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Sacral Nerve Stimulation


Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) is treatment for urinary retention without blockage, overactive bladder symptoms, and fecal incontinence. Overactive bladder symptoms include urinary urge incontinence and urinary frequency. Electrical impulses are sent directly to the sacral nerves to improve or restore bladder or bowel function. Sacral nerves are in your lower back. They control your anus, rectum, and bladder functioning. SNS is done when medicine and behavior therapy are not effective.


Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have pain at the stimulator site.
  • You have a fever and the stimulator site is red and warm to the touch.
  • Your symptoms return or get worse.
  • You have new pain or new symptoms with stimulation.
  • You feel like you are being shocked with the stimulator on or off.


  • Tell all of your healthcare providers that you have an implanted sacral nerve stimulation device.
  • Keep the card that identifies you have an implanted stimulator, with you at all times.
  • Keep the programming device with you at all times.
  • Limit activity such as stretching and lifting. Ask your healthcare provider how long you need to limit activity.
  • Write down your symptoms. Ask your healthcare provider how to complete the diary of symptoms.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need regular visits to monitor your symptoms. Your healthcare provider will also need to check the programming of your device. Bring your diary with symptoms. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them at your visit.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.