Mild electrical pulses are a well-known strategy for treating bladder problems and have been available in one form or another for decades.
- E-stim: E-stim activates pelvic skeletal muscles via motor nerves to generate movement. This is a treatment intended for a regular application, delivered by the patient, in the privacy of their home.
- Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation: During posterior tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS), a urology nurse practitioner will insert a fine electrode, like those used in acupuncture, into the skin near the ankle to deliver impulses. Those impulses travel along the tibial nerve in the leg to the spinal nerves that control bladder function. These 30-minute treatments are given in the clinic once a week for 12 weeks. Since the device isn’t implanted into the body, surgery is not needed.
- Sacral Neuromodulation: Sacral neuromodulation is a pacemaker-like device that stimulates the sacral nerves and affects bladder and bowel function. A thin wire extends from the device to an area near the tailbone and delivers low-voltage pulses to the pelvic. This therapy is an implantable device that is performed at an outpatient surgery center.