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Manufactured by Medtronic, the InterStim Therapy System is surgically implanted device designed to help patients reduce the number of urinary and bowel accidents. It is FDA-approved for patients with urinary or fecal incontinence who have failed to respond to, or could not tolerate, more conservative treatments. How exactly does it work? An implanted neurostimulator delivers an electrical pulse to the sacral nerve, which controls the bladder and anal sphincter. This pulse is sent via a handheld programmer.
During the clinical trial that found InterStim Therapy could reduce bowel accidents by half (and in some patients, restore full continence of bowel movements), reported InterStim Therapy side effects included infection, pain at the site, “pins and needles” and the neurostimulator breaking through the skin. But what about in the real world? That’s where PatientsLikeMe comes into play.
According to the six treatment evaluations of InterStim Therapy submitted by PatientsLikeMe members (10 of whom currently report using the device), reported side effects included “bladder problems,” “annoying sensation” and “bowel incontinence.” Three patients rated the side effects as “Mild,” while three others reported no side effects.
Curious to hear more? Here’s what three patients, all of whom report multiple sclerosis (MS) as their primary condition, had to say in the freeform section of their evaluation:
- “It has helped me! Aside from the surgery pain and the seizure I endured, I would have it implanted again.”
- “Taking the InterStim was an act of desperation. I was about twenty when my bladder started to fail. The leaking and frequency still continue to be a problem.”
- “The impact this device has had on my daily life is incredible. I truly feel this is the best thing I could ever have done for myself and my MS symptoms.”
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