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Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy

  • By IBS4ever

    I have suffered with IBS/D for about 40 years and it still gives me fits! I take the meds, try to alter my diet (does not help that much) and stay home 99.999% of the time. IBS/D took my terrific job as a HS Choral Director of the best performers and singers that could be in a HS singing group, and I just couldn’t stay out of the bathroom. I couldn’t teach from there, so I ended up on Disability in 1995, and here I am, with IBS at home! I do have a terrific GI Dr and my next venture in my IBS/D life is Medtronic Bowel Control Therapy. I am finding some great info on line, so it is worth a try. Since my colon just can’t seem to control itself, maybe this device will give it some help since IBS/D has a mind of its own. Has anyone tried this? I am just starting to research it, so maybe help will come. The meds help some, but they also give me a fast heart rate; so, I am going to make an appointment with my cardiologists to make some adjustments since giving up the meds would be horrible. I am finding good reports on the Medtronic therapy, but I am so stuck in the IBS/D rut. Anyone else tried the mentioned therapy? sc from NW Florida, and yes, it is cold today…

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  • By Hannah Noonan Moderator

    Hi @ibs4ever, I don’t know much about this therapy but it sounds really interesting! Hopefully some others here can share their experience with it and we’d love for you to keep us updated on how it’s working out for you! – Hannah (www.IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team)

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  • By jaeger91

    IBS4ever, I saw your post and registered for an account so I could reply to you. I have had the Medtronic Interstim implant for bowel control for almost five years. I got it because of bowel incontinence issues caused by pelvic floor damage and muscle and nerve damage from the birth of my first child. That condition is exacerbated by my IBS-mixed type. When I have normal bowel movements or constipation, the device works well, and I get to the bathroom on time. When I have diarrhea, the Medtronic device often sends the message to the sacral nerve that I need to get to the bathroom urgently, but I still don’t always make it there on time. Loose or liquid stool continues to cause me problems and embarrassment even with the Interstim implant. I do think I have a decrease in “accidents” with the device, but I still carry a bag of clothes or wear protective undergarments or just stay home when I am having flare ups of diarrhea.

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  • By IBS4ever

    Thank you so much for answering! I am thinking that my IBS/D is very similar to yours due to the same issues. The diarrhea that I have seems to start in the upper part of the colon and can be heard very well as it rushes thru. That is what I feel will be the issue, unless a nerve can be reached in that area. Are you going to leave yours in? Also, how was the pain when you had your device put in? I have a Triazolam .25 mg (halcion) pill that I have to take one hour before the procedure. I don’t think that it will put me under enough to take care of the pain. There is a Facebook group and some of the pics look bad enough to worry me about the pain level. And, I assume that there would be a different pain management with the regular device. Your description of your IBS/D sounds just like mine….sjc in Florida

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  • By jaeger91

    I will keep my device in until the battery dies. When it’s time to consider a new, upgraded device, I will see if that’s my best option or if some other options are showing promising results. I can say that I am happy with the results I am getting. I just have to remember that it improves my condition but can’t be expected to cure it. I wish it would, though.

    I had little to no pain when the device was implanted. There are two procedures. One to implant the wires in the tailbone to transmit signals (from an external device you wear on your waistband) to the sacral nerve. The second procedure is about a week later to implant the device IF you had good results. I was awake for the procedures, so I could indicate to the surgeon whether I felt the pulses and where. However, I remember absolutely nothing about the procedures because of whatever drugs were administered. I do remember being calm. It went quickly because I had a very skilled surgeon, and after both procedures I was surprised at how little pain there was.

    Not having a Facebook account, I haven’t seen the pictures you referred to. There were two tiny holes in my back over the tailbone and a small line along the upper buttock where the device was implanted. The surgeon called it a “pocket.” The scars aren’t super noticeable. I had no complications of any kind.

    Just find out whether you can expect good results when there’s liquid stool/diarrhea because, if not, you might decide this isn’t the best option for your particular situation. Good luck making your decision, IBS4ever.

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  • By IBS4ever

    I had my device put in this morning. Are you supposed to feel the impulses all the time? I started on my left side this morning and they set it at 4. I felt nothing other than when they put it in. I called the Rep and she had me to change it to the right side and I felt it at 2.5. At times I feel it, but not very often; am I supposed to feel it?. I have not had a BM today, but that is not unusual. I have a dull ache on my left side at times. I don’t know what I am doing yet. They did not give me a script for pain, so I hope that I do not have pain…???

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  • By jaeger91

    Wow, I didn’t realize you were already having the device implanted. The pulses get annoying, especially when they travel down into your toes, so I keep my settings low enough that I don’t feel them. It’s possibly going to take you weeks to months to find the settings that are most tolerable for you and that actually work. My doctor had to have the nurse reset my programmer’s channels to give me more options. That was probably a year after it was implanted. The lowest effective setting you can use will also give you longer battery life. Normal battery life is expected to be 5 years. At my setting, I was told I might get 10 years out of the device. My doctor said age can play a role in how high people need to set it, but I’m not sure why.

    I’m guessing you didn’t get a prescription for pain meds because there really shouldn’t be much pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers that help minimize swelling, like ibuprofen, are probably going to be helpful enough. If not, call your doctor.

    I hope you get good results with this, but be patient and experiment with your settings every week or few days unless your doctor gave you other instructions. It may take a while to find the right setting. Good luck!

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  • By IBS4ever

    Big day! I just had my first normal BM!! I don’t know if I leave my device on when using the bathroom or not…I am at the “baby step” level! I had my device put in yesterday morning and they had me set it on the left side at a 4. In the late afternoon, I was feeling nothing, so I called my contact person and she had me put it on the right side at a 2.5. This morning at 8:00, I had my first normal BM! I don’t know what will follow today, but I am hoping that I do not have urgent diarrhea, which is my usual pattern. I have researched myself like crazy about the program, but now that I have it, I have no idea what to do with it, so I guess I will just “play it by ear”! I teach piano, and that is my usual pattern in playing new music, so I should be used to that type of learning, so today, I will see. I have 2 students this morning, so I hope that I can get thru that part of my day. Thank you so much for posting and giving me info. I need a sheet that gives me a step by step guide of learning my Medtronic device, but I have not found that yet. The folder that I brought home does not have a “question and answer” section, so the posts here are very meaningful to me! Have a good day! I need to get my fingers on the piano….sc

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  • By jaeger91

    Yay! Got to celebrate each success.
    I leave my device on 24/7. The only time I turn it off is for medical procedures, as instructed in the manual I was given by my Medtronic rep the day of implantation. If you didn’t receive one, I believe you can download and print it from their website. I like the actual spiral-bound book, though, because it’s small enough to fit in my purse or jacket pocket. I was also given a small user’s guide that gives the step-by-step instructions you referred to. Consider calling your rep to request it, if you weren’t given one. Did they also give you a form to fill out and send in to receive a wallet card which is helpful in getting through airport security?

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  • By IBS4ever

    I have my trial device removed at 12:40, which is about 12 hours away. I pray that I can get the “read-deal Medtronic device” asap! The trial has been fantastic! For a week, it has given me a life that I have not had in over 40 years! I am so ready for the implantation of the permanent one. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks, Best of luck to all of you who are just finding out about this device. I can’t believe it took me this long to find out about it! I’m finding out that you have to be an advocate for yourself and pray that your doctor will bring up the topic of the Medtronic Interstim Program. ….sc in fl

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  • By veg954

    I have had two Medtronic devices implanted
    It might do well for others but not me.
    Guess everyone has different responses.
    They are both off and waiting for a date to have them removed,
    IBS D has me homebound since my condition is complicated by having short bowel syndrome
    Depression and anxiety are also part of my story.

    Am trying two prescription medications and we will see how these work.
    My quest continues.

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  • By DorisE

    veg954… seems that what suits many people diesnt work for me.. I am so hsppy to hear it worked fir some, I have never heard if it before. sirry to hear it dud not wirk for you.. at age 74 I woukd nit cinsuder it, plus I have lots if side effects to meds, so have to be xtra cautious. my quest also continues… and now I am trying hemp tincture! hasnt done anything to help yet, but am taking minimum dose.

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  • By IBS4ever

    I have had my Interstim implant for 2 months and it has given me back my life. I’ve had severe IBS/D since the birth of my first child, so pelvic floor issues along with IBS/D has owned my adult life for many years. I have noticed that it is difficult to find info on this topic. For those of you that suffer so much with IBS/D, it would be worth your time to research the procedure. It is not well known and for some reason, there is not tons of info out there. It has changed my life! I pray that you get some relief….sc

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