New Frontiers in Women's Health: FemTech Devices for Bladder Leakage in Women

Many women are starting to choose FemTech devices to help them track their pelvic floor exercises or to do the entire exercise for them.

Bladder leakage, known as urinary incontinence, is common in women.

Everybody knows someone who laughs, sneezes, or coughs and pees themselves. Or that sudden urge to pee when you hear water or put the key in the door.

Just because something is common, does not mean it is normal!

If you suffer with embarrassing bladder control problems, and you want to learn how to take back control of your bladder and life, keep reading.

For perimenopause and menopause women,

approximately 1 out every 3 women experiences urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence is an unexpected, unwanted loss of bladder control.

Sometimes, it can be the need to urinate more frequently. It can range from light leaking to severe leaking.

Here are some of the more common types of urinary incontinence in women:

Stress incontinence: Bladder leakage when you put pressure on your bladder by doing activities like laughing, sneezing, coughing, lifting something up, etc.

Urge incontinence: All of a sudden you have a need to go to the bathroom and then BOOM: bladder leakage. Urge incontinence could also be the need to go to the bathroom frequently.

Overflow incontinence: You have constant bladder leakage happening because your bladder does not empty completely when you go to the bathroom.

Mixed incontinence: A mix of one or more types of urinary incontinence.

In part, bladder control loss could be due to the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles.

Toning those muscles back up to their strength is very important for regaining bladder control.

What are the pelvic floor muscles?

The pelvic floor muscles provide support to a woman's bladder, uterus and bowel, and are really important when it comes to maintaining bladder and bowel control, especially as we age.

And the pelvic floor muscles also work with your deep abdominal and back muscles, and diaphragm, to stabilize and support your spine.

The pelvic floor is a 'sling' of muscles, like a small muscle hammock that runs between the pubic bone in the front, and the tailbone at the back, and from side to side in your pelvis.

When that hammock gets weak or damaged, it starts to sag, and an organ or organs inside your pelvis can slip from its normal position. This is called pelvic organ prolapse, and it can cause problems like bladder leaks.

Fun fact: Did you know the clitoris runs along the female pelvic floor?

Strong pelvic floor muscles give you control over your bladder and bowels, and are responsible for a stronger response to orgasm.

Source:Peter Lamb

Common treatments for women with bladder leaks.


Pelvic floor exercises are considered a first-line treatment option, meaning this is what is often suggested to try first for your bladder control problems.

Pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels keep your pelvic floor muscles toned to prevent issues like bladder leakage.

You want to make sure you are able to clench (recruit) your pelvic floor muscles and relax them on command.

Key Reminder: Make sure not to squeeze other muscles while doing your Kegel exercises (like your abs, butt, or thighs). And avoid holding your breath.

If you wish to do Kegels on your own, with an empty bladder, slowly clench your pelvic floor muscles. Think about how you try not to pass gas in a crowded elevator.

To begin with, hold to the count of five, then relax the muscles for a count of five (these exercises are known as slow pull-ups or long squeezes).

Try to do 5 reps on your first day. As you gain confidence from your new routine, aim for holding 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.

Then do the same exercise quickly and immediately let go again (these exercises are known as fast pull-ups or short squeezes).

A kegel workout plan would be to perform 1 set of 10 short contractions and 1 set of 10 long contractions 2 or 3 times per day.

In order for Kegels to work you have to make sure that you're doing them correctly.

However, over 50% of women cannot do a proper Kegel exercise correctly. This is because the pelvic floor muscles are difficult to isolate.


Physical therapy is a great option because you are with a licensed healthcare professional with extensive education and training telling you how to do the pelvic floor exercises correctly. Plus they will give you immediate feedback and encouragement.

Physical therapists often use biofeedback or NMES (neuromuscular electro stimulation) devices to help patients do the exercises effectively.

But not everyone can make it make it to their weekly pelvic floor physical therapy appointments. Or you forget how to do the pelvic floor exercises when you get home.


Biofeedback for pelvic floor muscles is excellent if you have pelvic floor muscle tone. It's a painless treatment that uses sensors and a computer screen.

Your pelvic floor therapist may either attach electrodes (sticky patches) or insert a sensor into your vagina to send signals to a display monitor so you, and your pelvic floor therapist, can see how well you are able to perform the pelvic floor exercises.

While performing pelvic floor workouts with biofeedback, you must give it your full attention to be effective.

Focusing on the exercise, the correct muscles, and timing is important to regain bladder control with biofeedback.

Biofeedback may not be the most effective if you are unable to identify or control your pelvic floor muscles in the first place.

Since it shows you muscle movement, if you are unable to isolate or move your pelvic floor muscles, biofeedback might be a difficult for you.


Neuromuscular electrical stimulation may also be used by pelvic floor therapists during treatment sessions.

If you're using your butt, abs, or thighs to do a Kegel, those are the wrong muscles, and this may lead to more pelvic floor problems.

Similar to the electrodes or vaginal sensor used during pelvic floor biofeedback, neuromuscular electrical stimulation sends a signal into your muscles to initiate the pelvic floor exercise for you.

It does the Kegel exercise for you.

Many women are starting to choose FemTech devices to help them track their pelvic floor exercises or to do the entire exercise for them.

The use of Kegel exercise devices is increasing in popularity as more women and healthcare professionals are having open conversations about personal experiences with bladder leaks, the importance of pelvic floor health, and the prevalence of urinary problems in women (NAFC).

When might a home Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation device be an option?

When you want to start working on pelvic floor exercises as part of your self-care program.

When you find Kegel exercises hard to do.

When you're not sure if you are using the correct muscles.

When you don't have enough time to attend pelvic floor therapy sessions.

When you want to supplement your pelvic floor therapy sessions.

When your healthcare professional recommends Kegel pelvic floor exercises.

How to choose a home Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation device?

Keep in mind that occasionally you will find devices online, like Amazon, that promote “Kegel and pelvic floor muscles trainers”.

But, like any wellness device or anything that goes into your vagina, do your research before buying it.