What is vaginal electrical stimulation (VES) and what is it used for?

Vaginal electrical stimulation (VES) is a treatment technique sometimes used in women’s pelvic floor physical therapy.

The pelvic floor muscles work together to keep the urinary and bowel systems working smoothly. The muscles and pelvic support are also important for a woman’s sexual health, as they are involved in arousal, lubrication, and orgasm.

Sometimes, the pelvic floor muscles need strengthening and toning. There are a number of different techniques that can be used, including VES.

Vaginal electrical stimulation

  • VES can be done in a health care professional’s office or with a personal device in the privacy of the patient’s home.
  • First, lubricant is applied to a small sensor, which is then placed inside the vagina. Next, a low-voltage current is delivered through the sensor. This current stimulates nerves in the muscles and makes the muscles contract – exercising them, in a sense.
  • The strength of the current can be adjusted higher or lower for a woman’s comfort. She or her health care professional can also control the amount of time the current lasts. Usually, the procedure involves short periods of current alternating with periods of rest.

Past studies

  • Past studies have shown that VES can help women who have both pelvic floor problems and sexual problems. In a December 2014 report published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, scientists from Turkey discussed whether the technique could help women who had sexual dysfunction only, without any problems with their pelvic floor.
  • They analyzed data from two groups of women who reported sexual problems. One group received VES treatment; the other received a placebo treatment.
  • The overall results from the two groups were not much different. The researchers noted that VES might be effective for sexual dysfunction only, but further detailed research is needed.

Women who feel they might benefit from VES in particular, or from pelvic floor physical therapy in general, are encouraged to talk to their health care provider. VES could be used along with other techniques to improve pelvic floor muscle strength and tone and enhance sexual satisfaction.


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