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As yet there has been no research to prove that PFMT can prevent prolapse but there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the close relationship between poor pelvic floor muscle function and the presence of POP (Pelvic organ prolapse).
There have been positive results from five randomised controlled trials (RCTs), including the recent POPPY trial in the UK (Hagen et al, 2009), providing good quality evidence for the effectiveness of PFMT in the treatment of prolapse (Piya-Anant et al, 2003; Hagen et al, 2009; Ghroubi et al, 2008; Braekken et al, 2009; Braekken et al, 2010). Women with POP tend to have thinner, lengthened pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) with reduced strength, reduced endurance, and an enlarged levator hiatus. Consequently, the pelvic organs sit in a relatively lower position and the muscles are less able to elevate them (Nygaard et al, 2008; Delancey et al, 2007). These problems can all be improved by PFMT (Braekken et al, 2010). An effective pelvic floor muscle contraction will create an upwards and forward lift and will also narrow the levator hiatus (Thompson & O’Sullivan, 2003; Braekken et al, 2008). Training the muscles will increase strength and endurance and bring about positive changes to the percentage of collagen and muscle fibres making up the internal architecture of the muscles (Balmforth et al, 2004). Research has shown that after training, the pelvic organs are elevated and the levator hiatus is narrowed, even when the muscles are in their resting position, giving increased support for the organs (Braekken et al, 2010). Improvement of the prolapse itself has been demonstrated by reversal of POP-Q stage as well as reduced bladder and bowel symptoms (Stupp et al, 2009).
The probe connections are stainless steel and should not be affected by a washing and rinsing with water. But as the probe is hollow, and not completely airtight, it should not be immersed in water for cleaning.
The connectors on the lead wire are copper which will corrode if urine is left on for a prolonged period. If pee gets on the wires, simply clean and dry as usual at the end of treatment. However, be sure to disconnect the short lead wire from the probe, ensure internal connectors are clean, and dry thoroughly before re-connecting.
Can I use a PFES if I have been diagnosed or treated for cervical cancer?
No - research has been published showing the effect of electric current on malignant or pre-cancerous cells, so we cannot quantify the risk. Current professional advice (see www.electrotherapy.org) is that electrotherapy should not be used through malignant tissue.
There are 2 main reasons why you may be getting the ‘LEADS’ message on your control unit:
Check lead and probe connection:
Dampen your hand with water and a little table salt. Squeeze the probe firmly in your hand and carefully increase the strength until you can feel something or LEADS alarm shows.
a) If you CAN'T feel anything, either the lead or the unit is faulty
b) If you CAN feel something on your hand, and the LEADS alarm does NOT show, then the unit and lead are in working order.
The electrical conductivity of the vagina varies widely. The LEAD detection circuit in the product is there as a safety feature to ensure any rapid changes in connection cannot cause very uncomfortable, rapid changes in stimulation.
Unfortunately this means that some users, who fall outside of the general range, may experience unwanted LEADS alarms.
If you experience unwanted LEADS alarm, please try:
If you have tried the test above and DO have sensation when the probe is in your hand, then you may have reduced sensitivity due to previously damaged or desensitized pudendal nerves (this can happen in childbirth or as a result of some surgical procedures). Please contact your GP for advice.
The Liberty Vaginal probe should be inserted with the rim facing upwards and downwards, with the metal electrode plates to left and right (outwards towards your thighs).
If you orientate the probe incorrectly, you may only have sensation on one side (however this can also happen if you suffered nerve damage during birth).
Insert until the rim at the base of the electrode is sited between the labia. It's fairly difficult to get this wrong. If you don't insert it far enough, you will probably feel that the stimulation is in the wrong place.
Why do I only feel sensation on one side?
The current flows from one side of the probe to other, so it is not possible to have one side “not working”.
However, the strength of the sensation depends on how close to the nerve the current flows and in which direction it flows relative to the nerve.
You can try slightly adjusting the position of the probe, or exchanging the connection of the wires in the probe.