A prospective randomised double-blind controlled trial evaluating the effect of trans-sacral magnetic stimulation in women with overactive bladder Academic Article uri icon


  • Overactive bladder (OAB) is a prevalent condition with 16% of adults having one or more symptoms that significantly affect quality of life. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and neuromodulators have had success in treating OAB but are expensive, invasive, and sometimes cumbersome. We developed an alternative neuromodulatory technique that involves electromagnetic stimulation of the sacral nerve roots with a portable electromagnetic device to produce trans-sacral stimulation of the S3 and S4 sacral nerve roots. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of this device on OAB symptoms in women with a prospectively randomised double-blind controlled study. Following a power analysis, women with symptoms of OAB were prospectively recruited with ethical approval for randomisation to an active treatment (n = 33) or placebo group (n = 30) in a double-blind trial. The patient, at home, used the belt device daily for 20 min over 12 weeks. Outcome measures included a 3-day voiding diary, 1 h pad test, visual analogue score (VAS) for symptom impact (0-100%), Kings Health Questionnaire (KHQ) and Australian Quality of Life questionnaire (AQOL) at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks. Overall, no difference was found between groups for any of the research questions. Specifically, we were unable to demonstrate any difference between the active and sham device groups in frequency, nocturia, urinary leakage, or quality of life, nor was there any evidence of a placebo effect. The quality of the data was high with the number of missing observations (especially for disease specific KHQ and general AQOL) being few. This attempt to promote trans-sacral electromagnetic neuromodulation with a specially created device was ineffective on the symptoms of OAB.


  • O’ Reilly, BA
  • Fynes, M
  • Achtari, C
  • Hiscock, R
  • Thomas, E
  • Murray, C
  • Dwyer, PL

publication date

  • April 2008