Young Woman With Severely Overactive Bladder Finds Relief

Lexi Kronenberg

December 21, 2022

About two years ago, Lexi Kronenberg, 27, from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, developed an urgent and frequent need to urinate around the start of her menstrual cycle. This was frustrating enough, but then after a few months, it started happening every day.

"Every time I sat down, it felt like I had to use the bathroom. I would go to the bathroom, and barely any urine would come out. I would go back to sit down, and it would feel like the same thing all over again," says Lexi.

The continual and persistent urge to urinate disrupted her life and affected her busy working day as the office assistant at her family’s real estate management company.

“I could only really sit for 3–5 minutes. And when you work 9–5, it makes your day very long,” she says.

Finding the Right Treatment

After an ultrasound and an all-clear from her gynecologist, Lexi went to a urologist who put her on medications to manage her symptoms—but with limited success. She then turned to Debra Fromer, M.D., chief of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Dr. Fromer first looked at how Lexi’s lower urinary tract was storing and releasing urine. She discovered that Lexi was experiencing an overactive bladder and pelvic floor spasms. Lexi and Dr. Fromer explored treatment options, but unfortunately, despite trying pelvic floor therapy and various medications, Lexi’s symptoms continued to worsen.

“Lexi was experiencing severe urgency, going to the bathroom very frequently and was very uncomfortable in all positions,” says Dr. Fromer. “It was at this point that we started talking about sacral neuromodulation.”

Sacral neuromodulation (SNM) treats chronic dysfunction of the urinary, bowel and pelvic floor by helping the brain and the nerves communicate. Here’s how it works:

  • A small device, known as a neurotransmitter, is placed under the skin.
  • The device transmits a mild electrical current to stimulate the sacral nerves, which control a person’s bladder, bowel and pelvic floor.

Back to Normal

Lexi tried the technology for five days to see if it would be a good solution for her. “We placed little skinny wires alongside the nerve route to the bladder, and we taped it to the skin and connected those wires to an external pacemaker that she wore on a belt,” says Dr. Fromer.

The change was immediate. “It was like someone turned on the ‘normal’ button,” says Lexi. “It was the best I’d felt in two years.” Instead of running to the bathroom every few minutes, Lexi could now wait about three hours between visits.

After these impressive results, Lexi’s decision to make the SNM a permanent solution was easy. In June 2022, Dr. Fromer implanted the permanent device in a short outpatient procedure requiring a small amount of sedation.

Lexi’s SNM device is non-rechargeable with a lifespan of 10–15 years, after which it will need to be replaced in a simple procedure. A handheld controller allows her to adjust the level of stimulation, but other than a few times early on when she needed to change its strength, it’s been a set-it-and-forget-it experience that has allowed her to get back to her normal life.

“I don't even know the device is there,” says Lexi. “It is life-changing with how well it works.”

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
 

 
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