Incontinence Community

Doctors Use Pacemaker-Like Device To Help Treat Overactive Bladder

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
09/01/17  9:55 AM PST
Treat Overactive Bladder

Originally published by CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There is a long-lasting treatment for the millions of women suffering from overactive bladder: a pacemaker.

“I was going to the bathroom pretty much – started out every 15 minutes, then I became every five minutes,” patient Maxine Stern said.

Her overactive bladder was making her life miserable, and she has lots of company, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported. Estimates are that 37 million Americans have an overactive bladder, or OAB, which can also include incontinence.

“Anybody can get it, anybody of any age or any gender. But it tends to affect more women and usually women as they get older,” said Dr. Nicole Fleischmann, with Advanced Urology Centers of New York.

There are medications to treat overactive bladder, but almost two-thirds of patients stop using them because of unpleasant side effects.

“Dry mouth, constipation, sometimes we get memory loss in our older population,” Fleischmann said.

Instead, she recommended that Stern try a small, battery-operated stimulator – sort of like a bladder pacemaker. It’s implanted under the skin under local anesthesia, and a thin, flexible electrode is threaded through the sacrum or tailbone, so it can stimulate the sacral nerve, which helps control bladder function.

“It’s 82 percent effective in patients in decreasing their urinating symptoms,” Fleischmann said.

Just as importantly for a chronic condition like OAB, the same study showed that the InterStim pacemaker maintained its effectiveness for at least the five years that patients were studied.

Stern said it’s given her back her quality of life.

“I just came back from a trip to Israel. I went to Vienna, Israel and Petra. I went from constantly going to the ladies room to having to remind myself to go,” she said.

To see if the InterStim device works for a patient’s OAB, doctors will usually place a temporary, test electrode for a week or so to see if you get relief.

Read the full article on CBS New York.

More Articles Related to Incontinence on Shield HealthCare:



  1. Hwi w k.
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 3:39 am PDT

    I’d like to know if there’s any new treatment for neurogenic bladder. My daughter has neurogenic bladder and she’s on oxybutinin, but is there a hope for cure in the future?

  2. Aaron Baker
    Posted September 7, 2018 at 11:49 am PDT

    Hi there! Thank you for your comment. I myself have a neurogenic bladder, and I have an article about how I manage it here on Shield HealthCare’s site: Managing My Neurogenic Bladder. As of right now, neurogenic bladder is only treated, but medical advancements come every day, so we will hold out hope for a cure. Best of luck to you and your daughter. -Aaron Baker, Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist

  3. Hwi w kim
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 3:16 am PDT

    Thank you. I pray every day and I won’t lose hope. :))

    Hwi kim

Post Comment