Training the pelvic floor muscles is a highly effective way of countering urinary incontinence without any side-effects. The external urethral sphincter forms part of the pelvic floor muscles, a group of muscles which close the pelvis off at the bottom, stabilise it and keep the bladder and intestine sealed. Like other muscle groups, the muscles of the pelvic floor can be trained. Important conditions for successful training involve having a correct awareness of the pelvic floor muscles and performing regular exercises, preferably every day.
Biofeedback and electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor muscles are seen as a complement to classic pelvic floor training. One woman in five is not able to volitionally control her pelvic floor and first needs to learn this for the exercises to meet with success. A good starting point for this is biofeedback therapy, which involves making the muscle activity of the pelvic floor visible for the patient. The simplest method is visualization in an ultrasound scan of the urethra, which shows up the proper way to contract the muscles on the screen and how to correct this, if necessary. Furthermore, there are special devices available for biofeedback training, which use a probe in the vagina or the intestine to measure the activity of the pelvic floor muscles and show this on a chart. The device is suitable not only to train someone on the right exercises but also to check the success of the exercises. Some biofeedback-therapy devices can also deliver electrical impulses that train the pelvic floor muscles by stimulating the vagina. Depending on the underlying dysfunction, such stimulation treatment can be performed over several weeks, possibly using a borrowed device at home.