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Sacral Neuromodulation in Illinois

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Symptoms of bowel incontinence, overactive bladder, and non-obstructed urinary retention are treated with a sacral neuromodulation device. This device is similar to a pacemaker, as it sends electrical pulses and is implanted a few centimeters beneath the skin, the upper buttock, or hip. The pulses are sent to the sacral nerves located near the tailbone. Your sacral nerves control the muscles of the pelvic floor, urinary and anal sphincters, lower urinary tract, and colon.

When the sacral nerves and brain don’t communicate effectively together, the muscles controlling the bowel and bladder might not function properly. This problem can lead to an overactive bladder or fecal incontinence. For additional information on this treatment, connect with our GI providers at GI Alliance of Illinois in Chicago, IL, Peoria, IL, and Bloomington, IL.

Sacral neuromodulation works well for those for whom other treatments have failed, including lifestyle changes, medications, or physical therapy. The sacral nerves (that control the muscles of the pelvic floor, urinary, and anal sphincters) are just above the tailbone, near the spinal cord. Patients in Illinois are often approved for treatment if they deal with:

  • Non-obstructive urinary retention (UR) – the inability to empty the bladder which results in symptoms of frequent urination or trouble urinating, patients will often feel full but cannot urinate or only release a small amount of urine
  • Urinary incontinence: the involuntary leaking of urine due to the loss of bladder control
  • Fecal incontinence: the inability to control bowel movements causing stool to leak unexpectedly from the rectum, or leakage of stool before making it to the bathroom with or without the sudden urge to pass stool
  • Overactive bladder (OAB): the sudden urge to urinate that cannot be controlled, this may result in frequent urinary and/or incontinent (leakage) episodes

If you believe you’d benefit from sacral neuromodulation treatment, request an appointment with our GI providers at GI Alliance of Illinois.

Sacral neuromodulation can substantially assist patients in Illinois who are suffering from bladder and bowel dysfunction. As a reversible procedure, it is outpatient and done in two separate stages. The first is an evaluation phase where you can test the therapy for up to 5-14 days. If the treatment works, you’ll go to the second phase where long-term treatment is provided. Read below for additional information on each stage.

The Evaluation Phase: This testing period is where the small wire(s) are placed underneath the skin near the tailbone. The wire gets connected to a trial stimulator and sends electrical pulses to the sacral nerves. This helps to control the bowel and bladder. Our patients are asked to document daily symptoms. Once the trial run is complete, they can determine if the treatment is right for them.

Long-Term Therapy: If significant improvement was observed and documented during the evaluation phase, long-term therapy is the next step. The small implantable device (similar to a pacemaker) is placed underneath the skin in the upper portion of the buttock. Continuous stimulation is sent to the pelvis nerves to help the brain and pelvic floor muscles communicate. The electrical stimulation is controlled and adjusted with a small remote control.

Incontinence could be a worry of the past. Request an appointment with our GI providers at GI Alliance of Illinois for additional information.

With any minimally invasive procedure, there are a small number of risks associated. This includes swelling, bruising, infection, and bleeding. You can have pain medication prescribed for any discomfort and irritation.

It is possible to safely undergo an MRI or any other diagnostic procedure with a sacral neuromodulation device. The device can be shut off if you are pregnant, or trying to conceive. Some alternative treatments that are available include:

  • Reducing bladder irritants
  • Behavioral techniques
  • Managing your fluid intake
  • Self-catheterization (for retention)
  • Medications
  • Learning to suppress the urge with special techniques using your pelvic floor muscles

Learn more about sacral neuromodulation by requesting a consultation with our GI providers at GI Alliance of Illinois. We will evaluate if this procedure is right for you.

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