Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation

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.”

4 Responses to Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation

  1. Lorraine has brought up a subject that hits very close to home for me. Women with IBS are at extremely high risk of developing pelvic organ prolapse, due to years of straining. Prolapse was once thought of as a disorder of old ladies, or women who have had lots of childbirth trauma – but it is epidemic in the younger population too, for a number of reasons. Surgeries often work for awhile but then need to be repeated – each time with less repair tissue to work with than before, so even less satisfactory outcomes. It is a slippery slope once you start down that path, you can’t undo surgery. Fecal incontinence can actually be a result of surgeries in some cases, whether or not your life is already complicated by IBS.

    I manage my prolapse naturally with posture, exercise, diet and lifestyle measures, and since I’ve been doing so, I’ve noticed far fewer problems from IBS flareups. Everything is connected! I’ve calmed down my whole system by getting a handle on my wayward organs. The changes one must make to keep super-mobile pelvic organs behaving, have a positive effect on digestion, and overall health.

  2. I have been battling the worst ibs since I turned 50. It gets worse as I age. My body rejects everything I desire except meat veggies gluten free bread. Small amount of fruit. Rice, corn . The stuff that s irritates my throat,bowels,stomach. Is sugar (that’s all kinds). I try to stay away from it. Or my brain malfunctions. I do a lot of errors at work. I don’t do sugar,coffee,dairy,gluten,small amount of vitamins. Fried food ,the oils irritate my system.( Olive oil is ok))Alcohol, here is resent examples of problems. I made rice Krispy treats with brown rice syrup. The sugar nailed me for 3 days. My brain was foggy and made lots of errors at work. I felt like i can’t handle every day stress. My nervous system is messed up. I feel shaky. I got a flew shot,the day after i almost passed out. My fingers in my hand were twitching. Dr wangen said eggs were hi on my list of allergies. The flew shot has eggs in it. My system can’t handle it. By staying on this diet I don’t run to the bathroom anymore. I still have some stomach issues. Small amont of food helped me alot. I have 8 more years to retire. Will I make it. Be positive and eat healthy. Good luck everyone.

  3. Michele Bijesse

    I have suffered w/IBS, basically, since I was born w/ inperforate anus (no rectum), as an infant. They did surgery on me at only a couple months old at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. This was followed, by visits there and this treatment called dialation. I am 51 yrs old now and have suffered w/this all of my life and it has really been hard to function. My school years were hell and dating scary! I have been blessed w/a wonderful husband & patient man. About 2 yrs ago, I came down w/ two stomach virus’s within 2 weeks time. I went to the gastro doctor and ended up having inflammation near the appendix and had to have a appendectomy and colon resection surgery. No cancer thank GOD!!! After a 7 day hospital stay I was discharged home, but not 48 hrs later I was in the ER in horrible pain, uncontrollable bowel movements & vomiting!!! 10 hrs in the ER, I was admitted back into the hospital w/ C-dif a bacterial infection. My gastro doctor told me to just take immodium, which is ridiculous since I have been doing that all of my life and has not cured me yet. It will help me get from point A to point B, My primary doctor just prescribed Bentyl, which kind of helps like immodium, but does not cure me. Since, I had that surgery as an infant, my spinchter muscle still can’t hold a solid bowel movement, even though those are few and far between. As for the c-dif, the spores from that infection lay dormant in my body and have too be careful of all antibiotics, cause they are one of the causes of this infection or someone’s dirty hands at the hospital. I know longer work, because sometimes I am in the bathroom at least 6 to 7 times in the am, hell, it doesn’t matter, time schedules stress me out. Sometimes it is so bad that I have to take Xanax, Bentyl & Imodium just to leave the house. Stress really makes it worse. I definitely have to watch my diet. Even, bread can make me sick. I have just come to accept that this is how it is going to be and try to live with it.

  4. I just ate 4 small pieces of choc. And had reaction while sleeping. It felt like sleep apnea. It was hard breathing laying down. Another incident I had small mint that was given to me after dinner. My throat got irritated ,i needed water.Sugar and especially chocolate are not

    good for ibs. The hard part is staying away from these temptations. I think I need to find alternatives for a sweet tooth temptations.