Norma recalls that even as a little girl, she had to go to the bathroom more than others and had trouble making it to the bathroom in time. As an adult, she would go 10 to 12 times per day and every 2 hours at night. She wore pads because she often leaked. "And not just a little either," she says, "but a flood." At her part-time cashier job, she often had to go home from work to change because of leaking.
Over the years, her urologist tried a number of treatments, but none of them were lasting solutions. When he mentioned sacral nerve stimulation, she was leery but decided to try it. She had her screening test in late October 2007, but her doctor had trouble finding the best spot for the leads. He found a better place for them when they tried the test again in mid-November. She had her implant shortly after, and on the first night she slept for 10 hours. In the following weeks, she worked with a urology nurse to fine-tune her programming. She has four settings to choose from.
Now Norma usually goes to the bathroom every 4 or 5 hours during the day, and she can sleep 6 to 7 hours at night. "I may not be 100% improved, but I feel a lot better than I did before," she says. "I feel like somebody threw me a lifeline and like I've finally gotten a reprieve at 58 years old."
When Norma visited her daughter and grandchildren in Indiana, it was no problem for her to share a bed with her granddaughters. In Florida, where she lives, her son can't believe she can now sit through her grandsons' 3-hour baseball games. She can attend church without having to go to the bathroom twice in an hour and a half. "The InterStim® neurostimulator has allowed me to have the confidence to go out and have a whole new joyous feeling about life," says Norma.
This story recounts the experience of one patient who is receiving sacral nerve stimulation 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 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.