How does electrical stimulation help urinary incontinence?

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Men and women can use either a portable electrical stimulation device at home (such as Liberty, by Utah Medical) or a larger system in a health professional's office. A small electrode, placed inside a woman's vagina or a man's or woman's rectum, delivers an electrical current that can spur your pelvic muscles to contract painlessly. You will feel as though you are doing a Kegel (an exercise for the pelvic floor muscles). The instruments can be set for different strengths of stimulation and various time intervals of contraction and relaxation. For stress incontinence (leaking when coughing or jumping), electrical stimulation is believed to work by strengthening the muscle. For overactive bladder (frequent urination and urges to urinate), a different frequency may help reset your nervous system's control over the bladder muscle. Medicare will cover pelvic muscle stimulation if it is prescribed by your physician and you can document that you have tried standard pelvic muscle exercises for four weeks and not gotten relief.

With electrical stimulation, electrodes are placed within the body through the rectum or vagina. These electrodes then send out stimulation that helps to strengthen the pelvic muscles. This treatment can be very effective but may take several months before treatment is complete.