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An Intelligent Solution

New Zealand company JUNOFEM is making a difference to women suffering from a very common problem

New Zealand company JUNOFEM is making a difference to women suffering from a very common problem

Laughing with friends, taking a gym class, playing hopscotch with your kids… for the one in three women living with urinary incontinence, they’re situations that can end with, well, a wee problem. As distressing as involuntary leakage can be, we shouldn’t brush it off as something merely embarrassing or bothersome, says Dr Jennifer Kruger, an internationally recognised researcher in the field of women’s pelvic floor health.

Dr Kruger, PhD, is also the CEO of JUNOFEM, a New Zealand company offering women a scientifically backed way to relieve the symptoms of urinary incontinence through its innovative medical device, femfit®.

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“Many women don’t realise the importance of their pelvic floor health until they’re pregnant or when things start to go wrong,” says Dr Kruger. “But urinary incontinence is not normal, and it’s unlikely to resolve on its own. Symptoms will often deteriorate over time.” The pelvic floor is the set of muscles at the base of the pelvis that are responsible for supporting the bladder, uterus and rectum – most of us take it for granted that they stop us from having an accident when sneezing or going for a run.

But this area can easily become weakened following childbirth, or for other reasons. And despite common beliefs that experiencing some leakage is expected or simply a part of ageing, many women, particularly postpartum, don’t get the support they need to help restrengthen their pelvic floor, leading to leakage and other uncomfortable symptoms.

Uncontrolled leakage affects 30 percent of women at some stage of their lives, and negatively impacts both physical health and quality of life. The average age of urinary incontinence sufferers is just 44, and many women who experience the condition have not had children. While most women can improve the symptoms of urinary incontinence by using exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, (frequently called kegels) it can be difficult not only to identify and activate the appropriate muscles, but to perform strengthening exercises correctly, (typically a process of squeezing, lifting and holding.)

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This is where femfit® comes in. Designed by clinicians, and developed by engineers the slim, intra-vaginal flexible silicone device is about the length of a finger, and captures data via eight pressure sensors that become activated during pelvic floor muscle contractions, once inserted. This data is displayed by an app, to help users know visually if they’re performing pelvic floor strengthening exercises correctly. The app also provides guidance on how to improve exercise technique, while taking users through a validated proprietary exercise programme.

This targeted information is an ingenious way to help with effective pelvic floor muscle exercises to reduce uncontrolled leaking, particularly when it comes to stress incontinence, a type of leakage that commonly occurs when women laugh, cough, jump or sneeze. Crucially, data collected by femfit® is sent securely to JUNOFEM’S servers for analytics and feedback.

JUNOFEM’s support team, including pelvic floor physiotherapists will provide users with support and guidance. Femfit® users have access to this expert support throughout the three-month programme, providing them with the best possible solutions to keep the pelvic floor functioning healthily for life. You then keep the device and continue using it (and the app) afterwards.

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“Femfit® gives you that visibility and confidence that you’re actually doing the exercises correctly,” Dr Kruger explains. “It helps you to really target the correct muscles.” Following the 12-weeks, it’s recommended that women continue the exercises, albeit at a lesser intensity, as maintenance, just as they would train their muscles at the gym. “It’s a bit like brushing your teeth,” says Dr Kruger. “Many women should be doing these exercises every day.”

To inquire about purchasing femfit®, visit Junofem.com and fill out the questionnaire. A qualified pelvic floor physiotherapist from Junofem Ltd, Auckland will assess your symptoms and ensure femfit® is right for you.

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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

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