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When it’s time to consider an InterStim implant for bladder control

May 4, 2020 | Interstim

If you struggle with the symptoms of overactive bladder or urinary retention, you have probably been seeking a solution for a long time. Initially, you may have ignored these issues thinking they will go away or that they are a normal part of aging. When you discovered that neither of these beliefs are true, you headed to your doctor in search of relief. That is when you began the long process of trying to find the best solution for a problem that has slowly taken over your life.

Most Doctors Recommend These Interventions First

If you frequently drink beverages containing caffeine and don’t get a lot of exercise, your doctor will first have you switch to drinking water and get out and exercise more. That may be all it takes to see significant symptom improvement. Performing exercises to strengthen your bladder wall can help as can only urinating at certain times of the day regardless of urgency or other symptoms. While the last solution can retrain the bladder in some cases, it can also be extremely uncomfortable to spend large portions of the day with a full bladder.

Some patients obtain relief by taking prescription medication to control their symptoms. However, this does not eliminate the problem and you must decide whether the side effects of a medication make it worthwhile. Some of the most serious potential side effects of bladder control medication include dizziness, sleep problems, drowsiness, blurry vision, constipation, and dry mouth.

Your doctor will monitor you frequently to determine if either of these interventions work for you. If not, he or she may recommend that you undergo a short outpatient surgery to have the InterStim device implanted.

InterStim Can Do What Other Treatments Failed to Do

The InterStim device, which is slightly larger than a quarter, targets the nerves in your body that have weakened communication between your brain and bladder. The device continues to work for months and years after implantation to help you achieve ongoing improvement or elimination of symptoms. If you have tried more conservative methods that have made little difference in your overactive bladder or urinary retention symptoms, ask your urologist about receiving the InterStim device instead.


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Dr. Pettit, Dr. Emeruwa, Dr. Bryson, and the entire staff of Bellingham Urology Group pledge compassion and a thorough commitment to the well-being of each and every patient. In fact, patients know us for that. We pride ourselves on delivering the highest standard of care and on making each office visit, from start to finish, as pleasant, comforting, and friendly as possible.

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