About 15 years ago, Josephine, age 67, began to experience urgency-frequency symptoms. "There didn't seem to be any special reason, I just started having to go more," she says. She began leaking and had to wear pads all the time. During the day, she felt like she was going "constantly" and at night she'd get up 4 or 5 times. She says, "I knew where every bathroom in the neighbourhood was."
Josephine recently retired from waitressing. While she was still working, she needed a note from her doctor to explain that she had bladder problems and needed to go every 15 to 20 minutes. She tried several medications but they made her mouth so dry she'd need to drink something—and then she'd need to go again. "Nothing seemed to work," she said. Then her doctor talked to her about sacral nerve stimulation. She was scared about the one-week trial, but she still decided to do it.
During the test, Josephine found she could last for an hour or more between trips to the bathroom. After the implant, the results were even better. Now she has 3 to 4 hours between bathroom breaks, and at night she only gets up to let the dog out.
"I am so happy with sacral nerve stimulation," she says. Now she can go to the store, out to dinner, or out with a girlfriend and not worry about where the bathroom is. She can eat and drink without rationing liquids. She goes swimming now, something she didn't do before because she worried about leaking. She says, "I don't even notice sacral nerve stimulation but my family has noticed that I'm not in the bathroom all the time." Josephine says she would never want to be without sacral nerve stimulation. "If you have bladder problems like mine," she says, "sacral nerve stimulation could be the best thing you can do for yourself."
This story recounts the experience of one patient who is receiving sacral nerve stimulation for the treatment of urgency-frequency. 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 sacral nerve stimulation 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.
This story reflects one person's experience. Not every person will receive the same results. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.