That’s quite a title, isn’t it?! Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) is a treatment for diarrhea-preominant IBS that you’ve probably never heard of, but a lady named Lorraine from the UK has been kind enough to talk to me about her experiences with PTNS. This is what she says…
“I am in my forties and I have had bowel, gastro and bladder difficulties for over 20 years, although it is fair to say the most long-term and troublesome problem has been the bowel. I have had two retropexy (correction of rectal prolapse) procedures and a bowel resection caused by two prolapses of the bowel (due to constipation weakness in the anal canal). How I developed this is inconclusive; I have not had children and I will probably not now due to years of struggling with the symptoms of incontinence, pain in the gut plus bowel malfunction.
I was told by my consultant to go away, live my life but never strain! That means taking laxatives, which can give me urgent diarrhea, so I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. It has taken a lot of adjustments and various implementations to achieve some level of normal life.
For many years, I have seen various consultants paid for privately and via the NHS. I was offered neurostimulation, but after several consultations and tests I decided that this would be too intrusive with not a high enough success rate. It would also only help one of my symptoms.
Finally I came across a treatment that was recommended for me, and that was PTNS. It starts with once a week treatments for 12 weeks and after that you are put on a maintenance level which will vary depending on your success and what is manageable (cost and need).
The treatment is not intrusive. They place an acupuncture needle just above your ankle. You then feel a tingling sensation and it is left to work for half an hour. You are left comfortably sitting on a chair (quite often I read the paper!) or you may chat to fellow patients.
I certainly think anyone with similar symptoms to mine should go see their GP who can then hopefully refer them on; however this is not widely available but it is out there and some hospitals are able to offer this treatment.
I found the treatment a great help with urgency and control and the amount of loo visits were reduced. This did not kick in until the sixth or seventh treatment. However, I am now on a monthly treatment schedule and I seem to be struggling again. I will be mentioning this to the team after my next treatment.
After the years of pain, misery, discomfort and not to mention embarrassment I have found this treatment a great help. It is not a total fix but it’s certainly a helpful tweak to unmix my bowel and thus giving me a less mixed-up mind on how I feel and cope with this condition. I hope this helps anyone who needs it.
By the way I exercise, run and travel. The doors are opening. I have rekindled my modelling career. Ironic to think I once modelled incontinence pants for a photographic job! I have also had cognitive therapy, tried my own hypnotherapy with CD guidance and had years of love and support from my partner and family. So never give up, there is hope on its way.”