Bladder Control problems should not be considered a normal part of getting older. For many women who are living with a bladder control condition, such as overactive bladder or urinary retention, expensive medications or restriction of fluids have been tried. In most cases, these treatments are not effective. For many, the problem is just covered up with absorbent pads or diapers that can have an embarrassing odor. Skin rashes and recurrent bladder infections can occur.
There is no need to despair. There are a wide range of treatment options that we offer at Pacific Coast Urology’s Women’s Bladder Control Center of Excellence.
One of these, called InterStim® can literally correct the symptoms of an overactive bladder overhight. InterStim® can treat:
- Overactive Bladder (OAB) symptoms that include urinary urgency, frequency, nighttime urinating and urge incontinence
- Urinary retention that occurs when an overactive bladder has many small, ineffective contractions that are not powerful enough to empty the bladder
This technology was developed by a company that is a leading manufacturer of cardiac (heart) pacemakers. The concept is simple: to send electrical impulses to nerves that connect to centers in your brain that control urination. Whenever your bladder tries to contract too often or without control, the device sends a signal to the controlling centers to help the bladder muscle relax. You won’t even know when it’s working – it’s painless!
How Does the InterStim® System Work?
The theory behind InterStim® Bladder Control Therapy is that gentle electrical stimulation of the nerves in your sacrum reduce the signals to the nervous system which may be causing bladder control symptoms such as leaking or sudden, frequent urges to urinate.
“Getting the Interstim therapy has created a new life for me. I don’t have to make as many trips to get pads, I just keep them around for “insurance” purposes. It’s terrific to be able to go out and run errands without having to plan “pit stops.” It’s truly wonderful being back to normal, to walk to the bathroom, particularly when I’m out in public. It gives me a great sense of security to no longer be obsessed with the need to control my bladder. Dr. P is a gift. It took me a couple years to get to him, just because of all the travel I do with my husband.I’m sorry I hadn’t come sooner. This has totally changed my life. My family sees it and they are very happy too. They love that I don’t make them stop for me with constant need for a bathroom. It’s great!”
– MaryAnn K.
The InterStim® device is small, roughly the size of a silver dollar, only a little bit thicker. It is implanted under your skin. It is much more effective than medications and the initial testing for InterStim® can work for you can now be done in 30 minutes in our office!
How Do I Know if I am a Candidate for the InterStim® Bladder Control System?
Dr. Robert Pugach advises his bladder control patients that there is no single bladder control treatment that works for everyone. Our philosophy at Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center is to always start with the least invasive therapy possible. With our years of experience treating bladder control problems, we know that, while medications and other non-invasive treatments are helpful for many patients, some do not respond. That’s why we offer remarkable, state-of-the-art procedures like InterStim® that can restore bladder control when other options have failed.
If you are a candidate for InterStim® we perform a 30 minute test in our office to see if it will help you. The testing is called an “evaluation” or a “trial assessment.” If you have a positive result, as most patients do, you can then proceed to have the actual InterStim® battery placed under your skin. Batteries typically last 5 to 6 years and can be replaced with a simple, 10 minute procedure.
Is Medtronic InterStim® Bladder Control Therapy FDA-approved?
Absolutely! In 1997 the FDA approved the InterStim® System for urge incontinence and in 1999 for urinary retention and significant symptoms of urgency-frequency. In 2013, InterStim® was also approved for the treatment of fecal incontinence.
How Effective is the InterStim® Bladder Control System?
Studies have shown that sacral neuromodulation using InterStim® can eliminate or dramatically reduce OAB symptoms in up to 82% of patients. For patients who cannot empty their bladders due to frequent, ineffective bladder contractions seen in some OAB patients, InterStim® can allow normal urination in up to 84% of patients. It is truly a remarkable device and one we’re proud to offer in the Women’s Bladder Control Center of Excellence.
Is InterStim® Bladder Control Therapy Evaluation Covered by Health Insurance?
Yes. Medicare and most private insurance companies cover the cost. Certain HMO plans do not provide coverage. Pacific Coast Urology Medical Center’s Financial Counselor is happy to help you with your benefit coverage questions.
To find out more about treatments for OAB, including InterStim®, call us to schedule a convenient appointment at 888.735.4336 or email us via our Contact Us Form.