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Eur Urol. 1999;35(3):192-6.

Transcutaneous sacral neurostimulation for irritative voiding dysfunction.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Belfast City Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland/UK.



Patients with irritative voiding dysfunction are often unresponsive to standard clinical treatment. We evaluated the response of such individuals to transcutaneous electrical stimulation of the third sacral nerve.


32 patients with refractory irritative voiding dysfunction (31 female and 1 male; mean age 47 years) were recruited to the study. Ambulatory transcutaneous electrical neurostimulation was applied bilaterally to the third sacral dermatomes for 1 week. Symptoms of frequency, nocturia, urgency, and bladder pain were scored by each patient throughout and up to 6 months following treatment.


The mean daytime frequency was reduced from 11.3 to 7.96 (p = 0.01). Nocturia episodes were reduced from a mean of 2.6 to 1.8 (p = 0.01). Urgency and bladder pain mean symptom scores were reduced from 5.97 to 4.89 and from 1.48 to 0.64, respectively. After stopping therapy, symptoms returned to pretreatment levels within 2 weeks in 40% of the patients and within 6 months in 100%. Three patients who continued with neurostimulation remained satisfied with this treatment modality at 6 months.


Transcutaneous third sacral nerve stimulation may be an effective and noninvasive ambulatory technique for the treatment of patients with refractory irritative voiding dysfunction. Following an initial response, patients may successfully apply this treatment themselves to ensure long-term relief.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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