Neuromodulation is a category of treatments that alter neural activity.
The alteration is achieved through either electrical or chemical means. Since nerves are located throughout the entire body and control a majority of the body’s activity, neuromodulation has proven to have a number of medical implications across many different fields.
Pedundal and sacral neuromodulation techniques have been successful in alleviating the symptoms of both overactive bladder and urinary incontinence.
One specific study found that as many as 90 percent of patients had at least a 50 percent reduction in the prevalence of symptoms. Regaining nerve control using neuromodulation clearly offers freedom for these patients.
It’s important to note that even when implants are used, the procedure doesn’t involve opening the brain. The operation is relatively short but does occur under sedation. Once installed, the implant will act as the communicator between the brain and bladder. In addition to reducing the number of trips to the bathroom, or incontinent episodes that occur, these implants have been associated with a significant reduction in the number of urinary tract infections for both men and women. The implants do require routine monitoring and may need to be replaced after five to seven years.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Additionally, there are non-surgical neuromodulation options such as Botox injections and percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS). Both of these options typically require multiple, or on-going sessions. Botox injections work by preventing the overactive neurons that communicate the need to go to the bladder from working as much. This option can be effective for as long as nine months.
Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation is fairly non-invasive and requires no anesthetics. The tibial nerve communicates with sacral nerve complex. Therefore, a small needle electrode into the tibial nerve just above the ankle can reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of overactive bladder. This process lasts for thirty minutes per session with sessions occurring once every week for twelve weeks. Occasionally, further sessions are needed.
Evidence has shown that neuromodulation can be quite beneficial to patients suffering from both overactive bladder and urinary incontinence.