Incontinence is a big problem, and surprisingly common! Between three and six million people in the UK suffer from some form of bladder weakness . However, the embarrassment factor means that people wait a long time to get help – an average of 4.2 years for men after symptoms have started and 6.5 years for women . Delaying getting help causes serious problems as incontinence that’s caused by pelvic floor weakness will get worse the longer you ignore it. It’s also not a fun way to live – worrying about leaks and accidents will have a horrible effect on your life and confidence!
Research suggests that almost 80% of people prescribed drugs for incontinence discontinue their use in the first year with up to 17% of these being due to adverse side effects. Most incontinence is caused by weakness of the pelvic floor muscles – using a Kegel8 is the perfect way to cure this in only 12 weeks. You can do this using a vaginal or anal probe, but when you’re treating incontinence there are two other options that have been clinically proven to work. Your Kegel8 comes with electrode pads that can be used for tibial nerve stimulation and sacral nerve stimulation. Read on for details on how these can help you cure your symptoms.
Tibial Nerve Stimulation
The tibial nerve runs all the way down your leg, ending at your ankle. It’s responsible for a lot of your body’s motor functions, including those of your bladder, bowel and pelvic floor. This means that by using tibial nerve stimulation we can ‘wake up’ these areas, returning proper function and curing incontinence. Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS) uses tiny, painless electrical currents from your Kegel8 unit, passing them up through the skin of your ankle via the electrode pads.
NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) have recommended PTNS as a treatment for overactive bladder since 2010. This goes to show just how effective this treatment is at treating and curing incontinence. PTNS is sometimes administered by implanting a fine needle electrode under the skin. Kegel8 allows you to do this externally at home with the same results!
Sacral Nerve Stimulation
Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) is similar to PTNS, but on your lower back instead of your ankle. The sacral nerves are a group of 31 nerves that reach from your lower back to your rectum, bladder and sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. They help your body to control when your bladder and bowels open and close.
SNS uses electrode pads to send electrical currents along the sacral nerve, imitating the signal that controls when you go to the toilet. It will cause contractions in your pelvic floor muscles, strengthening them and helping them to have better control over your pelvic organs. This will alleviate and cure both urinary and faecal incontinence. Sacral nerve stimulation can also be used to relieve symptoms of constipation (which affects between 3-15% of the population) and urinary retention (inability to completely empty the bladder).
TNS and SNS Surgery
Both TNS and SNS are sometimes administered by implanting electrodes under the skin. This surgical procedure has a long term success rate of between 50-90%. However, a lot of people don’t like the idea of surgery, particularly when it involves having something permanently implanted. All surgical procedures, regardless of how minor, carry some degree of risk. With Percutaneous (implanted through the skin) SNS and TNS, adverse reactions can include bleeding, swelling, pain or infection. However, what if we told you that you can apply this type of treatment yourself? Kegel8 allows you to do this in the comfort of your own home, with none of the risks mentioned above!
Which to choose – TNS or SNS?
Sacral or tibial nerve stimulation using external electrode pads are two of the most effective treatments for bladder and bowel weakness. So, if you want to want to take back control and start enjoying life again, SNS or TNS could be the answer. But which to choose?
A study carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University revealed that 48-68% of patients treated via transcutaneous (external stimulation) tibial nerve stimulation saw a marked improvement or cure of their bladder irregularities. The study suggests that transcutaneous TNS has a positive impact and an overall reduction in bladder weakness symptoms, supporting its use as a first line intervention.
If you suffer from faecal incontinence, then sacral nerve stimulation may be a better choice. SNS was introduced as a treatment for FI in 1995 in a study carried out by GUT (an international peer-reviewed journal for researchers in gastroenterology). It was reported that 20% of the group tested achieved complete continence. All others saw a significant reduction in the frequency of faecal incontinence episodes and an improvement in the ability to defer defecation .
Kegel8 - a non-invasive treatment for bladder and bowel incontinence
The Kegel8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toner and the Kegel8 V For Men Pelvic Toner come complete with four electrode pads. These electrode pads can be used for highly effective tibial or sacral nerve stimulation. These are particularly effective when used with Programme 9 on the Kegel8 Ultra 20 or Programme 6 on the Kegel8 V For Men; these programmes are specifically designed to treat overactive bladder. Our devices are developed alongside leading clinicians and are proven to deliver optimum results. By using once or twice daily, you will see incredible results within a matter of weeks.
- Bowel Control, (2014). Facts and Statistics. [online] Available at: http://www.bowel-control.co.uk/definition/constipation/index.htm [Accessed 12 May. 2014].