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 entire life I've had a problem with leaking, and difficulty realizing when my bladder was full. As a child I would urinate in the morning and then forget to go for the rest of the day. When nature finally caught up with me, I would rush to the nearest restroom - that is, during the times I was lucky. More often than not, I would have an accident.
My name is Susan, and my problem didn't go away as I got older. Instead, it became worse. Sometimes the leaks came without any warning.
My days revolved around locating and being aware of nearby restrooms. I would try to go before I left the house so I wouldn't get caught unprepared, and I kept an arsenal of pads to deal with accidents.
Black and navy blue became my wardrobe colors to camouflage any leaks, and I kept a change of clothes with me at all times. What I didn't do was see a doctor. Instead, I thought to myself: "This is a natural part of getting older."
The topic of my bladder came up during a conversation with a specialist to whom I had been referred by my doctor. After trying more conservative treatments, I still didn't have the control that my doctor and I were looking for. Then she suggested I try Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy delivered by the InterStim system. Having seen positive results among other patients, my doctor was hopeful that it would work for me.
My doctor implanted temporary leads during a short in-office procedure. As soon as my therapy was turned on I experienced the feeling of a full bladder - and I was absolutely thrilled!
During my trial I didn't have a single dribble, drip, or leak. I also didn't have any complications or infections. Occasionally my clothing would rub up against the area where the leads were taped into my body, causing irritation.
The impact of the therapy really hit home when my doctor removed my trial leads, and my leaking resumed once again. I felt some apprehension about getting surgery, but my doctor answered all my questions. The procedure took place at a hospital in a single day.
My healing process wasn't as quick, and I grew impatient. With fresh incision sites where the long-term lead was implanted, I couldn't perform chores I enjoyed right away.
My recovery period lasted several weeks, but being overly cautious, I took it easy and gave myself extra time before I made a full return to my hectic lifestyle.
Like the trial, the results from my long-term therapy were immediate, and blew my expectations out of the water. I had to adjust my settings shortly after my surgery, but otherwise my therapy has been constant.
With InterStim I no longer waste time searching for restrooms and covering up accidents. I can commit myself completely to all the tasks I want and need to do.
InterStim has also freed me from potentially embarrassing situations. My intimacy with my husband is back, and I can wear light-colored clothes again - in elevators, and everywhere in between.
Although you should be able to do most activities you did before surgery, there are some activities which may cause discomfort or affect your implanted neurostimulator. Review the following information, and if you have any concerns or questions about these or other activities, contact your doctor.
Activities you should avoid – You should avoid activities that involve sudden, excessive, or repetitive bending, twisting, bouncing, or stretching. These movements could damage or move your implanted lead or affect the implanted neurostimulator. Examples of such activities include gymnastics, mountain biking, and any other sport or activity that involves the movements described above.
Activities you can continue – Activities that should not affect your implanted InterStim system include running, jogging, walking, road biking, swimming, sexual activity, etc.
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.