Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Millions of women with incontinence can now get a FREE phone-controlled pelvic floor exerciser

Millions of women with incontinence can now get a FREE phone-controlled pelvic floor exerciser
10 Aug
6:27

Millions of women battling incontinence can now control their symptoms through a smartphone-controlled device placed in their vagina.

The NHS has made the Elvie Trainer gadget available for free to all women struck down by the embarrassing condition. It usually costs £169.

Officials struck a deal with the femtech firm through the NHS Supply Chain, a body aimed at saving the cash-strapped health service money. 

Studies have shown the technology used in the Elvie Trainer can reduce symptoms of incontinence and prevent women needing surgery or further treatment – all of which would place further strain on an over-stretched NHS. 

The gadget, which connects to a smartphone app through Bluetooth, is a pebble-shaped gadget that is inserted in the same way as a tampon.

The app turns traditional Kegel exercises into ‘fun, five-minute workouts’, by allowing women to see the strength of their squeezing through a game on their phone, to encourage women to keep going in strengthening their pelvic floor. 

Charities believe up to seven million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinence – the unintentional passing of urine.

Elvie Trainer, which connects to a smartphone app through Bluetooth, is a pebble-shaped gadget that is inserted in the same way as a tampon

Elvie Trainer, which connects to a smartphone app through Bluetooth, is a pebble-shaped gadget that is inserted in the same way as a tampon

Elvie Trainer, which connects to a smartphone app through Bluetooth, is a pebble-shaped gadget that is inserted in the same way as a tampon

The gadget, which usually costs £169, visualises the woman’s pelvic floor contractions through the app and turns them into ‘fun, five-minute workouts’

The gadget, which usually costs £169, visualises the woman’s pelvic floor contractions through the app and turns them into ‘fun, five-minute workouts’

The gadget, which usually costs £169, visualises the woman’s pelvic floor contractions through the app and turns them into ‘fun, five-minute workouts’

The condition, common after childbirth, is estimated to cost the NHS in the region of £233 million each year in treatment costs.

On top of this are the many millions patients spend themselves, on products such as incontinence pads to cope with their symptoms.

Elvie claims the decision to make its gadget accessible to all will help reduce costs to the NHS, currently battling its worst financial crisis in a generation. 

Many women are referred to hospital if they have symptoms of urinary incontinence. In most cases, they are offered drugs or surgery.

First-line option 

But now, following the decision by NHS Supply Chain, healthcare professionals can dish out Elvie Trainer as a first-line option. The NHS-ran body’s goal is to help save the health service £22 billion in the next three years. 

The NHS already considers Kegel exercise, or pelvic floor exercise, to patients with incontinence. But many patients endure long waits after being referred.

Until now, biofeedback pelvic floor training devices had only been available through the NHS for at-home use on loan from the patient’s hospital.

HOW DOES THE ELVIE TRAINER WORK? 

Elvie Trainer, which connects to a smartphone app through Bluetooth, is a pebble-shaped gadget that is inserted in the same way as a tampon.

The app visualises the woman’s pelvic floor contractions and turns them into ‘fun, five-minute workouts’.

As the user ‘squeezes’ their pelvic floor muscles, a gem on their smartphone lifts in response to the strength of the contraction.

The Elvie Trainer even alerts users if they are exercising incorrectly by alerting women if they are pushing down, rather than lifting.

Its manufacturers claim noticeable results within four weeks.

Studies have shown the biofeedback used in the device can improve symptoms of incontinence and reduce rates of surgery.

Elvie Trainer claims research has found the mechanism helps to save the equivalent of £424 per patient in treatment costs.

Eighty per cent of women battling incontinence reported improvements after using the gadget, according to a trial presented at a scientific conference last year.

It is currently unsure how much the NHS will pay Elvie – but clinicians will order the gadgets on a one by one basis for patients, it is believed. 

As the user ‘squeezes’ their pelvic floor muscles, a gem on their smartphone lifts in response to the strength of the contraction. 

The Elvie Trainer even alerts users if they are exercising incorrectly by alerting women if they are pushing down, rather than lifting.

Its manufacturers claim noticeable results within four weeks.

What does the science say? 

Studies have shown the biofeedback used in the device can improve symptoms of incontinence and reduce rates of surgery.

Elvie Trainer claims research has found the mechanism helps to save the equivalent of £424 per patient in treatment costs.

Eighty per cent of women battling incontinence reported improvements after using the gadget, according to a trial presented at a scientific conference last year.

Gynaecologists say symptoms of stress urinary incontinence, the most common form, can be reduced through pelvic floor muscle training.

However, a third of women struggle to exercise their pelvic floor correctly, even with written or verbal instructions. 

How is this better than traditional Kegel exercises? 

Studies have suggested 30 per cent of women can’t exercise their pelvic floor muscles correctly – even with clear instructions.

As a result, many give up, which can worsen symptoms of the condition and leave women seeking further help from the NHS.

But the Elvie Trainer alerts the woman when they are contracting their muscles incorrectly, helping them to strengthen their pelvic floor.

And by turning Kegel exercises into a fun game, the femtech firm claims more women are likely to keep going with the routine.   

A ‘big step forwards’ 

Tania Boler, co-founder and chief executive of Elvie, said the move was a ‘big step forwards’ in treating incontinence.

She said: ‘We need to be talking about issues like incontinence and prolapse more to ensure women receive the best care possible.’

Clare Pacey, a women’s health physiotherapy at King’s College Hospital in London, said she was ‘delighted’ that Elvie Trainer is now available on the NHS.

She added that the gadget makes pelvic floor rehabilitation ‘fun’, claiming that this is ‘essential’ for women to keep tackling their incontinence. 

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6047227/Millions-women-incontinence-FREE-phone-controlled-pelvic-floor-exerciser.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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