How Nerve Stimulation Calms Overactive Bladder Symptoms

Apr 23, 2019, 8:34:06 AM / by Metro OBGYN Team posted in Health Services

It’s estimated that overactive bladder (OAB) affects 15% of women — although this number may be much higher as many choose not to discuss the condition with their provider.

Those who experience symptoms of OAB feel a sudden urge to urinate. This can be accompanied by accidental leakage and struggling to make it to the restroom on time. These symptoms can leave you feeling embarrassed or anxious, and keeps many women from enjoying social activities. When overactive bladder starts interfering with your daily activities, consider speaking to a provider about treatment options to alleviate your symptoms.

While lifestyle adjustments like diet changes and bladder retraining can potentially reduce symptoms, they don’t work for everyone. As a result, many women turn to nerve stimulation as a treatment option.

Read on to learn all you need to know about percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) and how it can provide relief from overactive bladder.


What is Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS)?

Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) is a treatment for overactive bladder for those whose symptoms don’t respond to dietary changes, medication, or vaginal devices. PTNS has become increasingly popular over the years and is a great alternative to consider prior to surgical treatment.

What are the risks of PTNS?

Nerve stimulation is not a viable treatment option for everyone. There are a couple reasons why someone might not be an ideal candidate for PTNS.

Those with the following may not be good candidates for PTNS:

  • Pacemakers or implanted defibrillators
  • Nerve damage
  • History of bleeding
  • Pregnant or planning to become pregnant

Speak with a provider about whether or not PTNS is a good option for you and what the potential side effects may be based on your specific situation.

Why might you choose PTNS?

While it does carry some risks, there are also many reasons why PTNS is a good option for treating overactive bladder.

You might be a good candidate for PTNS if you:

  • Are too old to undergo surgery
  • Are suffering from side effects of other treatments or medications
  • Have previously received BOTOX® injections to address symptoms of OAB
  • Do not want to perform self-catheterization
  • Prefer a non-drug or non-surgical treatment option for OAB

How does PTNS work?

PTNS provides electrical stimulation of the sacral nerve through the tibial nerve near the ankle bone. When stimulated, the nerve helps control the pelvic floor’s function and, subsequently, the bladder’s response.

How is PTNS performed?

  • A small needle is inserted into the tibial nerve on the inner ankle
  • This needle is connected to a nerve stimulator which sends electrical pulses up the leg to the sacral nerve plexus located on the spine
  • Stimulating these nerves helps regulate the pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control

It is difficult to know how every patient will react to the treatment, but some feel a tingling or pulsing sensation near the ankle. Your provider will discuss the different levels of stimulation and adjust your treatment as needed to accommodate your comfort.

Treatment sessions

PTNS is administered over a series of 12 weekly, 30-minute sessions. About 70-80% of patients respond well to treatment and see improvement of their OAB symptoms within the first 4-8 sessions. Some patients may require additional sessions to improve bladder control. However, most report their symptoms to be entirely gone by the 12-week mark.

Nerve Stimulation at Metro OBGYN

If you’ve exhausted non-procedure treatments for your overactive bladder symptoms, consult with a provider at Metro OBGYN to see if PTNS is right for you.

Get back to living your best life, free of accidents, by scheduling your appointment today!

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Metro OBGYN Team

Written by Metro OBGYN Team

Metro OBGYN is an independently owned practice that provides compassionate, convenient care across the spectrum of women's health services.


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