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Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 1999 Oct;11(5):503-7.

Critical evaluation of electro-stimulation for management of female urinary incontinence.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Dokkyo University, Medical School, Koshigaya Hospital, Saitama, Japan.


Electro-stimulation has been reported to be effective in the relief of stress and urge urinary incontinence. The rates of cure and improvement brought about by pelvic floor electro-stimulation in patients with urinary incontinence are 30-50% and 60-90%, respectively. In clinical practice, vaginal, anal and surface electrodes are used for external, short-term stimulation, and sacral root stimulation for internal, chronic (long-term) stimulation. The effectiveness of electro-stimulation has been verified in a randomized, placebo-controlled study. However, its superiority over other conservative treatments, such as pelvic floor exercise, has not been confirmed. A long-term effect has also been reported. In conclusion, pelvic floor exercise together with electro-stimulation is the mainstay of conservative management for the treatment of stress incontinence. For urge and mixed stress plus urge incontinence, electro-stimulation may be the first choice alternative treatment to drug therapy.

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