Sacral nerve stimulation therapy does not just help patients urinate better, it also helps their quality of life and reduces depression, suggest the results of a study reported in Urology (July 2004). Nerve stimulation therapy is the implantation of a small device that sends electronic signals to the nerves connected to the bladder. The signals help stabilize the bladder and stop leakage, or incontinence.
The study, which involved 89 patients, used standard questionnaires to measure the impact that bladder problems had on the participants' quality of life. Some of the participants were treated with sacral nerve stimulation during a 6-month period. At the study's onset, depression was witnessed in 73% of the participants, including a large segment with moderate-to-severe depression. Also, nearly every aspect of quality of life in this group was lower, compared with the general population.
Three months into the study, depression and quality of life scores greatly improved among the nerve stimulation group, with benefits maintained at 6-month follow-up. The participants not treated with nerve stimulation therapy, however, showed a slight worsening in these scores that continued through both follow-up periods.