I know I am not alone. I was one of the 1 in 3 women who suffered from bladder problems. I say that in past tense because I no longer am one of those women that would cross their legs every time they sneezed or coughed, who would make excuses not to jump on the trampoline with the kids or run out the exercise class to nip to the loo at every star jump going. Yep, I did suffer from stress related incontinence. I blame the girlies. I never had that issue before my children.
I used to sneak a Tena lady in the basket every time I would buy the monthly products to hope they wouldn't get noticed at the checkout. It is an embarrassing problem. Especially when I wasn't even 30. Its something you would picture as an elderly lady not a young mum running after her kids all day. Now I wasn't bad enough that I would soak my clothes but yes, I was bad enough to need a pad when exercising, or if I had a cold.
Roll on to earlier this year. A new company looking for bloggers to give a product a real testing over months, not just a few days or weeks. Not any blogger could get this life changing product to try, only those that needed it, those that have sensitive bladders. I nervously applied knowing I had my half marathon coming up and after hearing horror stories on forums of stress related incontinence I knew I needed something to help build up my pelvic floor.
We all know we need to do the pelvic floor exercises, but how do you know if you are doing them right. How do you know if you are actually targeting the correct muscle. I was just hoping I was doing it right, however I had no improvement.
Anyway I am starting to ramble on so I will get to the point. Restore the Floor is the new company that has recently launched in the UK. Not only helping women, but also the 1 in 10 men who also suffer from this issue. As the product "Innovo" is non internal both men and women can use it.
So how does it work? How can it target the pelvic floor which helps control the bladder without being internal? Well.... as quoted from their website as its pretty clear from their explanation...
"Innovotherapy uses a hand held INNOVO® controller attached to a two part garment. This sends targeted impulses (neuromuscular electrical stimulation) via a set of conductive pads attached to your upper thigh and buttocks, to safely and effectively activate all the muscles of the pelvic floor."
So you get a wrap for each thigh which wraps around. (These comes in 3 sizes, to fit size 8 through to size 20+) Each thigh wrap contains 4 gel pads which depending on your size depends if they go on A or B box. Mine are on the A boxes in the picture. The pulses come through the gel pads so need to be positioned in the correct spot.
Each wrap then has a little connector which connects to the hand held device. The hand held device then lets you increase and decrease the power of the pulse or pause if you need it. You can also set programmes on the handheld device too.
I was recommended to use the Innovo for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week for 12 weeks. The device can be used whilst standing with your hips slightly tilted or laying down with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. I used it whilst watching my soaps in the evening on the settee. Takes a few minutes to pop on and then relax and let it do all the hard work for you.
The first few times I set it up I came across a few problems. The first time I hadn't clicked the connectors on properly from the wraps to the hand held device. A quick check on the website and I was on my way, I had to listen out for two clicks not just one. Another time, I forgot to take the cellophane cover of one of the gel pads, this meant it hadn't made a connection so didn't work. Two very minor issues (my fault for not reading the instructions properly) which I have not had since.
The two top gel pads are placed on your bum, and the two lower pads are on our thighs so you need to wear a thong or go commando as it needs skin contact, for this reason I also wore my dressing gown whilst it was in use as I wouldn't have been able to get trousers on over the top.
The feeling is a strange one. It doesn't hurt, nor is it uncomfortable. Its not a pleasurable feeling either. Its just a strange one. The device contracts your pelvic floor and then relaxes it, and then it goes again, and again, 180 times to precise. Lots of strong good contractions within a 30 minute time frame. However you can break this down to two 15 minute sessions if you need to.
You can control how strong the pulse is too. I started in the level 20 range and remained there for a week or two, then all of a sudden I felt my pelvic floor could cope with a stronger level. I am now up to level 50. The optimum level to attain is in the 70-75, but not everyone can get to that level whilst still remaining comfortable.
So, what's my verdict on the Innovo?
Well, it has worked. I safely ran my half marathon, no pad needed and no accidents. I've had many coughs and sneezing attacks and again been absolutely fine. however I do occasionally still cross my legs out of habit. I've not kept to using it 5 times a week. After the first 5-6 weeks I was able to cut right back to a few times a fortnight as it had 'restored the floor' so well. For long term use, they recommend using it 1-2 a week to help maintain the pelvic floor. From my experience I had a few weeks where I didn't use it but when I returned to it I could actually increase the intensity again, so I hadn't actually lost any of the power I had gained.
With a price tag of £249 its not a cheap buy but it is worth every penny. You regain control, and confidence. Its a better alternative to surgery too. It doesn't just help stress incontinence like what I had, but also urge and mixed incontinence too. The device comes with a 2 year warranty and you can buy replacement gel pads too. I certainly recommend it with two big thumbs up. The company are trying to make it affordable too by offering installment plans for those that cant afford the £249 upfront straight away. If you would like to purchase the Innovo, you can do so here.
To find out more about the life changing device you can check out their website here.
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