Last Friday, I had my first experience with PTNS. For those who don’t know what that is it’s “Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation.” It’s used for those who suffer with incontinence. It controls the messages the bladder receives by stimulating a nerve. There’s a lot of science behind it but I don’t fully understand it all. I’m using it to help my bladder leakage. If you’ve read my post “A Long Road That Ends With Surgery” you know that this is the second to last intervention. After this, I get a nerve stimulator placed in my back.
The hope is that this therapy will give the doctors a better idea of how my bladder will react to nerve stimulation. Either way, I will receive the initial external implant. This is a way to test the effects of the Interstim Sacral Nerve stimulator. I didn’t know what to expect when going into this appointment for PTNS. I had read a few articles about it but it was unclear what it would be like. I’ve had an EMG and other types of tests that activate the nerves but each time has been different.
When I got to my appointment, I filled out paperwork, signed a consent and got the session started. They placed a needle in my low ankle. The needle was small, it wasn’t horrible pain but it wasn’t pleasant either. They then attached the machine to the needle and started the stimulation. I didn’t realize they had settings for how high the stimulation would go. They started at one and then stopped going higher at fourteen. Then for thirty minutes, the machine sent continuous pulses through my nerves.
The sensation wasn’t great. I felt tingling near my tailbone. If you’ve ever gotten the steroid Dexamethosone it feels like a very minor form of the effect that drug has. My leg felt extremely tense but otherwise thirty minutes passed rather quickly. One thing I didn’t expect, I was alone. The nurse practitioner came to place the needle and the LPN came to check on me occasionally. Otherwise, it was my mom and I. (and Crush of course)
I will continue with this treatment for at least another two weeks, if not three. For normal people receiving this treatment, it’s a total of twelve sessions. Because this isn’t a long term solution for me, they only want to test it out. I don’t think this is a bad option. My access to it and the maintenance that it requires is what makes it inapplicable to my life. I’ll update you on it’s effectiveness and if there are any changes in how it feels later on.