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Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS) to Treat Incontinence

Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS) can be used to treat urinary or faecal incontinence. It uses external electrodes and can be used as an alternative to internal electrodes such as a vaginal or anal probe.

SNS works through external electrodes which are placed onto the skin. Small electrical currents are passed from an electronic control unit through the electrodes and stimulate the muscles in the area on which the electrodes have been placed. The stimulation of the muscles causes muscle contractions which, when placed over the Sacral Nerves, causes the pelvic floor to contract and therefore exercises it.

The Sacral Nerves make up a large area of your nervous system along your spinal cord and include the nerves that connect your brain to your lower organs such as your bladder, bowel and pelvic floor. The electrical signals sent through the electrodes cause the pelvic floor muscles to contract which, over time, strengthens and tones them.

Electrodes should be placed externally on the skin near your coccyx, and/or lower down between your anus and genitalia (see images below).

       Electrode pad placement for SNS incontinence               Electrode pad placement for SNS incontinence

You can use the ‘Urge’ programmes with external electrodes on your pelvic floor exerciser control unit. Ensure that the intensity is set high enough to cause a slight contraction of the muscles surrounding the electrodes (e.g. your anus).

You may have to purchase the electrodes separately.

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