In a nutshell
This study looked at the use of electrical stimulation (ES) for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) in women. It found that ES improved incontinence-related quality of life over in the short-term.
SUI is a condition in which urine leaks out involuntarily when increased pressure is applied to the bladder. This can happen when a person sneezes, coughs, or lifts weights. It is a common problem for women due to the weakening of the pelvic muscles, usually caused by old age or childbirth. SUI can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life.
Treatment often involves strengthening the pelvic muscles through special exercises. Electrical stimulation (ES) can also be used to stimulate and strengthen the muscles. However, it is not clear how effective ES is for women with SUI.
Methods & findings
This study looked at 9 studies involving a total of 982 patients. 520 patients received ES. 462 patients received no treatment or a fake ES treatment. Symptoms of SUI and quality of life were assessed using questionnaires before treatment, after short-term treatment (3 months), and after long-term treatment (3-7.5 months).
After 3 months of treatment, ES was associated with a significantly higher quality of life-related to SUI and reduced urine leakage compared to no treatment or sham treatment. Patients using ES treatment rated their symptoms of urinary leakage lower, by an average of 6.15 points than the other group. However, ES did not reduce the number of SUI episodes.
After 3-7.5 months of treatment, ES treatment was associated with a reduced frequency of incontinence episodes and improved quality of life.
With both short and long-term use, ES was associated with an overall improvement in symptoms of stress incontinence. Patients using ES scored an average of 09 -1.14 points higher than the other group for the overall incontinence-related quality of life.
The bottom line
This study showed that over a period of 3-7.5 months, ES improves the incontinence-related quality of life in women with SUI.
The fine print
Some of the studies this study is based on are of variable quality. More high-quality studies are needed to investigate this further.
Published By :
International urogynecology journal
Aug 17, 2021
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