Overactive bladder is a common condition that causes the sudden urge to urinate. It can also cause you to empty your bladder involuntarily.
One possible treatment for an overactive bladder is called bladder stimulation. This is done by sending a mild electrical current through the nerves and muscles that control urination. It can help restore your ability to control your urge to urinate, as well as treat incontinence.
Bladder stimulation is notIt’s not for everyone – and you may need to try a few other treatments before your doctor recommends a method of bladder stimulation.
Let’s discuss the different types of bladder stimulation, what we know (and don’tI don’t know) how it works and who is a good candidate for treatment.
Your bladder is a hollow organ that fills with the fluid youI consumed and digested. The organ is supposed to contract and empty when full.
Usually, your bladder tells your brain when it needs to be emptied by muscle contraction, giving you the urge to “go for it.”
When you have an overactive bladder, the detrusor muscle that contracts when you urinate is more active than it should be. This means you might feel the urge to urinate when you don’t need to.
It can also mean that youare not able to completely control when your bladder empties. It may cause urine to leak out of your bladder when you put on‘t want it to – also known as incontinence.
Although overactive bladder is common, it does notit doesn’t mean thatIt is a typical part of aging.
When you’re concerned about incontinence, any activity outside your home can make you feelyou risk embarrassment. Bladder stimulation is meant to retrain your muscles and nerves to give you more control over when your bladder releases urine.
There are a few types of bladder stimulation that doctors currently recommend for people with OAB, including sacral nerve stimulation and tibial nerve stimulation.
If these treatments don’t work for you, a doctor might recommend urinary incontinence surgery.
Sacral nerve stimulation
This type of bladder stimulation uses electrodes implanted under your skin to stimulate your sacral nerve roots where they exit your spine. The electrical impulses are controlled via a transmitter.
This type of treatment requires surgical implantation of the device. The doctor will first implant the device on a trial basis and test to see if the stimulation is actually helpful for your overactive bladder. You will need to track your bowel movements and urination during these weeks.
After 2-4 weeks, you and the doctor can decide whether to have the device permanently installed. This requires a second surgery.
With this type of stimulator, the device is implanted under your skin, and you won’t see or hear anything while youI use it. You can also control the level of the device using an external electrical impulse control mechanism via a remote control.
Tibial nerve stimulation
Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) is a non-surgical treatment performed in a doctor’s office. A very fine needle is inserted near your tibial nerve, located around your ankle. The nerve is then stimulated by a small transmitter.
PTNS requires several treatment sessions of 30 minutes each. A course of treatment is usually carried out weekly for 12 weeks or more. After several months of weekly sessions, you may just be able to visit the doctor for treatment once a month to maintain results.
Clinical trials suggest that the effectiveness of these treatments varies widely. It is difficult to know if hewill work for you and how much your symptoms will decrease, if any.
Sacral nerve stimulation
Sacral nerve stimulation offers a permanent solution due to the nature of the device installed under your skin. Since you need to test the device for several weeks before it becomes permanent, long-term success rates may be higher.
Sacral nerve stimulation may continue to improve your symptoms even over time. The same 2016 review also covered a study in which 59% of people had a 50% reduction in their symptoms even 3 years after starting to use the device.
Tibial nerve stimulation
The efficacy and long-term effects of PTNS are less clear.
If you find PTNS working after 12 weeks, you won’t have to keep going to the doctor‘s for treatment every week.
But after a few months, you may notice your symptoms start to return to what they were when they started. Thisit’s
Bladder stimulation is a possible treatment option for an overactive bladder. This involves sending a mild electrical current through the nerves and muscles that control urination.
Sacral nerve stimulation and tibial nerve stimulation are two types of bladder stimulation doctors recommend for people with OAB. You may need to try other treatments first before your doctor recommends bladder stimulation treatment.
Bladder stimulation is not for everyone and the effectiveness of treatments may vary. If you have an overactive bladder, talk to your doctor about treatment options that might be best for you.