Biofeedback: The Nonsurgical Treatment for Urinary Incontinence You Haven't Heard About

If you’re experiencing the frustration and embarrassment of urinary incontinence, you’ve probably heard about performing Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and help prevent unexpected urine leakage.

And you’re certainly not alone if you have trouble isolating these muscles or are uncertain about whether you’re doing the moves correctly. That may be why many women eventually skip the exercises and live with their symptoms or head for surgery to control their urinary incontinence.

Although he’s a well-respected and talented surgeon who can treat incontinence with various operative procedures, Dr. Khashayar Shakiba often recommends you give Kegel exercises a try first. He uses biofeedback to help ensure you’re doing the exercises correctly and gaining all the benefits of this simple, but often very effective, nonsurgical treatment for urinary incontinence.

Why strengthen pelvic floor muscles to treat urinary incontinence?

Pelvic floor muscles support your uterus, urinary bladder, small intestine, and rectum. They form a sort of sling or hammock that holds these organs in place. Pregnancy, childbirth, aging, frequent constipation, excessive coughing, and weight gain can stretch and weaken pelvic floor muscles.

When these muscles lose strength, their supportive function decreases. This decline may cause your pelvic organs to drop (prolapse) from their normal position. Prolapse can lead to difficulty controlling your bladder and cause urinary incontinence, among other issues.

Like your abs, biceps, and other muscle groups, pelvic floor muscles respond positively to strength training. When performed correctly, Kegel exercises help restore the fitness your muscles need to support your pelvic organs. This can decrease, and sometimes even eliminate, urinary incontinence.   

How does biofeedback help with my urinary incontinence?

Any strength training routine requires you to isolate and engage the targeted muscles to be effective. Sit-ups, for instance, won’t tone your abdomen if you’re using your shoulder or back muscles rather than your abs to lift your upper body off the floor. Pelvic floor muscles are especially difficult for many women to isolate and engage.

Proven very effective in numerous research studies, biofeedback gives you visual clues that help you sense whether you’re moving the right muscles correctly as you perform Kegel exercises. You might think of biofeedback as a type of personal trainer for your pelvic muscles workout.

What is a biofeedback session for urinary incontinence like?

Biofeedback sessions for urinary incontinence last about 30 minutes and are absolutely painless. And because Kegel exercises require very subtle movements, you won’t have to worry about building up a sweat during your workout.

After giving you instructions regarding how to perform Kegel exercises, we place sensors in various areas of the vaginal region to monitor your muscle movements.

The information gathered by the sensors is fed back to a computer, which translates the data into images on a monitor. The monitor displays helpful graphs and provides audio tones that correspond with your movements and the muscles you’re engaging.

This, along with the verbal feedback we provide during a session, helps you identify whether you’re working the correct muscles and what that feels like. Many women, for instance, mistakenly use abdominal muscles rather than pelvic floor muscles when performing Kegel exercises. Biofeedback can help you feel the difference.

It normally takes about four sessions before you can confidently perform Kegel exercises without biofeedback assistance. After that, however, you can repeat these movements several times a day on your own to help strengthen your pelvic floor region. Like any exercise routine, you must continue the exercises to reap the benefits.   

If you’d like to know more about biofeedback as part of a nonsurgical treatment strategy for urinary incontinence, schedule an appointment today at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey. Just call our office or click the “request appointment” button.