Pelvic floor exercises can be really effective in the treatment of women with urinary incontinence (UI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
However, it can be difficult to remember to do the exercises given to you by your physiotherapist, especially when you have been asked to do them at least 3 times per day! Sometimes ‘cues’ can be really useful such as doing your exercises while you are waiting for the kettle to boil, when at a red traffic light or when brushing your teeth.
A new approach to helping patients to remember is the use of smartphone applications, which have been specially designed to promote pelvic floor muscle training.
A recent study (Hui and Johnson, 2015) critically reviewed Apple iPhone Apps. Four criteria were used to evaluate the Apps: the provision of education; exercise reminders; exercise progressions; and the facility to record exercises. Twenty-three Apps were included in the analysis and out of these, only three fulfilled all criteria.
Squeezy- the NHS Physiotherapy App for Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises (Propagator Ltd- endorsed by the NHS) £2.99
There are Android Apps too, the Kegel trainer and Squeezy both being available in Android versions. Most of the Apps are designed with women in mind, but there are some available for men too. Squeezy for men has just been launched.
It is always a good idea to make sure that you are doing your pelvic floor exercises correctly. A bladder and bowel health physiotherapist can perform an assessment to determine whether you are managing to do them correctly and to set you an exercise programme based on your specific needs. This programme could them be transferred as your ‘starting block’ to an App.