A device that sticks to the tummy and can tell when the bladder is nearly full could help people with incontinence.
The gadget, about the size of a matchbox, beams ultrasound waves into the abdomen to detect when the bladder is expanding, then sends a message to an app on the patient’s phone, telling them to go to the loo to avoid an accident.
The £400 gadget, called Dfree, is aimed mainly at those who have incontinence due to urinary retention, where the bladder becomes stretched from being full much of the time. But it could potentially help all incontinence patients keep an eye on bladder control.
The device should become available in the UK within two years.
When the bladder is just over half full, muscles in its wall usually send a message to the brain, which then tells us we need to urinate while at the same time telling the bladder to hold on until the appropriate moment.
However, holding on for too long stretches the bladder and interrupts the signals from muscles in the bladder wall that tell the brain it is time to go.