Transvaginal electrical stimulation for female urinary incontinence


      Objective: Our purpose was to determine the objective and subjective efficacy of transvaginal electrical stimulation for treatment of common forms of urinary incontinence in women. Study design: A prospective, double-blind, randomized clinical trial included 121 women with either urinary incontinence caused by detrusor instability or genuine stress incontinence, or both (mixed incontinence). Participants used the assigned device for 8 weeks. Identical preintervention and postintervention assessment included multichannel urodynamic testing, quality-of-life scale, and urinary diaries. Results: A total of 121 women completed this study at four North American urogynecology centers. Detrusor instability was cured (stable on provocative cystometry) in 49% of women with detrusor instability who used an active electrical device (p = 0.0004, McNemar's test), whereas there was no statistically significant change in the percentage with detrusor instability in the sham device group. There was no statistically significant difference between the preintervention and postintervention rates of genuine stress incontinence for either the active device group or the sham device group. Conclusion: This form of transvaginal electrical stimulation may be effective for treatment of detrusor overactivity, with or without genuine stress incontinence.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Bent AE
        • Sand PK
        • Ostergard DR
        • Brubaker L
        Transvaginal electrical stimulation in the treatment of genuine stress incontinence and detrusor instability.
        Int Urogynecol. 1993; 4: 9-13
        • Fall M
        • Ahlstrom K
        • Carlsson CA
        • Ek A
        • Erlandson B
        • Frankenberg S
        • et al.
        Contelle: pelvic floor stimulator for female stress-urge incontinence: a multicenter study.
        Urology. 1986; 27: 282-287
        • Caputo RM
        • Benson JT
        • McClellan E
        Intravaginal maximal electrical simulation in the treatment of urinary incontinence.
        J Reprod Med. 1993; 38: 667-671
        • Sand PK
        • Richardson DA
        • Staskin DR
        • Swift SE
        • Appell RA
        • Whitmore KE
        • et al.
        Pelvic floor electrical stimulation in the treatment of genuine stress incontinence: a multicenter, placebo-controlled trial.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995; 173: 72-79
        • Smith III, JJ
        Intravaginal stimulation randomized trial.
        J Urol. 1996; 155: 127-130
        • Wyman JF
        • Choi SC
        • Harkins SW
        • Wilson MS
        • Fantl JA
        The urinary diary in evaluation of incontinent women: a test-retest analysis.
        Obstet Gynecol. 1988; 71: 812-817
        • Plevnik S
        • Janez J
        • Vodusek DB
        Electrical stimulation.
        in: 2nd ed. Clinical neuro-urology. Little, Brown, Boston1991: 559-571
        • Vodusek DB
        • Light JK
        • Libby JM
        Detrusor inhibiting induced by stimulation of pudendal nerve afferents.
        Neurourol Urodynam. 1986; 5: 381-389
        • Ishigooka M
        • Hashimoto T
        • Sasagawa I
        • Nakada T
        • Handa Y
        Electrical pelvic floor stimulation by percutaneous implantable electrode.
        Br J Urol. 1994; 74: 191-194
        • Fall M
        • Lindstrom S
        Electrical stimulation: a physiologic approach to the treatment of urinary incontinence.
        in: The Urologic Clinics of North America: evaluation and treatment of urinary incontinence. WB Saunders, Philadelphia1991: 383-407
        • Fossberg E
        • Sorensen S
        • Ruutu M
        • Bakke A
        • Stien R
        • Henriksson L
        • et al.
        Maximal electrical stimulation in the treatment of unstable detrusor and urge incontinence.
        Eur Urol. 1990; 18: 120-123
        • Testa MA
        • Simonson DC
        Assessment of quality-of-life outcomes [review article].
        N Engl J Med. 1996; 334: 835-840
        • Ohlsson B
        • Lindstrom S
        • Erlandson BE
        • Fall M
        Effects of some different pulse parameters on bladder inhibition and urethral closure during intravaginal electrical stimulation: an experimental study in the cat.
        Med Biol Eng Comput. 1986; 24: 27-33
        • Lindstrom S
        • Fall M
        • Carlsson CA
        • Erlandson BE
        The neurophysiological basis of bladder inhibition in response to intravaginal electrical stimulation.
        J Urol. 1983; 129: 405-410