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So here's the thing. Since having the boy 6 and a half years ago I haven't dare laugh, cough, sneeze or go to a fireworks display.
Having a baby does terrible things to your pelvic floor. After giving birth they give you exercises to do and I promise I did them. For a bit. But having a small child kind of takes over your life.
I've been wearing some kind of pad for years. As I've got older he situation has got worse. I know I mess about a lot but stress incontinence is no laughing matter - well you daren't. You'll wee yourself.
Then the opportunity to product test INNOVO came along and I grabbed it with both hands. Well both thighs as it turns out.
INNOVO is a non invasive treatment for stress incontinence. There's also a programme for urgency incontinence, which I'm going to try next but that's a whole other story.
With the tagline 'restore the floor' INNOVO uses pulses through sticky pads that you strap to your things and bum to lift and tighten the pelvic floor. The pads are attached to cycling short type garments that wrap around the top of your legs and are hooked up to a central control panel where you regulate how strong you want the pulses to be.
You do this for 30 minutes a day 5 days out of 7 every week for 12 weeks. Bingo your floor is restored, sensitivity returns and you have a better feeling for doing the pelvic floor exercises you need to maintain the strength you've build up.
Well that's plan.
The box arrived with all the kit and I got e-mail instructions to watch a video and read some blurb before my phone consultation to get me started.
Then 12 weeks ago a very nice Irish lady called me and talked me through how to put the garments on, plug it all in, the best position to lay in and then stayed on the line for my first half an hour strapped in for action as it were. She talked me through every stage and discussed the sensations I was feeling and where they were to make sure I was going to get the best out of the product.
I mention she was Irish because her beautiful accent put me at ease. So much so that after chatting to her for only 15 minutes or so when she asked if I could feel the sensations between my legs I said 'Oh yes I can feel it up me bum too - does it help for that kind of incontinence as well?'
Apparently it does. I have IBS. I was on to a winner here.
I started slowly with the pulses. They come (stop laughing at the back.... ) every 5 seconds, then subside for 5 and then back again. I pressed the button on the control panel up to 28.
'Ohhhhh that tickles. It's quite intense. What number am I aiming for eventually?' I enquired.
'70' came back the lilting Irish brogue.
70!!!!! I'll spontaneously combust. I never thought I'd get there. Last night after my 12 weeks I was on 73 and I could've taken more. Not sure if I should've shared that with you?
So what you want to know is does it work?
It's a serious piece of kit and quite an investment (£249 currently on their website although you can pay in 6 interest free instalments - it's got a 2 year warranty and free delivery) but for me yes it has worked. I now feel confident to go out without pads on for protection. I'm going less frequently and by frequently I mean every five minutes ( ask Lemon Cake Lady she'll tell you what a nightmare I am to go out with 'Can we stop? I need a wee" ) and most importantly I'm not leaking when I sneeze, laugh, cough, get surprised suddenly or bounce on the boys trampoline.
I feel like I need to keep it up and have been advised to continue with three times a week for a while as I'm still not feeling the correct sensation when I try to do the kegels (posh for pelvic floor exercises) myself but hey I have the machine now I might as well keep using it.
One of the beauty's of it is because it is non invasive you can lend it out (replacement sticky pads are available to buy as they do lose their gumption after a while) to someone you know and trust so even though it's a lot of money to pay out you can share the love, although that person won't get the phone call and after sales support you receive, which is excellent.
I have to say also I've enjoyed the discipline of knowing I need to lie back for half an hour while the machine does it's work and read, watch TV, muck about on my phone or do nothing. It's been a bit of me time each day I could justify because I knew I had this blog post to write. It's also done amazing things to my bum and upper thighs. You can see and feel them being lifted with each pulse as well as feeling the pelvic floor lifting too. My bottom is firmer and tighter, which has been an unexpected bonus by product.
I'm going to carry on using INNOVO and have a go at programme 2 for urgency incontinence as well, which as far as I can see is a ringing endorsement of the product because it could quite easily be resigned to the loft now as yet another gadget but I genuinely like using it too much to stop.
And no that isn't just because strange things happen when you go above 70.......
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