A mother left housebound by severe incontinence has revealed the simple solution that is giving her life back.
Renee Brown was 39 when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and the combination of treatments left her with a nagging issue.
The mother-of-one struggled to get to the toilet in time and if she did go out she would have to plan ahead to ensure there was always a bathroom available to her.
Now discover the benefits of femfit, a sensor that when combined with a 10-minute exercise helps retrain and strengthen the pelvic floor. For Renee, the results were a game-changer after just a few weeks of use.
“The difference is like night and day,” said Renee, from Victoria, Australia. “I could feel not only this change when using the femfit app, but the change actually happening physically.
“I ended up having more control so I could get to the toilet in the morning. I could turn on that faucet and not have to count sheep to try and distract myself. He was starting to give me back control and the confidence that I can be in control. It turned things around.”
The issue has plagued Renee ever since she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
She underwent a procedure to remove pelvic lymph nodes and then began chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and internal radiation therapy.
But she believes the treatment caused the acute incontinence she suffered afterwards – which sometimes meant she couldn't leave the house as she leaked even walking to the kitchen.
If she went out, Renee had to plan her route by making sure there were public restrooms nearby.
Rene said: “It was often much more than a dribble and it was all day. I often couldn't even go to the toilet when I woke up. It was incredibly exhausting.”
After unsuccessfully trying the patches recommended by her gynecologist, she was advised to try an electromagnetic patch chair.
After initially testing positive, Renee realized she had developed brittle bones from radiation-induced osteopenia, the chair not being a practical long-term option.
By chance, Renee spotted a bulletin from ‘Counterpart' a women's-led cancer consultancy, which was inviting participants for a research study at the University of Melbourne.
The research team recommended an innovative pelvic floor training device called femfit, which at the time was only available in Australia and New Zealand.
Femfit consists of a thin flexible silicone sensor capable of imaging pelvic floor muscle activation.
The sensor is temporarily inserted into the vagina during the pelvic floor exercise session – usually just 10 minutes.
An array of tiny pressure sensors located inside the sensor measures the force of contraction of the user's pelvic floor muscles, while simultaneously measuring abdominal pressure.
This information is wirelessly transmitted to a custom app on a user's smartphone to provide real-time feedback that guides correct technique.
Users have reported dramatic improvements in incontinence issues both postpartum and in menopausal situations.
Renee was sent femfit and access to remote telehealth sessions with the research physiotherapists.
Within a few weeks of using the femfit five times a week, Renee began to notice that the leakage had stopped.
He said: “The challenging exercise for me was the fast ups and downs, fast contractions.
“That was my enemy, the one I was focusing on, and I didn't realize until I started using the device that I was good at contracting my pelvic floor.
“But I wasn't good at relaxing between contractions, and this exercise really brought that to life. I was just “locked in”.
“It was really, really amazing to see how much better I had gotten in that run.”
Renee still faces some health challenges, but says knowing she has a female form, she can get back into it at any time.
She added: “It sits on my bedside table so it's there when I need it.”
Without guidance, many women get their pelvic floor exercise technique wrong. The only feedback is no improvement in symptoms after weeks of trying.
Effective technique is vital to getting the most out of your time spent exercising.
Femfit is an over-the-counter, single-person reusable device for use at home or in a healthcare clinic.
It can be worn daily without restrictions on any type of movement or activity.
If they choose, users can share their progress with their clinician directly from the app and bridge the gap between appointments for ongoing, targeted support.
Backed by advanced biofeedback technology, the femfit system is the result of over a decade of clinical research.
It is the only trainer on the market with a unique array of pressure sensors that provide accurate technique feedback.
It is the only gym on the market that is slim and flexible. It is so comfortable that it can be used for training while you are lying, sitting or standing.
And the company's 12-week Strength Builder program is clinically proven to resolve up to 80 percent of urinary incontinence symptoms—just one of the benefits of a healthy pelvic floor.
The femfit is battery powered and recharges when placed in a USB powered charging case.
Jenny Kruger of JUNOFEM, which makes femfit, added: “Renee's story is remarkable and a testament to her courage and perseverance.
“We are delighted that Renee had such a positive experience with femfit.
“Struggle with urinary incontinence as a consequence of gynecological cancer treatment is common.”
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, an estimated 1.31 million cases of gynecological cancer worldwide were diagnosed in 2018.
Urinary incontinence rates associated with many of the drug and surgical treatments for these conditions range from 4% to 77%, with diurnal incontinence ranging between 24% and 29%.
Jenny added, “Giving women tools or ways to help them regain control of parts of their lives that have been greatly affected is hugely important,” the telehealth option that Renee and the physical therapist were able to access it is characteristic of femfit and is available.
Jackie Smalldridge, Obstetrician and Gynecologist added: “Urinary incontinence is a common condition commonly experienced by one in three women.
“One of our goals is to educate women that effective pelvic floor exercise can make a huge difference.”