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Published: 2016-09-12

Exercise app reduces incontinence

NEWS Urinary leakage whilst coughing and jumping is common in women. Using a self-administered treatment via a mobile app called Tät® for three months reduced symptoms, led to fewer leakages and improved quality of life. This according to a study within the project eContinence (in Swedish Tät.nu) at Umeå University published in Neurology and Urodynamics.

“The results of our evaluation clearly show that the app Tät® was efficient as a first-line treatment for women with stress urinary incontinence,” says Eva Samuelsson, associate professor at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine and in charge of the project tät.nu. “Self-managed exercises also seem to be an appreciated form of treatment, which is why we have made the app available free for everyone.”

eContinence is a research project conducted by researchers at the Unit for Family Medicine at Umeå University. The objective has been to develop, evaluate and implement eTreatments for urinary incontinence. The app Tät® was developed in collaboration with the university’s IT developing office, ITS. The app offers information on incontinence, lifestyle advice, pelvic floor exercises, reminders and statistics. 

Eva Samuelsson (Photo: Andreas Larsson)

The app has been evaluated in a study with 123 participating women from all over Sweden. Participants were randomly chosen for either treatment using the app for three months or for a control group without treatment. The self-reported results and lists of leakage showed that the situation for women who had used the app improved with regard to symptom, quality of life, number of leakages and use of incontinence pads, and participants experienced an improvement. The number of leakages was reduced from a medial of three times to once per day in the group that had used the app. The noticeable changes were compared with the participants in the control group to be statistically significant.

Incontinence is a common inconvenience for women, but basic treatment based on pelvic floor exercises is often efficient. But many women never seek help, despite the fact that the treatment is simple and efficient. This is often due to a perception that the troubles are embarrassing to talk about or that women feel badly treated in the health care system.

Ina Asklund (Photo: Andreas Larsson)

“We are aware that many women with these problems never seek help in usual health care. Instead, they seek information on their own. By offering treatment via an app, we are hoping that more women will discover and gain access to efficient treatment,” says Ina Asklund, general practitioner in Krokom in Jämtland county council and doctoral student at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.

The results have been published in the journal Neurourology and Urodynamics. Co-authors are Emma Nyström, Malin Sjöström, Göran Umefjord, Hans Stenlund and Eva Samuelsson.

The long-term results, health economic calculations and implementation data from the project will be presented next year. The project also includes the development of a new app for other types of incontinence, and has been part-funded by Forte, Visare Norr, Region Jämtland Härjedalen and ALF. 

Read the article in Neurourology and Urodynamics

Read more about the app Tät® and the research project on the web page: http://www.econtinence.se/

For more information, please contact:

Ina Asklund, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå UniversityPhone: +46 70-478 81 48 
Email: ina.asklund@regionjh.seEva Samuelsson, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå UniversityPhone: +46 70-696 64 40
Email: eva.samuelsson@umu.se 

Illustration: Kati Mets

Editor: Anna Lawrence