Q&A with Dr. Ruth Maher INNOVO® Co-Inventor
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Dr. Ruth Maher is one of the original four inventors of Innovotherapy, the only non-invasive therapy clinically proven to restore the pelvic floor. Innovotherapy directly targets pelvic floor weakness – the root cause of urinary leaks – unlike many other treatments which simply mask symptoms.
What is Innovotherapy?
Innovotherapy is a completely revolutionary and non-invasive therapy for treating incontinence. I’ve been working with an incredibly talented and passionate team to develop this over the last eight years, and it has literally changed lives. Women say “I’m only getting the odd leak. I can wear white trousers again. I don’t have to always know where the bathroom is.”
How does it work?
It’s totally external – there is no need for invasive probes or electrodes, unlike other devices on the market. Innovotherapy uses advanced, proven neuromuscular electrical stimulation to send targeted impulses via a set of conductive pads placed on your thighs and buttocks, to safely and effectively activate the muscles of the entire pelvic floor. It’s a very unusual sensation. It recruits all the muscles so it feels like a very intense lift. With 180 full contractions completed per session, users can literally feel their entire pelvic floor muscles being activated without having to do anything at all, leaving no room for error.
How often should Innovotherapy be used?
Results from an independent study prove that women who experience stress incontinence will experience significant improvements in as little as four weeks by using the device five days a week for 30 minutes. It is completely pain-free, with 86% of users being defined as completely dry after 12 weeks.
Why did you develop INNOVO®?
As a clinician, I have seen the impact that pelvic floor weakness has on the lives of men and women. It’s a huge quality of life issue, and sadly people are putting up with this unnecessarily. It impacts their emotional health, psychological health and their relationships. Many can no longer engage in normal, everyday activities like vacuuming their house, picking up their children, going to the cinema to watch a funny movie and having sex with their partner. Worry and anxiety over leakage literally takes over their lives. As an expert, I know that there is a solution to pelvic floor weakness and I wanted to give these people their lives back. There is a method for gaining confidence and dignity back, and it is Innovotherapy.
What are the causes of urinary leakage in women?
There are common misconceptions surrounding urinary leakage, and these make it difficult for both men and women to understand the issue and therefore find an effective solution. Crucially, it is important to understand that there is no such thing as a ‘weak bladder’. What we really mean is a ‘weak pelvic floor’.
There are many changes across a women’s lifetime that can affect the pelvic area, such as pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Essentially, there is an inability for the pelvic floor muscles to withstand pressure within this area and this can lead to urinary leakage. It also affects very healthy and sporty women that are involved in high-impact activities, such as Olympic athletes, runners, basketball players and gymnasts. 1 in 3 women are currently affected in the UK.
Does it affect men too?
We are seeing an increase in prevalence among men, largely following a prostatectomy, and this can be one of the hardest challenges for them to face in the recovery process. INNOVO® is also suitable for men and provides a favourable alternative to probe-based treatments.
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a key set of deep muscles situated in the pelvis. They run from the frontal pubic bone to the coccyx at the base of the spine. Shaped like a basin the pelvic floor holds the all-important pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and bowel) in place and supports the bladder to provide control when you wee. A strong and healthy pelvic floor will help improve your posture, help prevent leaks and flatulence, and can even improve sensation during sex.
Why should I use INNOVO® over normal pelvic floor exercises?
When running my own practice in the US, I became frustrated when trying to teach women how to do strengthening pelvic floor contractions. I started using ultrasound imaging and noticed that when a woman said they were doing pelvic floor exercises, they were actually doing inappropriate contractions using muscle groups other than the pelvic floor ones.
About 40% of women are unable to voluntarily do pelvic floor exercises. It’s a subtle contraction. People simply don’t have an awareness of the area – they find it hard to distinguish between their bum and the muscles inside the pelvis. From pelvic floor exercises to more ‘intrusive’ solutions, most strengthening approaches are reliant upon ‘doing it right’ – which for many sufferers is the problem – they can’t pinpoint and activate their pelvic floor so the exercises and systems they are using simply do not work. With Innovotherapy, 180 pelvic floor contractions occur per session, doing all the hard work for you and leaving no room for error.
How can urinary leakage have an impact on relationships?
Pelvic floor weakness can have a negative impact on a healthy sex life. Women are terrified of leaking urine during sex, and this can invariably lead to them avoiding sex altogether, destroying relationships. Equally, a strong pelvic floor can even enhance sexual satisfaction!
Download our free INNOVO® app that will support you over the 12 weeks programme – record your progress, set reminders, get tips from our experts and watch other people’s stories.