Incontinence Treatment | Electrical Stimulation

Updated: Nov 18

The partial or complete loss of bladder control (also known as urinary incontinence) is a more common occurrence in both men and women than you may expect. Most women will experience urinary incontinence during pregnancy and after childbirth. A few of the causes of urinary incontinence include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth

  • Menopause

  • Smoking

  • Obesity

  • Medical conditions and medications

  • Hysterectomy

  • Urinary tract infections (UTI)

There are many treatment options for this embarrassing annoyance, one of which is electrical stimulation. In fact, electrical stimulation for urinary incontinence is a very common and effective treatment. The treatment sends mild electronic currents to the muscles in the pelvic floor or the nerves that supply them, to contract and strengthen those involved in urination.


Electrical Stimulation Therapy Options


Electrical stimulation therapy options are available to qualifying candidates. These options can be either surgical or non-surgical, depending on the severity of the urinary incontinence. Typically, an individual should not seek out the surgical option unless other interventions have failed. There are two basic types of electrical stimulation for urinary incontinence, described below:


Vaginal Stimulation


An electrode is placed near the vagina or anal region to stimulate the muscles, not unlike pelvic floor exercises (Kegels). The stimulation strengthens the muscles through contraction and will work the correct muscles each and every time.


No matter which type of urinary incontinence you may be experiencing, vaginal or anal stimulation is the preferred first option when looking into the use of an electrical stimulator. Despite what you may first think, it’s actually quite non-invasive, and treatments can be done at home with the right incontinence treatment stimulator (ITS).


Bladder Stimulation (surgical option)


A bladder stimulator for urinary retention is also a possibility. The electrodes are placed under the skin and connected to a stimulator outside the body. This method is for patients suffering from severe urge incontinence that have exhausted other treatments.


The following are the 2 types of procedures used in bladder stimulation: Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) and sacral nerve stimulation (SNS). Uses for Electrical Stimulation

Uses for electrical stimulation may include:

  • An overactive bladder

  • Stress incontinence (stress or pressure placed on the bladder)

  • Urge incontinence (inability to control urine leakage when holding it for the restroom)

  • Mixed incontinence (the combination of both stress and urge incontinence)

Setting Expectations


Electrical stimulation for urinary incontinence has been shown to work better than Kegel exercises to relieve symptoms.


Vaginal or anal electrical stimulation has been used most often in women with all three types—stress, urge, and mixed—to reduce urinary incontinence. Although far less common, urinary incontinence in men is also successfully treated by electrical stimulation.


Symptoms of incontinence can leave people feeling socially isolated, sexually inhibited, or afraid to make social or travel plans. It can also affect careers and personal relationships.

There are other treatments you can attempt if electrical stimulation doesn't work for you. The most appropriate option will depend on the cause of your symptoms.


The first option should be more conservative treatments such as Kegel exercises and lifestyle changes. If these fail, medication therapy is your second-line treatment. Each individual responds differently to medication, but the option is there for those who are interested in pursuing it. Talk to your doctor about all of the possible options at your disposal and you are sure to find the answer that’s right for you.


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