Patient Perspective: A Review of Sacral Neuromodulation for Bowel Incontinence

Posted on: 4th Dec, 2020


Imagine living with symptoms of bowel incontinence so debilitating that you were forced to plan your life around them. That was the reality for Dr. Sasse’s patient, Resa, and it was the motivation she needed to keep searching until she found a solution.

A Silent Shame

Bowel leakage made Resa re-think what and when she ate, and where and when she left the house. “Was I shopping? Playing in the park with my seven year old? Hiking with my husband and son? Family outing?” At 50 years old, she was far too young to be curtailing her life to deal with this condition, let alone silently managing its severity. In her embarrassment, she hadn’t shared her struggle with her husband, her sister (a nurse of more than 30 years), or her mother-in-law (also a nurse). Instead, “I carried two extra underpants in my purse, wet ones, and a full set of extra clothes in my car at all times, just in case,” she shares. “The sad part is, I needed the extra underpants way too often.”

Chasing Solutions

Resa tried all the usual fixes — over-the-counter medications, pads, controlling what and when she ate. “None of this worked,” she says. “All it did was cause more stress, trying to juggle all of these things.” She was aware of sacral neuromodulation as a treatment for urinary incontinence — an acquaintance had successfully treated her incontinence with a similar device some 13 years ago. “I wasn’t aware that it could be used for my issue as well,” she says. “As soon as I found out it could, I was on board.”

Resa’s doctor referred her to Dr. Sasse, calling him “the best in the field.” It was a good fit for Resa from the start. “I really do like Dr. Sasse, and I am picky with my doctors,” she says. “He is easy to speak with, makes you feel at ease, explains everything where you can understand it, and takes his time. You do not feel like a number.”

Going in, Resa had modest expectations. She wanted to see a 50% improvement. “My reality is about a 95% improvement, and we’re still tweaking the setting,” she says. The difference is night and day. “I do not have any extra underpants in my purse or a change of clothes in my car. I am around day 38 post-surgery and I am a different person. I go to the park, I go hiking, I do not worry about when I eat before we go on a family outing. That is the difference SNM has made — it has given me my life back. SNM is allowing me to watch my son hang upside down on monkey bars at the park, smiling his snaggled tooth smile.”

Resa has the wisdom of experience, and she has some advice for anyone struggling with bowel or urinary incontinence. “No matter your age, you are too young to miss one minute of life in the restroom or looking for the restroom,” she says. “The stress that my issue was causing me had depressed me more than I realized. Now, I feel different and less stressed. I am worth having a normal life, bowel-issue free, and so are you.”

She’s right. If you’re ready for a real resolution to incontinence, it’s time to learn more about sacral neuromodulation. Contact the Sasse Surgical team today, and let’s get started.

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