All month long we’ve been talking about ways to treat Overactive Bladder – that urgent need to go to the bathroom many times per day (and sometimes night!). If you have OAB, you may have tried switching up your diet, adding in pelvic floor exercises, or even trying different types of medications to treat your symptoms. But if those didn’t work (they don’t for everyone) or if the side effects made them difficult to continue, you may want to try some advanced therapies.
What are advanced therapies for OAB?
Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation
This treatment stimulates the nerve responsible for bladder and pelvic floor function by placing an acupuncture-like needle in the skin near your ankle. During treatment, a device sends mini electrical pulses to the tibial nerve, which changes the activity of the bladder. This is a gradual procedure and must be performed weekly for 12 weeks, and then occasionally as determined by a doctor.
Sacral neuromodulation (SNM) is a procedure that is performed in your doctor’s office and modulates the nerve activity between the brain and the bladder through electric stimulation of the sacral nerve. The sacral nerve delivers signals between the brain and the bladder. SNM helps to control these signals, so that the bladder functions normally.
SNM involves 2 phases – an evaluation phase and an implantation phase. During the evaluation phase, which lasts around 2 weeks and is designed to see if SNM will be a beneficial option to you, a thin, temporary wire is inserted in your lower back, near the sacral nerves, which control the bladder. A device is connected to the wire, which delivers electric stimulation to the sacral nerves.
Once your doctor has determined that SNM will be effective for you, the wire used during the evaluation period will be removed and a more permanent device, similar to a pacemaker is implanted just under the skin, usually in the buttocks. Your doctor will monitor you over time, but in most cases, it has shown to be effective in patients for as many as five years.
Both of these options are effective ways to treat Overactive Bladder, if behavioral therapies or medications are not an option for you.
To learn more about advanced therapies to treat Overactive Bladder, watch our 4th video below from our new series on Managing Overactive Bladder. Then talk to your doctor to see if an advanced treatment is right for you.