A new mobile ultrasound device known as Dfree, has been launched to help those suffering from incontinence. Designed to detect when the bladder is 70% full, it sends an alert to the patient’s phone to remind them to go to the toilet.
While it’s currently only available in the US, it is thought the device could hit the UK market within two years. Here, we’ll look into this new device and how it could help thousands of patients to live a better-quality life.
What is the Dfree device?
The Dfree device is a small gadget, approximately the size of a matchbox. It’s set to cost £400, and it’s designed to stick to the tummy, sending ultrasound waves directly into the abdomen. It then detects whether the bladder is expanding, sending a message to the patient’s phone when it detects the bladder is 70% full. There is also an option for the patient to program the device to detect when the bladder is 50% full.
It’s mainly created to help those living with urinary retention incontinence. This occurs when the bladder has stretched due to being full the majority of the time. However, it is thought it could potentially help all patients suffering from incontinence to help them better detect when they need to go to the toilet.
Once the bladder is around half full, the muscles within its walls signal to the brain to let it know you need to urinate. At the same time, it also signals to the bladder to hold on. The trouble is, if a patient holds on for too long, it can actually stretch the bladder, at the same time as interrupting its natural signals. It also prevents the bladder from emptying fully, which often leads to little accidents that the patient doesn’t feel coming.
Ultrasound gel is included with the device, and patients will need to wear Dfree all day, just above the pelvic bone. It is connected to a battery powered monitor on the patient’s wristband where the information is presented.
Will it really help to reduce incontinence?
While this new device could potentially help a lot of patients, experts claim it won’t help the majority of those suffering from incontinence. This is because they tend to go to the toilet too often, rather than too little. So, it’s not just a case of simply needing to be reminded to go for most patients.
What other options do patients have?
As the Dfree device isn’t set to hit the UK market for another couple of years, what can those suffering from incontinence do right now? One of the best methods for reducing the condition is yoga.
Studies have shown that a few months of doing yoga twice a week, can significantly reduce incontinence. This is because some yoga poses are great for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which are responsible for holding urine in when you need to go to the toilet.
Incontinence can be an embarrassing and frustrating problem to live with
So, the fact there is a device coming onto the market which could help many patients is definitely exciting news. However, in the meantime, there are other options and yoga is an especially great practice to help patients gain better control over their bladder.