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Interstim for Incontinence

Posts: 241
Joined: May 2007

Has anyone had the interstim implanted? What were your results? I have and overactive bladder and all other treatments have not worked. 6 Years incontinent--4 pads a day---can't believe there's nothing out there that will work. My Doc even said I could give the Interstim a shot, but after that, since no mnedication has worked, right now I'm stuck with this for life.



VascodaGama's picture
Posts: 2524
Joined: Nov 2010


Your post is depressing and I hope you find the right way to control the incontinence. Nevertheless, you should be aware of what is spoken about the Interstim Implants.

I have no experience so that my layman’s comment is based on what I have read and researched.
The Interstim device, it seems, works by stimulating the sacral nerve 3 which controls the bladder. In other words, if the sphincter structure is perfect and the cause for the incontinence is due to “uncontrolled” activity of local muscles, a wake-up call of local nerves may put everything back into order. However, if the sphincter is “defective” physically due to lack of nerves or muscles cut at surgery, then stimulating the sacral nerve may not show the improvement you are looking for.

The good thing about Interstim is that it can be tested/experienced without implantation (the device can be hold in a belt externally and connected to the inner stimulating rods). And that deserves a try.

Not to discourage you I paste here the comment from a patient which I think it be important to you and other comrades reading this thread. It goes like this;

“…I tired it a few years ago. My incontinence is due to a back injury that damaged the nerves. Basically, it feels like I need to pee all the time. They can set you up with a test run where the device is external and you have two probes inserted into your back. You then adjust it via a dial rather than a magnet.
It did give me some improvement, and I was able to feel the need to go better. But since my muscles had started to atrophy I was still having accidents. The good news was that now I was able to perform Kegel Exercises and see additional improvement.
The problem was that if you felt over stimulation from the probes you were supposed to turn down the level or even turn it off. I had a lot of pain from the probes while sleeping, so kept it turned off during that time. So I wet the bed and continued to wear diapers at night. During the day time, I had to turn it off during times when I was driving. Since I was in sales I drove a lot so even though I saw some success I still wore diapers 24/7. I also travel 3-4 times a month, getting through security became an issue because you had to show them your implant card. Sitting down on an airplane would work but it always stung when we landed, so I would turn it off as we started to descend causing me to wet when we stood up to get off the airplane.
I had also read about others having issues with the magnet getting turned off by accident resulting in a wetting accident.
Based on all these factors I decided it was more trouble than it was worth, and went back to diapers.
I suggest you speak to your Urologist and if they think it makes sense try it out with the external device. That would be a good way to judge. As I said it did help some to improve my incontinence, so maybe your lifestyle and type of incontinence will benefit from Interstim."

Here is a video explaining about the procedure;

Links to your previous thread on the same matter are here;

I hope this gives you some insight.


Posts: 351
Joined: Jan 2011

Something has come up and I have to put off Europe until next year. Probably spring. Sorry, as I look forward to meeting you.


Posts: 241
Joined: May 2007


Thanks for thr info and feedback. Fortunately, although I seem to feel the drip all the time, I am 52 and very active and experience no pain. My hesitation with the interstim is I am so active and athletic, I know I would knock the Interstim out of whack fairly quick. The fact of the matter is this I choose to live as full of a life as possible and by choice will not get anything implanted in my body. Do I want to be incontinent the rest of my life, no way! But, I believe taking a chance on other surgeries is not worth giving up any of the experiences I enjoy now. It's a real double edge sword, but realistically, until someone or something comes out to tackle an overactive bladder like mine, I think I am screwed. I look for no pity party, but my Doc told me, right now, there's nothing else out there. Remember, I have had several tests and exams, supposedly my sphincter is fine. So that's where things stand.

By the way, I have read your posts--they are outstanding! Thanks so much for so much valuable info.

Truly and Sincerely,


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