Whenever Susan Peterson left the house, she felt tethered by bladder leakage. It made it impossible to wander freely.
“It’s always racing to the bathroom, even ahead of time just when you start to feel the urge. If I’m away from home you’re always scoping out ‘where’s the nearest bathroom’?,” says Peterson.
At 53 years old, Peterson suffers from mixed incontinence, meaning she has both sudden urges and accidents.
“I probably on average, would change 8 pads a day,” says Peterson.
Millions of women in this country feel her pain.
“It is the muscles, especially laxity in the muscles. The pelvic floor muscles either get stretched out or weakened through time. And the bladder can certainly drop,” says Dr. Harold Tasi, urologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
Those pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. Strengthening them can make the difference between getting to the bathroom or not. For years women have been told to use Kegel exercises. But it’s easier said than done.
“Everyone has a different idea how to do them, how many times to do them. It’s very subjective. Now we’re trying to get women in a very regimented way of doing pelvic floor stimulation,” says Dr. Tsai.
This device is helping Peterson.
“Some women actually feel stimulation at a very low level,” says Dr. Tsai.
It’s an insertable, electrical muscle stimulator that trains the body to tighten the pelvic floor.
“It’s a medical device and women can do it in the comfort in their home which is the nice thing and it’s only 12 minutes a day. It causes stimulation in pelvic muscles and women are able to identify which muscles to contract,” says Dr. Tsai.
Women know they’re doing it right because they get feedback. The device helps them to track and monitor their progress.
“I test myself when I’m at home in case I don’t make it. I’ll see how much longer I can stay away from the bathroom instead of walking towards it,” says Peterson.
At a fraction of the cost of surgical procedures, it helps women get the strength they need.
“Even seconds makes a big difference,” says Dr. Tsai.
Peterson is now taking her newfound confidence...on the road.“I’m going on vacation tomorrow, we take off for the Dominican,” says Peterson.