WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Roughly one out of two women and about one in four men will develop incontinence.
One of those individuals is an Edwardsville, Luzerne County woman who has reclaimed her quality of life thanks to a tiny device.
73-year-old Anne Bergold has overcome her battle with incontinence thanks to an implantable and rechargeable device called the Axonics sacral neuromodulation system or SNM for short.
Before receiving it, she describes what sounds like a living nightmare.
“Whenever you went some place you had to take extra clothes with you or sometimes when you didn’t have the clothes you’d lose it,” said Bergold.
She missed out on family gatherings and even holding her grandchildren which could trigger an episode.
“And that was very embarassing and so we stayed home a lot from things that we could have went to,” said Bergold.
Even when she did go out, her battle with incontinence was always at the forefront of her mind.
“And every time I went into some place, I did. I checked out the bathrooms before I checked out who was there,” said Bergold.
Urologist Robert Fiorelli implanted the Axonics SNM device last December in Bergold’s lower back.
“It just basically prevents the urge. What it does is it sends out a constant impulse to what’s called the S3 nerve root that’s in the sacrum and that’s what controls voiding,” said Dr. Fiorelli.
Dr. Fiorelli says the device sort of deadens the nerve.
“It doesn’t make it so that she doesn’t feel anything. She gets a sensation but those little overactive bladder pulses she gets when it’s like oh my gosh I have to void, it just stops that. It gives her time to get to the bathroom,” said Dr. Fiorelli.
Bergold recharges her device about once a month by wearing a special charging belt. These past eight months have been so liberating, Bergold considers herself an ambassador of sorts for the Axonics SNM device.
“Because I know there’s a lot of women out there that have the same problem and I imagine there might be some men who have the same problem,” said Bergold.
Dr. Fiorelli says Bergold won’t need to replace her Axonics SNM device for at least 15 years. When Eyewitness News asked him if the device is covered by insurance, he told me no patients of his have been declined.