Bladder Control (Sacral Neuromodulation)

Bladder Control (Sacral Neuromodulation)

We provide Bladder Control Therapy (Sacral Neuromodulation, delivered by the InterStim® System) uses an implantable device to send mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves, located near the tailbone. The sacral nerves control the bladder and muscles related to urination. If the brain and sacral nerves are miscommunicating, the nerves can’t tell the bladder to function properly.

The mild electrical pulses from Bladder Control Therapy regulate the sacral nerves. This helps the brain and the nerves to communicate so the bladder and related muscles can function properly.

Bladder Control Therapy is an option for managing the symptoms of overactive bladder for people who tried other treatments such as medications and behavioral therapy, and those treatments have not worked or were not well tolerated.

Types of Bladder Control Problems

You may be one of millions of people who experience frustrating and embarrassing bladder control problems. These conditions, which prevent you from controlling when and how much you urinate, can make simple, everyday activities a challenge and social lives very difficult.

There are different types of bladder control problems and some people have more than one type. InterStim Therapy does not treat every type of bladder control problem.

You should be able to identify the type of bladder control problem you have by comparing your symptoms with the lists below.

Urinary Urge

If you suffer from urinary urge incontinence, you may:

  • Have been diagnosed with overactive bladder.
  • Lose urine as soon as you feel a strong need to go to the bathroom.
  • Leak urine when you drink even a small amount of liquid, or when you hear or touch running water.
  • Have frequent leaking episodes.

Symptoms of Urgency-Frequency

With symptoms of urgency-frequency, you may:

  • Have frequent, uncontrollable urges to urinate.
  • Go to the bathroom more often than normal (more than seven times a day).
  • Feel that your bladder is never completely empty.

Nonobstructive Urinary Retention

If you have retention, you may:

  • Need a catheter to pass urine.
  • Spend a long time at the toilet, but produce only a weak, dribbling stream of urine.
  • Leak urine (sometimes called overflow incontinence).
  • Not have a sensation of when your bladder is full.

Bladder Control Problems

Bladder control problems can be devastating—You may leak small or large volumes of urine, use the bathroom very frequently, or not be able to completely empty your bladder. These conditions interfere with your life and can make simple everyday activities a challenge and social life very difficult. You may have to cut back on your hobbies or stop working. You may feel trapped by a fear of leaking accidents, the need to be close to the bathroom at all times, and an overall preoccupation with your bladder.

Why do I have Bladder Control Problems?

Nerves carry information to and from the brain. Some nerves control the bladder and muscles that relate to urination. When the communication system between these nerves and the brain is not working properly, a person may have bladder problems such as urinary retention and over active bladder including urgency urinary incontinence and urgency-frequency.

What do nerves have to do with urination?

The sacral nerves control the bladder and muscles related to urination. A breakdown of communication between the sacral nerves and the brain can lead to problems with storing and voiding urine.

InterStim Therapy system

The InterStim Therapy system consists of:

  • The implantable neurostimulator, which is like a pacemaker, implanted under the skin
  • A thin wire that carries the mild electrical pulses to the nerves controlling the pelvic floor, including the bowel and the bladder
  • A hand-held patient programmer that allows you to adjust the strength of the stimulation and to turn the system on or off.


Sacral neuromodulation may help you to regain control and avoid the embarrassment and frustration of bladder and bowel problems

“InterStim™ Therapy can significantly improve your quality of life and eliminate or reduce the need to take medications.”

InterStim™ Therapy Testing Phase

How is the test setup?

An electrode—a thin wire— is inserted near the nerves in your lower back that control the bladder. This electrode is then connected to an external stimulator, worn on a belt, which delivers mild electrical pulses to the nerves. This procedure normally takes less than an hour and can be done under local anaesthesia.

What does the stimulation feel like?

Stimulation sensations vary from person to person, but most people describe them as light “pulling”,“tingling” or “tapping” in their pelvic area (vagina, scrotum, or anus) or big toe. It should never be painful. The sensations will fade away with time just as you would no longer notice trains anymore if you live nearby a railway for a long time.

What should I do once at home?

The test period may be performed for several days. During this period, you can continue to lead your everyday life and record your symptoms in your voiding diary. Please try to avoid intense physical activities during the test period that could displace the electrode. Avoid bending, stretching, or lifting

Your follow-up visit

At the end of the test period, you will meet with your doctor to review your voiding diary, to check if your symptoms have improved and decide if the therapy is appropriate for you. If a temporary electrode was used for the test or if the test failed whatever the type of electrode, this electrode will be removed. Be aware that your bladder symptoms will most likely return within a few hours after stopping the test stimulation.

Therapy Testing Phase FAQ

May I work?

Yes you can, except if your work requires intense physical activities

May I use my mobile phone?

Yes you can, there is no problem.

May I shower or take a bath?

Please avoid bathing. You may shower 48h after the procedure depending on the type of dressing and electrode you have. Please, check with your doctor. In any case, you may clean yourself with a wet glove in such a way that the electrode does not move and does not get wet.

Are sport activities limited?

Restrict your physical activities due to the risk of the electrode moving from its initial position, especially if you have a temporary electrode.

Do I have to fill in a voiding diary?

Yes, you have to fill it in during the test period and a few days after the end. Please try to complete it as well as you can as it is used to measure and predict the efficacy of the therapy.

Do I have to fill in a voiding diary?

Yes, you have to fill it in during the test period and a few days after the end. Please try to complete it as well as you can as it is used to measure and predict the efficacy of the therapy.

May I have sexual intercourse?

Yes, if you have the long-term electrode and provided that you avoid brusque gesture.

Is the test reversible?

Yes, the test stimulation is reversible and can be stopped at any moment.