Learning how to control our bladder is one of the first things we’re taught as a child. Losing control of that ability as an adult can be very frustrating. It’s actually a condition that’s fairly common in both men and women, especially as they grow older.
The involuntary loss of bladder control is called incontinence. There are a few different types of incontinence. Sometimes, the causes for incontinence are fairly obvious. Childbirth, injury, and surgery can all result in what’s called stress incontinence.
Other forms of incontinence aren’t always so clearly pinpointed. Urge incontinence is when you experience a sudden, intense need to urinate. It’s often so strong that you can’t contain it. This can stem from an infection, diabetes, or a neurological disorder, but ultimately, it’s the result of a communication failure between your brain and your bladder.
When you’re diagnosed with incontinence, the first thing to try is general lifestyle changes. This includes diet adjustments, general exercise, bladder training, and/or pelvic floor strengthening.
If that doesn’t work, you may be prescribed medication. While medication can help, it also might result in other side effects. If medication either isn’t working or is producing overly problematic side effects, there is another potential option: InterStim therapy.
What is InterStim Therapy?
InterStim Therapy is a form of incontinence treatment that uses the InterStim system, a device designed to correct communication problems between your brain and the nerves controlling the bladder. InterStim is not an option for all forms of incontinence. In the case of urge incontinence, however, it can be a viable solution.
InterStim works in two phases.
Initially, an external device will be used for a trial assessment. A thin wire is inserted into your body near your tailbone. The wire is then taped down and attached to a small device worn on your waistband. This device sends minor electronic pulses through the wire, which may help your bladder function properly.
Your condition will be monitored during this trial period, which typically lasts 4-7 days.
If the device proves successful, you’ll be eligible for an internal implant. This will be placed in the same area as the wire was through a surgical procedure. The surgery is relatively simple, allowing you to be in and out of the hospital in one day.
Once implanted, the InterStim device can be controlled via a wireless handheld controller.
There will likely be some minor discomfort as the body heals and adjusts. You’ll need to limit your activity for a while afterwards. You can remove the bandages and shower three days after the surgery. As the incisions heal, you can gradually return to normal activity.
Eventually, you’ll be able to enjoy your regular day-to-day life without worry of bladder accidents.
Finding Out if InterStim is Right for You
If you’re experiencing incontinence, you should see a urologist right away. Irregular bladder function is not something you should be putting up with or accepting as “normal”.
Once a urologist is able to examine you, they can help determine the source of your incontinence and how to best treat it. For some, that may end up being InterStim therapy. For others, simple lifestyle adjustments or exercises might be enough.
For incontinence treatment in Springfield, Ohio and the surrounding communities, contact Urology Specialists of Ohio today!