for InterStim Therapy and it went well, so I had the surgery for InterStim Therapy in June 2006. Now I go only 6 to 7 times per day, and I sleep through or get up once per night. I no longer leak unless I wait too long.
My husband and I can travel again, and he's the one who needs to stop, not me. Recently we flew to Laughlin, Nevada, and then drove for 1000 miles sightseeing. We never could have done that before. This year, I was able to work on the election board, and I volunteer on 2 Alzheimer's boards – a cause that's very important to me. I feel so carefree. I don't have to think about hitting the bathroom all the time. My life is no longer controlled by my bladder.
Next: Tricia's Story
Medtronic invited this patient to share her story candidly. Not everyone who receives InterStim Therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if sacral nerve stimulation is right for you. In addition to risks related to a surgical procedure, complications associated with InterStim Therapy can include pain at the implant sites, new pain, infection, lead (thin wire) movement/migration, device problems, interactions with certain other devices or diagnostic equipment such as MRI, undesirable changes in urinary or bowel function, uncomfortable stimulation (sometimes described as a jolting or shocking feeling), and others. Surgery is required to remove the InterStim Therapy system. Please refer to Important Safety Information. Always discuss the potential risks and benefits of the therapy with your physician. This therapy is not for everyone. A prescription is required.
Please note: InterStim Therapy volunteer program is not intended to offer medical advice, counseling or product-related technical support. For medical questions, please talk with your doctor. If you have a Medtronic product and need technical support, please call 1-800-510-6735. Your discussion with an InterStim Therapy volunteer is meant to be a one-on-one conversation with an actual InterStim Therapy patient. The InterStim Therapy volunteers are instructed not to disclose any information about you to Medtronic or anyone else, but Medtronic cannot guarantee this will not happen. Therefore, please do not share any personal information about yourself with the volunteer unless you wish to do so. Medtronic will not participate in or monitor your conversation with a volunteer. The volunteers are not employees of Medtronic, and Medtronic does not control what they may say to you. For these reasons, Medtronic is not responsible for any statements the volunteers make. Medtronic encourages you to carefully review the information about InterStim Therapy on this website, and to discuss this therapy with your doctor. Medtronic reserves the right to end the InterStim Therapy volunteers program at any time, or to change volunteers from time to time.