Vaginal cone therapy may sound really strange but it is actually an effective, non-invasive treatment for stress urinary incontinence in women.
Stress urinary incontinence is the most common type of urinary incontinence, affecting as many as 48% of all women, according to research published in Reviews in Urology.
It is caused by weakened pelvic floor or sphincter muscles and results in urine leakage when pressure is placed on the muscles. Sneezing, coughing and laughing can all cause leakages to occur. Childbirth, urethral injury or surgery and certain medications can all increase your risk of stress incontinence.
A brief history of the vaginal cone
Vaginal cones are weighted devices that are inserted into the vagina and used to perform exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor.
They were first developed in the 1980's by a Slovenian bioengineer by the name of Stan Plevik, Nursing Times explains.
Plevik's first vaginal cones came in a set of nine cones that were equal in size and shape but had slightly different weight, with each one weighing 20-100g.
What are vaginal cones and how do they work?
Nowadays, vaginal cones come in smaller sets. Exercises using vaginal cones should be performed once or twice a day, Canadian Continence explains.
Start with the lightest cone that can be comfortably retained. The vaginal cone should require a slight muscle contraction to be held in. If it stays inside the vagina without any contraction, a heavier cone should be used. The cone should be held for 15 minutes at a time.
Use a heavier weighted cone as the pelvic floor muscles strengthen.
A study published in Cochrane's Database for Systematic Reviews has shown that vaginal cone therapy is as effective as pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) and electro-stimulation in reducing bladder leakages.
If you'd be interested in trying vaginal cone therapy, make sure to first contact a doctor or physiotherapist for a pelvic floor examination. There are available from certain larger pharmacies and online.