Do pelvic floor toners work?

Gadgets to help pelvic floor muscle retraining

Pelvic floor weakness and dysfunction is common in both men and women, but is much more prevalent in women due to the impact of pregnancy, childbirth and menopause on the pelvic floor.

Treatment is variable depending on your symptoms, diagnosis and preferences. It often includes pelvic floor exercises and relaxation techniques. You will be given advice and information about how to manage your symptoms. You may be given more general exercises, acupuncture, stretches, therapy, or the application of modalities, such as electrical stimulation. Your physiotherapist will explain what they find and what they think is most likely to support your treatment journey.

One of those modalities is electrical stimulation. This is a small, battery-operated pack that delivers a specially programmed electrical charge to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles. The charge is usually carried to the muscles by using a small probe inserted into the vagina (in women) or anus (in men or women).

There are also some gadgets that apply the charge externally, via specially designed shorts or skin pads. However, the research shows that they are not quite as effective as the devices used internally. They work well at improving pelvic floor muscle strength, but are the most effective when muscles are quite weak to start with, and are less effective if strength is already quite good.

Treatment can be carried out at home, and a session lasts for around twenty minutes. It is not painful, but might be a little uncomfortable, and the electrical charge gives you a prickling sensation that you are in control of at all times.

Treatment may be done daily or two to three times a week, depending on your symptoms.

It is always advisable to seek advice from a pelvic health physiotherapist before purchasing electrical stimulators to make sure it is the right treatment for you.

You can find a physiotherapist close to you in the Squeezy directory.

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