Biofeedback has been shown to be an effective treatment option for urinary incontinence. It can be used to help women learn to control and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that play an important role in bladder control. Weakness or dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles can lead to problems with bladder support and control.
Because you cannot see the pelvic floor muscles, you may find it difficult to locate them. You may be unsure if you are doing the pelvic muscle exercises correctly. This is where biofeedback comes in. Biofeedback therapy uses computer graphs and audible tones to show you the muscles you are exercising. It also allows the therapist to measure your muscle strength and individualize your exercise program. It does not do anything to your muscles but is used as a teaching tool to help you learn to control and strengthen the pelvic floor area.
Two small sensors are placed on either side of your anus, where the pelvic floor muscles are close to the skin. These can be placed under your loose clothing. Another set of sensors is placed across the abdomen. The sensors around the anus are connected to a computer screen and display a graph of your muscles as they are being exercised.
Since many women incorrectly use their stomach muscles when doing pelvic floor exercises, the sensors on the abdomen display a computerized graph to show you when you are using these muscles instead of those on the pelvic floor. The graphs also are helpful in measuring your growth in strength between biofeedback visits. The duration and frequency of these visits is individualized to each patient.