Health & Fitness

A chair that treats urine leakage, impotence

chair

The magnetic chair used to treat pelvic floor dysfunction. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

I sit on a white, leather reclining chair at the Pelvic Floor Neo-control Centre in Nairobi.

The physiotherapists guide me on how to position my lower body and feet. I am told to align my reproductive system to the part of the machine that has a magnetic field where vibrations are most intense.

A 10-minute timer is set. I feel my pelvic muscles being sucked in, held for a few seconds, and then released. The mechanism is similar to the kegel exercises but with greater intensity but I can talk as the machine repairs the pelvic floor muscles. I am told the machine does 18,000 kegels in a short period.

This machine uses the latest technology to treat pelvic floor dysfunction, a condition that causes urine or stool leakage.

As technology advances, Kenyan doctors have brought newer sophisticated machines to treat diseases that previously forced patients to travel abroad or live with them untreated.

Bladder and stool leakage and erectile dysfunction have caused many Kenyans pain.

Simaton Kumomoru, a physiotherapist, started the Pelvic Floor Neo-control Centre in 2018. Her late sister had given birth in 2015 and thereafter started leaking and smelling urine throughout. She suffered from low self-esteem.

“When a woman visits a gynaecologist due to urinary problems, most times she is advised to start a regimen of kegel exercises. These are exercises that strengthen pelvic floor muscles, which lose tone due to pregnancy or aging,” Ms Simaton says.

“Stronger pelvic floor muscles lead to better bladder control. The challenge for most women, however, is locating these muscles within their bodies. It also takes a long time to see results thus discouraging.”

She recently introduced the latest pelvic floor rehabilitation technology— the neo-control chair. Located in Nairobi’s Muthaiga Square, it is one of the few facilities in Africa with the magnetic chair.

“I saw the chair in a Dubai medical fair and thought about my sister and the many women who are affected by incontinence and decided to invest in bringing this technology home,” she says.

“Not feeling comfortable around people is not a way to live.”

physios

The Pelvic Floor Neo-Control Centre consultant physiotherapist Alice Nyambura (left) with CEO Simaton Kumomoru on May 31, 2021. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The neo-control therapy chair is non-surgical and requires no use of drugs to correct urinary and stool incontinence or treat erectile dysfunction.

The technology uses Extracorporeal Magnetic Innervation (ExMI) or magnetic fields to contract all the pelvic floor muscles.

Alice Nyambura, a consultant physiotherapist at the centre, says the magnetic chair exercises all the muscles in the pelvic floor to rebuild strength and endurance.

20 sessions

The treatment is painless and a patient sits on a chair fully clothed. A treatment session takes 20 minutes, with a two-minute break, totalling 18,000 Kegels.

“Patients begin to notice improvement after six to eight sessions but the greatest outcome is after 20 sessions,” says Ms Nyambura, adding that for some patients, the treatment will completely cure incontinence.

A 20-minute session costs Sh6,000.

Kegel and other exercises such as squats, bridge, or bird dog, may take up to six months to ease symptoms.

Surgery has been used to treat severe pelvic floor disorders. However, not all pelvic floor conditions require surgery, and not everyone can afford it, giving way to many new therapy treatments.

Erectile dysfunction

Pelvic floor muscles play an important role in sexual function both in men and women.

Loose pelvic floor muscles cause leakage of urine when someone coughs, laughs, jumps, and even bends. Some have constant urges to visit the loo or experience ejaculation problems.

This condition occurs twice more in women than men and Kenya. Urinary leakage occurs in some women who have given birth or those who have had radiotherapy treatment on the abdomen area.

Ms Nyambura says the chair can also be used to tone the reproductive organ leading to benefits like increased strength of orgasms.

“The stress of childbearing can diminish both the sensitivity and the tightness of the muscles leading to loss of libido, lubrication, and low satisfaction,” she says. In men, radiotherapy and prostate illnesses can cause urine, stool leakage, and also ejaculatory problems.

After initial treatments, patients may require monthly or annual maintenance sessions depending on the severity of their condition.

Dr Khisa Wakasiaka, a gynaecologist says the technology is still very new and studies on it are underway.

“However, if it is confirmed to be effective, it will be revolutionary as it will bring faster results for women suffering from urinary incontinence and prevent uterus prolapse and rehabilitate rectum prolapse,” he says.

Dr Michael Jordan, a urologist based in German has been using the chair for 22 years.

He says it has corrected incontinence in his patients after they have gone through surgery to partially or completely remove the prostate urinary and those with erectile dysfunction.

“People suffering from erectile dysfunction have poor nerve stimulation and blood flow. The chair stimulates the nerves and increases blood flow to the penis,” he says.

This leads to improved sex life and thus the quality of life.

“Patients with chronic prostatitis {swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland} tend to have weak blood flow to the prostate. The stimulating effect by the chair improves blood flow leading to better uptake of medicine in the prostate gland,” he adds.