IMPRESS Proof of Concept projects

Magnetic Pessaries for Urinary Incontinence

  • Principal Investigator

    Dr Richard Day, Reader in Regenerative Medicine, University College London

  • Co-Investigators

    Professor Doug Tincello, Professor of Urogynaecology, University of Leicester
    Professor Quentin Pankhurst, Professor of Physics,  University College London


For women affected by stress urinary incontinence, the health benefits of taking physical exercise maybe be diminished if they fear the risk of embarrassment due to an uncontrolled leakage of urine.  This project investigates whether the stress urinary incontinence that occurs during physical exercise could be addressed with a management device that is simple and discrete to use

This work will study the principle of a novel device that delivers compression of the urethra against the upper portion of the symphysis pubis and elevation of the bladder neck via the use of magnetic force.  A range of vaginal pressary devices currently exist  which help to restore continence, and these are a valid option for patients with stress incontinence worsened by strenuous physical activity, however due to their high positioning in the vagina, many of the designs require a healthcare professional to assist with insertion and placement, making them unsuitable for self-administration and short-term use, for example when participating in strenuous physical activity such as sport.

In contrast the aim of a magnetic alternative is to exert action on the urethra from a lower position in the vagina, making the device easier to administer and remove after use.

The scope of this project is to establish whether it is feasible to use magnetic force to achieve closure of the urethra via a vaginal pessary device interacting with an external component.

Incontinence Management & PRevention through Engineering and ScienceS