I’m 48. It’s a fact I can’t get away from. I’m also a Mum who had a natural birth nearly 7 years ago. Parts of my body just don’t work as well as they did 20 years ago, and certainly not since my son arrived on the scene. Another fact I can’t ignore. Oh how that 28-year-old would have laughed if I’d told her about what happens when I run, jump or catch a cold these days! Yes, I hold my hands up, my bladder is not as tight as it should be and I’ve been rubbish at doing pelvic floor exercises. But recently I’ve been coughing with confidence thanks to Innovo and their Innovotherapy product.
I know I should do pelvic floor exercises every day, but I’m just rubbish at remembering. Over the last few years I’ve noticed a deterioration in my bladder control, and catching a cold has given me more to worry about that a running nose! I’m sure I’m not alone in this, and I’m also sure that I’m one of many women who also can’t afford the ‘fix’ offered by private health care. So I’ve just put up with it. I’ve delegated running activities with Monkey to his father. I’ve avoided trampolines like the plague, thanking my lucky stars that Monkey actually doesn’t seem to like them anyway.
But that is no way to be the Mum I want to be to my son. I may be an older Mum, but I want to chase Monkey along the beach, run around and play hide and seek with him. Let’s face it, I would just like to be able to sneeze without panicking every time.
The team at Mumsnet offered me the chance to try out the Innovo, restore the floor product recently. I was definitely not going to turn down the opportunity to be coughing with confidence thanks to Innovo. Innovotherapy is a non-invasive way to restore the pelvic floor, it actually does the pelvic floor exercises for you. I was there, front of the queue.
Now I have to tell you that the Innovo kit isn’t cheap, it costs £249.00, payment options are available on the Innovo website. But, I figured that this outlay would still be considerably less costly than a medical procedure, and is totally non-invasive. To my mind it was worth it.
The kit comes with – 2 Innovo garment’s – labelled left and right, an Innovo controller, Charger, 1 Set of 8 Innovotherapy pads, 1 Lanyard, Quick start guide and a Product user manual. There are different garment sizes available depending on your normal dress size.
Before starting with the Innovotherapy you need to charge the controller for 5 hours and I would recommend watching the introduction video on the Innovo website. It makes the whole process seem a lot less daunting and shows you exactly how to fit the pads and how to wear the garments on each leg.
Having looked at the video, read the booklet, I was ready to get started on my 12 week course of treatments. The Innovo system can be used for a range of incontinence issues, but for me it was all about Stress Incontinence so I would be following the Programme 1 recommendations. Over the course of 12 weeks, I would spend 30 minutes for 5 days a week using the Innovo product. In the video it shows the model leaning over a work surface whilst doing her sessions. This was never going to work for me, so I opted for 30 minute sessions reading a book in bed at the end of the day. Back against my pillows and my legs in a V position.
Once I’d fitted the sticky Innovotherapy pads in place (again watching the video helps with this), I removed their protective film (don’t throw them away) I followed the instructions to wrap each garment around my legs. I’m not sharing that picture with you! Trust me, my thighs are not pretty, way too much flesh to share with you. You do need to be naked from the waist down for this treatment.
Once in place, you connect the coloured leads into the correct connector, and push firmly into place.
Once wired up, I got in a comfy position and turned the controller on, it has an automatic timer which stops the session after 30 minutes. You can control the intensity of the 180 impulses which are sent from the pads over the length of the session. Over the first 5 days I worked up progressively from a strength of 45-70. You can go higher, to 75, but I found that intensity a little uncomfortable, but 70 was fine, and I could go straight to 65-70 from the start of second week of 5 sessions.
It’s really hard to describe the sensation to you when the Innovotherapy takes place. You can feel your pelvic floor lifting without you having to do anything. After the first couple of sessions you almost forget about the feeling, it doesn’t and shouldn’t hurt. If it feels uncomfortable reduce the strength of impulses, and it could be that you haven’t fitted the garments correctly. It’s quite important to make sure they fit snuggly around your buttocks. Again, watching the video gave me the confidence to know I’d got it right.
You can use the free Innovo app from iTunes and Google Play to remind you about your sessions and to record your progress. I’m not a great one for apps so I forgot to keep up with the app if I’m totally honest. But I know most people these days are very app driven, so it’s a great idea for them.
For me, I decided that Sun-Thurs evenings worked well for my routine, I always read before I go to sleep, so I wasn’t missing anything by doing my sessions at the same time. Once I’d completed a couple of sessions I’d got the fitting and removing of the garments sussed and could do it quickly. Always remember to refit the protective film sheets over the pads when you finish your sessions.
So am I coughing with confidence thanks to Innovo as I near the end of my 12 weeks? You bet I am. In fact I’d noticed a different very early on in the process. I’m now in the midst of a stinking cold, which 4 months ago would have filled me with dread. Sneezing and coughing would have been a recipe for bladder leakage. Now? I would say, that in most instances I get no leakage at all, or a very, very minute amount. It’s wonderful. I’m so impressed. I can run after my 6 year old son without thinking about my actions first. I can sit at the Grand Prix, coughing, and just concentrate on the cars going round the track. It’s been a bit of a revelation.
I spoke to the Innovo team after my first session back in April and I wanted to know what happens after the 12 week course of sessions. Would I be cured? Well we’re talking about muscles, and pelvic floor muscles, like any other muscles, need to be exercised regularly.
So the plan is to continue with the sessions, but over the next couple of months, instead of 5 times a week, I’ll reduce that to 2-3 times a week and then moving forward, just as and when I feel the need.
The pads need to be replaced after 60 sessions/6 months and a set of 8 replacements costs £29.99, these along with the main kit, can be bought directly from the Innovo website.
So would I recommend the Innovo system? You bet. I suddenly realised that I didn’t have to think before I did things. I could just go about my normal business as a busy Mum. I didn’t need to cringe or feel embarrassed. I could be 48, and a Mum and not feel uncomfortable about getting on with life. It’s not a cheap product, I admit that, but for the confidence it’s given me to just be able to live my life, it’s worth every penny.
disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product.. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.