According to a report, electromagnetic stimulation of the pelvic floor improves stress urinary incontinence in women who are unable to generate adequate pelvic floor muscle contractions.
This therapy may be of use in the very patients who do poorly with pelvic floor muscle training techniques, but maintenance therapy will probably be necessary, told Dr. Peter J. Gilling from Tauranga Hospital, New Zealand.
Dr. Gilling and team conducted a study with 70 women with urodynamically confirmed stress urinary incontinence to compared electromagnetic stimulation of the pelvic floor (three sessions weekly for 6 weeks) with low-intensity pelvic floor muscle training versus sham treatment.
The electromagnetic stimulation group women showed improvements at 8 weeks on the 20-minute pad test, but the authors reported that the number of pads used per day, pelvic floor muscle strength, 24-hour pad test, and quality of life scores had no significant differences between electromagnetic stimulation and sham treatment groups for changes in any outcome measure after 6 weeks or after 8 weeks.
On contrary, electromagnetic stimulation among women with poor initial pelvic floor muscle contraction was associated with statistically significant improvements in 20-minute pad test urinary leakage compared with sham treatment.
Electromagnetic stimulation is no more effective overall than sham treatment for women presenting with stress urinary incontinence, the investigators conclude. There may be a subgroup of women, they suggest, with poor voluntary control of their pelvic floor musculature who could benefit from this treatment.
Magnetic stimulation does not replace pelvic floor muscle training, but is an adjunct to it and can be used to help women isolate these muscles and do exercises more effectively, Dr. Gilling said.
Dr. Gilling added, I believe the effect is short-lived, and, therefore, we are planning to focus on the women with poor pelvic floors who appear to benefit most rather than long-term effects. We are also using it post-prostatectomy.