This story recounts the experience of a patient who is receiving Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation), delivered by the InterStimTM system, for the treatment of bladder control problems. Please bear in mind that the experience is specific to this particular person. Not everyone who receives Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story.
My life revolved around going to the bathroom before I left home, work, the store, or the restaurant. I always had to carry pads and a change of clothes in case of leaks, it was such a burden.
My name is Elaine. About 15 years ago, I started noticing that I had to go to the bathroom more often. I'd had four children, so I just assumed I'd have bladder problems eventually. However, it gradually got worse, to the point where I was going 18 times per day and three or four times per night.
My doctor prescribed exercises, which didn't work, then medication that made my mouth very dry. With each new treatment I had hope, and when nothing worked, it was a big disappointment.
My urologist referred me to another urologist who offered InterStim, and he thought I might be a good candidate.
I took time to read about InterStim before I made that appointment. I realized the InterStim device was like a pacemaker, and people use those all the time.
I did a trial assessment to see if InterStim would work for me.
It took a couple days to start working. I first noticed that it really reduced my sense of urgency. I didn't experience the complete relief I was hoping for in how many times I had to go, which was a little disappointing. But my doctor felt that I had at least a 50% reduction in my symptoms overall and recommended going forward with long-term therapy and continuing to work on finding the right settings to get the symptom relief I was looking for.
The day of the procedure, I was hopeful that I would have even better results with long-term therapy than I did with the trial.
At first, I got some relief from my symptoms, but I felt like it should be doing more than what it was doing. In the first few weeks I went back to my doctor several times for adjustments. My doctor's nurse was so wonderful and encouraging, saying, "Don't give up hope! There are lots of settings we can try."
She was right. Finally, we found settings that worked well, and now I'd say it controls 99% of my symptoms. I don't get up at night, I'm done leaking, and I no longer wear pads or carry extra clothes with me.
I can be more social now. I can go to lunch with my girlfriends or go on shopping trips with my two daughters, without worrying about where all the bathrooms are.
I feel like I'm free of something very burdensome. Even when I didn't know if InterStim would work, I was bound and determined to make it work, because I didn't want to go back to how I had been. I'd definitely say give it a try; it's not for everybody, but the relief was worth it.
Medtronic invited this patient to share her story candidly. Not everyone who receives Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if sacral neuromodulation is right for you. In addition to risks related to a surgical procedure, complications associated with the InterStim system 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 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.