Treatment Options

Pelvic Floor Stimulation

Possible Harm/No Value

Pelvic floor stimulation, is a method of nonsurgical treatment for fecal and/or stress incontinence by electrically stimulating the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles stretch from the pelvic bone to the tailbone.

Pelvic floor stimulation treatment can be delivered in two methods. These methods include:

  • Electrical stimulation, which involves the internal use of a tampon-type probe which is wired to a device that controls the electrical impulses and is placed in the vagina or rectum. Individuals undergo electrical pelvic floor stimulation in a doctor's office, in a physical therapy facility, or they may have initial training in a doctor’s office followed by home treatment with a rented or purchased pelvic floor stimulator.
  • Electro-magnetic stimulation does not require an internal probe. During the treatment individuals sit fully clothed in a specially designed chair. The seat of this chair produces highly focused pulsed magnetic fields, which stimulates the pudendal nerve to improve the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles contract and relax with each magnetic pulse. This acts as an automatic Kegel exercise machine. Electromagnetic pelvic floor stimulation is typically administered in the doctor’s office. A treatment session takes less than 30 minutes and is typically done twice a week for six to eight weeks.

Things to Consider

  • Stress urinary incontinence is the most common type of urinary incontinence in woman
  • Urinary incontinence affects more than 13 million Americans Fecal incontinence affects more than 5.5 million Americans

Results

Possible Harm/No Value

Will I live longer if I have the pelvic floor stimulation?

Scientific evidence is not available to indicate that pelvic floor stimulation will lengthen your life.

Will pelvic floor stimulation improve my quality of life?

There is no long-term scientific evidence available to show whether or not pelvic floor stimulation will improve your quality of life but practicing the alternative treatments could improve the quality of your life.

Does pelvic floor stimulation make my symptoms better?

No controlled studies were found in published literature that pelvic floor stimulation increased the effectiveness of reduced incontinence.

Safety

Possible Harm/No Value

Published literature addressing the safety of this technology is not available.

Comparison

Intermediate Value

Alternative Treatments for Urinary Incontinence:

  • Avoidance of smoking to reduce coughing and bladder irritation
  • Avoidance of alcohol and caffeinated beverages, particularly coffee, which can overstimulate your bladder
  • Avoidance of foods and drinks that may irritate your bladder like spicy foods, carbonated beverages, citrus fruits and juices
  • Get regular exercise
  • Practice pelvic muscle training exercises, such as Kegel exercises

Alternative Treatments for Fecal Incontinence:

  • Regulate your bowels to avoid constipation
  • Drink eight, 8 ounce glasses (two quarts) of water daily
  • Increase fiber in your diet
  • Get regular exercise
  • Practice pelvic muscle training exercises, such as Kegel exercises

Cost

Possible Harm/No Value

The list price for the pelvic floor electrical stimulators and the electro-magnetic stimulators vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The duration of the treatment is dependent on the specific needs of the individual.

The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.

Sources

The following are off-site links off-site link :

Interstitial Cystitis Association. (2012, July). Pelvic floor dysfunction. Retrieved March 25, 2014 from http://www.ichelp.org/page.aspx?pid=361.

Mayo Clinic. (2012, September). Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women. Retrieved March 25, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/womens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises/art-20045283.

U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. (2012, December). Fecal incontinence. Retrieved March 25, 2014 from http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddISeases/pubs/fecalincontinence/.

Next Review Date

3/27/2015

This document has been classified as public information.

Table of Findings

results:  possible harm / no value

safety:  possible harm / no value

comparison:  intermediate value

cost: possible harm / no value


total: possible harm / no value

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Page modified:March 31, 2014