Kegel exercises—you’ve done the research and learned Kegels might be the answer for how to stop bladder leakage. You’ve tried making Kegels part of your daily routine, but sometimes you forget. And when you do remember, you’re not even sure you’re doing Kegels correctly. Despite your efforts, the leaks and soaked pads continue. When you aren’t seeing the benefits of Kegel exercises, it’s time to look into Kegel alternatives.
What are the benefits of Kegel exercises?
Kegels are often recommended by physicians as the first line of defense against stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Pelvic floor muscles can stretch or become slack due to childbirth or injury. As with any exercise, the goal of Kegel exercises is to strengthen Kegel muscles, specifically your pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder. By contracting your pelvic floor muscles on a consistent schedule, these muscles get stronger and more toned. And improved strength results in fewer leaks when you sneeze, exercise, or laugh, better sex, and less worry. Additionally, you will save money on pads, future treatments, and laundry!
While you can perform Kegels on your own, the challenge is the intensity and duration of each contraction. Because it’s an internal exercise, effectiveness is hard to measure, which leads to frustration when patients don’t see the benefits of Kegel exercises.
Although a lack of improvement may have you considering other options, surgery should always be a last resort. Not only is bladder incontinence surgery expensive and invasive, but an increasing number of women report negative side effects. Fortunately, there are nonsurgical incontinence treatments that are safer and less expensive, plus produce the same Kegel benefits.
QUIZ: How BAD is Your Incontinence?
5 Nonsurgical alternatives to Kegels for incontinence
1. Pelvic Floor Therapy for Incontinence
Physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor therapy can improve pelvic floor health and treat incontinence. These professionals provide advice on how to retrain your bladder and help you identify the correct way to do Kegels. Pelvic floor physical therapy often includes internal vaginal manipulation, as well as an invasive biofeedback probe (see below) to determine what’s happening with pelvic floor muscles. Not only are these treatments invasive and uncomfortable, but multiple office visits are time-consuming and costly. Not all insurance providers cover this type of PT, and if you have young children, childcare may be required. If pelvic floor physical therapy isn’t a good fit for you, try an at-home incontinence treatment for convenience.
Biofeedback probes are inserted vaginally and determine how much you’re squeezing your Kegel muscles. It is a beneficial alternative to guessing if you are doing Kegels correctly. These devices, often connected to apps, allow visualization of progress. However, they require numerous sessions and privacy, and because these probes are invasive, there’s a risk of infection.
Similar to biofeedback devices, Kegel exercise weights are inserted vaginally. The idea is to squeeze the cone-shaped weight to prevent it from dropping out, thereby exercising the pelvic floor muscles. Aside from the obvious invasive nature of these weights, there is a risk for infection if not sanitized properly.
4. Vaginal E-Stim
The good news is recent e-stim (electrical stimulation) devices, as with biofeedback devices, are designed and approved to be used at home. These Kegel exercise devices do the work for you. The elongated probes are inserted vaginally and send a mild electric current that stimulates the pelvic floor muscles to contract, giving you the benefits of Kegels. However, as with any internal device, vaginal e-stim products come with a risk of infection. In addition, they also require you to be lying down in a private setting during multiple treatments.
5. Surface E-Stim
Recently, the FDA created a new category for medical devices that are both noninvasive and treat incontinence. ELITONE is the first FDA-cleared device available in this new category sold without a prescription. ELITONE allows women to treat SUI from the comfort of their own homes. As with vaginal e-stim, surface e-stim devices exercise for you, achieving the benefits of Kegel exercises without the intense effort. However, you apply this device externally on the pubis and buttocks with a single GelPad. The discreet device is worn under your clothing, so it comfortably treats stress urinary incontinence while going about your daily routine.
Who Should Use ELITONE?
ELITONE is ideal for women who:
- Want to avoid intravaginal treatments.
- Can’t access physical therapy, or want to supplement it.
- Perform Kegel exercises incorrectly (25% of women are in this boat and require a Kegel alternative).
- Prefer the convenience and privacy of home treatment.
- Need postpartum pelvic floor care.
If you’re curious about what women are saying about this new treatment, read the ELITONE reviews.
See ELITONE’s Indications for Use for a complete list of contraindications, warnings, and precautions.
How Does ELITONE Work to Treat Incontinence?
As a conservative, noninvasive SUI treatment, ELITONE is external, comfortable, and easy to use. Applied to the outside of your body (similar to a maxi pad), ELITONE uses gentle pulses to stimulate and improve the health of your pelvic floor muscles. The device eliminates the guesswork and hassle of Kegel exercises, stimulating stronger muscle contractions at a consistent rate so you get better results. Essentially, you get all the benefits of Kegel exercises with minimal effort.
Treatment sessions with ELITONE last only 20 minutes, 4 to 5 times a week. Typically after 6 to 12 weeks, you only need the occasional maintenance treatment. Sessions take place anywhere at any time that’s convenient for you. Discreet and compact, ELITONE enables you to go about your everyday activities (taking a conference call, walking the dog, preparing dinner) during the sessions. You don’t even have to worry about setting a timer because ELITONE turns off automatically. And disposable GelPads mean treatment is sanitary.
Physical therapy appointments add up in time and expense, and invasive options risk infection and downtime. If you’re ready to explore the in-home, noninvasive solution for incontinence treatment that actually does Kegel exercises for you (longer and stronger than you’d do yourself), give ELITONE a try.