Stopping incontinence: Benefits and Risks of InterStim™ Therapy

Urinary incontinence may not be uncommon, but that does not make it any less
embarrassing or diminish its impact on your life.

No one should suffer the physical and emotional toll of urinary urgency and incontinence.

InterStim™ Therapy is on the cutting edge of treating urinary incontinence, urinary retention and fecal incontinence. InterStim™ addresses urinary issues by improving communication between the brain and the bladder through the sacral nerves. These nerves control the bladder and muscles related to urination. When this messaging system breaks down, it can lead to problems with storing and voiding urine.

About InterStim™

Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy with InterStim™ manages the symptoms of overactive bladder. It is proven effective even in patients who have tried other treatments such as medications and behavioral therapy without relief.

InterStim™ is a small, implantable neurotransmitter device that sends electrical impulses to the sacral nerve, located in the lower back just above the tailbone. This nerve controls the flow of signals sent between the brain, the bladder and the surrounding muscles that manage urinary function. Sacral nerve stimulation regulates these impulses, which reduces urinary frequency and urgency. It is a proven treatment option for people who have not had success with more conservative bladder control treatments.

The InterStim™ System is trusted by healthcare providers around the globe. It received its CE mark for the treatment of chronic intractable function disorders of the pelvis, lower urinary and intestinal tract in 1994. More than 225,000 patients have been treated with InterStim™ worldwide.

InterStim™ Benefits

InterStim™ may reduce symptoms for many people who suffer from overactive bladder. Treatment can be reversed at any time by turning off or removing the neurotransmitter device. The benefits provided by InterStim™ Therapy are life changing. Women can feel more in control of their lives, activities and their schedule without the fear of having an embarrassing accident.

InterStim™ Risks

Because it involves surgical implantation, InterStim™ System carries risks similar to any surgical procedure, including swelling, bruising, bleeding and infection.

InterStim™ may cause patients to experience unpleasant side effects, including:

  • Pain at the implant site
  • New pain
  • Infection
  • Skin irritation
  • Interactions with other devices or diagnostic equipment
  • Undesirable changes in urinary or bowel function
  • Lead (thin wire) movement/migration
  • Device problems
  • Uncomfortable stimulation

Some people have difficulty adjusting to the impulses, describing it as a slight pulling or tingling sensation in the pelvic area. It should not be painful. Other people report feeling worried because they do not feel stimulation all the time. Side effects may be resolved with surgery, medication or reprogramming. Often the side effects are short-lived and are resolved over time without intervention. If we cannot resolve side effects, it is simple to discontinue InterStim™ Therapy. You will be carefully evaluated and will be able to test the system before implantation and before therapy is initiated. This therapy is not suitable for everyone.

Woman hands holding bladder organ shape made from paper on light blue background. Awareness of bladder cancer, urinary tract infection, urinary incontinence and overactive bladder.

After InterStim™ Implantation

Even after you have made a full recovery from surgery and resumed your normal routine, it is important to stay in touch with Coyle Institute about any questions or concerns you have.

During your consultations before and after surgery we will discuss:

  • What to expect during and after the implant procedure
  • How to program your neurostimulator
  • When to call us to assist with your therapy or address problems
  • Troubleshooting tips

Time for InterStim™

If other bladder/bowel control treatments have been ineffective, InterStim™ may provide you long-lasting relief.

At Coyle Institute, we feel confident in offering this solution to our patients. We have seen many cases in which it has safely and effectively treated urge incontinence, fecal incontinence, overactive bladder and other bladder control issues. We want our patients to be provided with the latest and most effective treatments available, including the option of highly proven InterStim™ Therapy.