Ambassador – Darlene
Darlene, Urinary Urge
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 2-3 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 two 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 neurostimulation, so I attended an informational forum.
In May 2006, I had a trial assessment for neurostimulation and it went well, so I had the surgery for neurostimulation in June 2006. Now I go only 6-7 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 two 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.
TO CONTACT DARLENE, CALL 1-800-664-5111, EXT 3016
This story recounts the experience of one patient who is receiving neurostimulation for the treatment of urge incontinence. Medtronic invited her to share her story candidly. Please bear in mind that the experiences are specific to this particular person. Results vary; not every response is the same. Talk to your doctor to determine if neurostimulation is right for you. In addition to risks related to a medical procedure, complications from this therapy can include pain, infection, sensation of electrical shock, device problems, undesirable change in voiding function, and lead migration, among others.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.