Urinary incontinence is a topic no one ever wants to talk about. However, it is a common problem, especially as you get older. Incontinence can occur for many reasons, and one of the most common is known as stress incontinence, which occurs during sneezing, coughing, running, or heavy lifting. During these sudden movements, the pelvic floor muscles in your groin area may relax, causing urine to leak out.
The Apex M is a muscle stimulation device that can strengthen and tone pelvic floor muscles, helping to reduce stress urinary incontinence. While Medicare does not cover the Apex M in all cases, you may be able to receive coverage if your physician recommends it based on medical necessity.
What is Stress Urinary Incontinence?
Stress incontinence has nothing to do with the stress you typically think of. Instead, it is defined as the involuntary loss of urine during a physical activity or motion that places stress on the bladder. These stressful events can include a cough, a sneeze, laughing, having sex, heavy lifting, or even just standing up.
This type of incontinence is much more common in women than in men, and it can leave women feeling embarrassed and may impact quality of life and affect the activities they participate in. In many cases, this issue is related to the pelvic floor muscles that are responsible for supporting the bladder and regulating the release of urine.
The pelvic floor muscles are required to stay contracted as the bladder fills with urine to prevent unwanted leakage. However, if these muscles become weakened, stressful events, like we mentioned above, can cause excess pressure on the bladder and result in urine leakage.
Weakened pelvic floor muscles can be caused by number of different things, including increasing age, childbirth, chronic coughing or sneezing, obesity, smoking and the coughing it causes, and long-term participation in high-impact activities like running and jumping.
How Does the Apex M Work?
Because stress incontinence is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles, the most effective treatment for the condition is to strengthen them. One of the most commonly prescribed exercises for women suffering from incontinence is Kegels.
This exercise involves contracting the pelvic floor muscles, which is done by pretending to stop the flow of urine. By holding this contraction, it can strengthen the muscles and reduce incontinence issues. However, many women have difficulty performing this correctly, instead using the muscles of their abdomen or hips and causing no beneficial results.
The Apex M is designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles without the need for proper Kegel form. This product can be used in the comfort of your own home and incorporates a patented muscle stimulation algorithm. This product is designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles each time with no option for user error.
The device is simply inserted into the vagina and then inflated until it is snug but not uncomfortable. Then, once it is turned on, the electrostimulation from the steel pads on either side of the device will work to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. It only needs to be used for 10 minutes each day, and there are multiple intensities that can be used as the muscles grow stronger. It is recommended to use the product daily until the desired results are achieved and then to use it a few times a week to maintain.
Does Medicare Cover the Apex M?
Medicare does cover incontinence treatment in many cases, but specific coverage of the Apex M varies from person to person. In general, for Medicare to cover this product, you will be required to provide documentation noting that pelvic muscle exercises were attempted for four weeks and that no positive results were seen.
Additionally, you must visit your provider in person, discuss your incontinence issues with them, and have them confirm your diagnosis and support prescription of the device as medically necessary. In all cases, you should be sure to consult your physician and Medicare to check that you are covered for this device.