Incontinence, How Quickly Results Come from KWELL EM1 and Other EMS devices?
What is Incontinence?
Leaking of urine is a common symptom that affects one in three women. With increasing age, the prevalence of incontinence increases up to 75 percent of women above age 65 reporting urine leakage. Although this is a very common symptom it is not something you have to live with!
Once medical causes are ruled out, the first line of treatment is conservative management which includes lifestyle changes, pelvic floor physical therapy and/or pessaries.
If your incontinence is due to a weak pelvic floor and you are unable to contract your pelvic floor muscles on your own, or have a hard time staying consistent with your pelvic floor exercises. electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to the pelvic floor muscles could be a helpful tool for you! EMS for the pelvic floor muscles may be used to decrease urinary urgency, frequency and incontinence. Speak with your doctor before using EMS to ensure it is safe for you and to get specific guidance on how to use it.
How does EMS work?
Specifically for incontinence, EMS applied to the pelvic floor muscles aims to elicit a contraction and improve pelvic floor muscle function so that the pelvic floor muscles can be used when needed to close off the urethra and reduce leaking.
Clinically, I find it very useful for patients who have little to no active pelvic floor contraction and need extra help getting the neuromuscular connection started. After using EMS, I find my patients are able to strengthen their ability to do pelvic floor muscle contractions on their own without the help of electrical stimulation.
Image courtesy of Medicalopedia
Check out our previous blog post ("How does KWELL EM1 and Other Electrical Muscle Stimulant Devices Help?") for more details on how EMS can help treat a variety of conditions.
Is EMS effective? How quickly can you see results?
Some studies have shown that EMS works better than fake stimulation (placebo) to relieve incontinence, urinary urgency and frequency.
Other studies have shown that EMS is just as effective as pelvic floor contractions for treatment of stress urinary incontinence.
EMS is usually done by a physical therapist or doctor. These treatments usually last 12-20 minutes and are typically performed once or twice a week for 8-12 weeks in combination with pelvic floor muscle strengthening and bladder training.
Pulses can be used to contract the pelvic floor muscles to help treat stress incontinence or stimulate the nerves that affect the bladder to help control urge incontinence. You may experience improvements in your symptoms as soon as 4-6 weeks but most treatments will last up to 12 weeks. If this proves to be an effective treatment, you may purchase a home unit to continue treatments long term.
How the KWELL EM1 can help?
The KWELL EM1 is an FDA approved at home option that has an easy to insert probe with 6 preset programs to help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. It is user friendly and comes with everything you need including an easy to insert probe which can be inserted vaginally.
Wherever you are in your pelvic health journey, know you are not alone and you do not have to live with pelvic floor dysfunction. Be you, be well, and take back control over your bladder and feel like yourself again!
Onwude JL (2009). Stress incontinence, search date June 2008. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com
Goode PS, et al. (2011). Behavioral therapy with or without biofeedback and pelvic floor electrical stimulation for persistent post prostatectomy incontinence. JAMA, 305(2): 151–159.
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