If you have ever suffered from the embarrassing and inconvenient symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB), you know how important getting the proper treatment is. Unmanaged OAB means having to wear incontinence pads, always be near a bathroom, and worry about odors. Getting relief starts with a thorough workup and diagnosis from a doctor. One of the first treatment options may be medications. But what if they don’t work well or you have unwanted side effects?

Fortunately, for those who continue to struggle when OAB medications don’t work, other advanced treatments are available, many of which are minimally invasive, permanent solutions.

Options if OAB Medications Don’t Work

Several minimally invasive treatments are available if OAB medications don’t work. These include:

  • Sacral Neuromodulation: Implants, like Axonics, provide electrical stimulation to the sacral nerve, effectively “resetting” the nerves that tell the bladder to contract.
  • Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS): Similar to sacral neuromodulation, PTNS is an outpatient procedure in which the tibial nerve in the ankle is electrically stimulated.
  • Botox injections: This may be helpful for some individuals.

Sacral Neuromodulation

Overactive bladder is often the result of a miscommunication between the brain and the bladder. Normally, nerves signal the bladder to contract only when you initiate urination voluntarily. With OAB, the nerves signal the muscles to contract the bladder when they shouldn’t. Sacral neuromodulation, like Axonics, works by re-engaging the proper communication channels between the brain and the sacral nerves that control the bladder muscles. Axonics therapy is an implantable device that stimulates the sacral nerves with tiny electrical impulses. It helps to regulate the sacral nerve function and prevent urinary incontinence.

Axonics can be an excellent option for people who have not responded to more conservative treatments like medications and physical therapy. The ultimate goal of Axonics therapy is to restore the normal function of the sacral nerves and reduce urinary leakage, urgency, and frequency. Axonics can ultimately eliminate the symptoms of OAB for many people.

Axonics Testing and Placement

One advantage of the Axonics device is that you can try it before having the device permanently implanted. Your doctor will place a wire into your lower back for the trial period to stimulate the sacral nerves. The wire is connected to a small device worn underneath your clothing. During the trial period, you can decide if placing the permanent device will help reduce your overactive bladder symptoms.

If you and your doctor decide that Axonics is right for you, the permanent device can be inserted through a minimally invasive surgical procedure. The device is inserted into the lower back, just above the buttocks. The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia and takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. Once you wake up from surgery, you will go home the same day. Most people resume their normal activities within three weeks of having it placed.

The device pairs with a hand-held programming device that allows you to customize your treatment precisely. In partnership with your doctor, you’ll be able to modify the intensity and frequency with which the sacral nerve is stimulated.

Find Out if Axonics is Right For You

It can be frustrating if OAB medications don’t work for you. Fortunately, there is hope for those who need another solution. Sacral neuromodulation, with a device like Axonics, is an excellent solution for many people. Plus, urologists are experts in treating OAB, so they can help you determine if Axonics or another treatment is right for you.

Don’t continue to live with unwanted OAB symptoms – schedule an appointment today!