InterStim therapy is a treatment option for patients with an overactive bladder, a serious case of urine retention or an uncontrollable frequent urge to urinate for reasons other than an overactive bladder. It gets its name from the InterStim, which is a small implantable device used to administer the therapy. There are other forms of treatment for overactive bladders, including medication and physical exercises. InterStim Therapy is used for patients who have failed to respond to the other treatments or who cannot undergo the treatments.
What is an Overactive Bladder?
An overactive bladder is a condition characterized by sudden, frequent and uncontrollable urges to urinate. The patient feels the need to go to the bathroom numerous times during the day and the night. Sometimes, due to the uncontrollable nature of the urge, patients may have urine leakage, also known as urinary incontinence.
An overactive bladder may be caused by a neurological condition that interferes with the functioning of nerves that transmit messages between the brain and the bladder. Contributing factors can include diabetes, bladder complications such as tumors or stones, urine retention and an excessive intake of fluids.
InterStim therapy is focused on fixing the disconnect between the nerves in the brain and those that control bladder function.
The InterStim device is implanted in the upper buttock area through a minor surgical process called a Sacral Nerve Stimulation Procedure. Sacral nerves are located around the tailbone and regulate the operation of a person’s urinary function. Bladder movements are determined by the communication between the sacral nerves and the brain.
In patients suffering from an overactive bladder or urge incontinence, an InterStim device is implanted to enhance or correct the communication patterns between the sacral nerves and the brain, ensuring the person has full bladder control. Before the actual InterStim device is implanted, doctors place a temporary stimulator to observe how the patient responds. This helps to project what the efficiency of a permanent stimulator will be. If the patient does not respond at all to the temporary stimulator, then it would not help to implant a permanent one.
The success rate of the InterStim device is high, with patients reporting relief from their symptoms almost immediately. It is important to consult a urologist before having the device implanted because not every person may be a good candidate for the procedure. Since the surgery is a relatively delicate one, a patient should make sure to see an experienced urologist from a reputable institution, such as those from the Advanced Urology Institute. The staff of experts at Advanced Urology Institute can help with any questions, preparations and surgery. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.