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What are the Benefits of Sacral Nerve Stimulation?

By Sarah Sullins
Updated May 17, 2024
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The benefits of sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) include reducing the sudden, urgent need to urinate, reducing bladder leakage, and reducing the amount of times a person needs to urinate each day. It is also helpful for those who sit in the bathroom for a long time but can only urinate a little bit or cannot empty their bladder at all. When it used to stimulate bowel movements, a person might notice that he is able to have more frequent, complete bowel movements. These symptoms will not go away completely, but sacral nerve stimulation has been shown to reduce the frequency and strength of the problems.

Sacral nerve stimulation is a therapy that is used for people who have bladder or bowel control problems. A neurotransmitter is placed in the upper area of a person’s buttocks during a short, outpatient surgery. This neurotransmitter sends electrical pulses that stimulate the bladder or bowels to function. Another benefit of sacral nerve stimulation therapy is that the neurotransmitter can be easily removed and will not damage a person’s nerves.

Surgery to allow sacral nerve stimulation only takes about 15 minutes to perform. A person may return home when the surgery is finished, but he may feel some pain and discomfort at the site of the incision for a few weeks after the surgery. A doctor may advise some limitations on activities but, for the most part, the procedure usually goes well and the incision heals quickly.

This therapy to stimulate the bladder or bowels is only used as a last resort. Any patient wishing to have this surgery done must have already tried every other conventional method. If all other methods have failed, a doctor will usually allow a person to experience the benefits of sacral nerve stimulation therapy. A test run is done before the actual procedure and usually lasts less than an hour. This test run determines whether a person’s sacral nerve will respond to the neurotransmitter.

Many people who have had the surgery report that they are not incontinent as often after the surgery as they were before it. Many also say they do not have to use the restroom quite as often and are able to tell when they have a full bladder. A lot of people are able to urinate better, as well, fully emptying their bladder in one restroom visit instead of having to make numerous trips to relieve themselves.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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