Incontinence? A leak? A dribble? A Taboo?
The Government’s first female chief medical officer Professor Dame Sally Davies published her annual report a few days ago encouraging women to talk about, and seek help for, taboo issues such as incontinence and menopause. It also talks about obesity and ovarian cancer.
Dame Sally said that Urinary and faecal incontinence affects more than 5 million women in the UK and, along with prolapse, costs the NHS more than £200 million a year in treatment and support. Six weeks after pregnancy, 33% of women report urinary incontinence and 10% report faecal incontinence.
She said “We need to challenge taboos around the menopause and incontinence to make sure embarrassment is never a barrier to better health.”
“Problems ‘below the waist’ are not generally seen as attractive topics for public discussion, and women are often reluctant to seek help for common disabling conditions. This needs to end – women should never suffer in silence. Breaking the taboo around these subjects will help more women come forward and get the care they need.”
“Women should not be afraid to discuss incontinence with their doctor, and the earlier they do, the better.”A variety of treatments can help, she said, including weight loss, physiotherapy and medication.
Specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapy can assess the integrity and function of your pelvic floor. Exercises and advice can help to prevent and treat incontinence from occurring in the first place, or reducing symptoms if already present.
Recent Cochrane trials have shown a significant reduction in incontinence symptoms with pelvic floor physiotherapy (1) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend 3 months of conservative physiotherapy treatment before surgery is considered (2).
If you are suffering from leaking or prolapse symptoms contact me for a no obligation chat to discuss how I may be able to help you.
Or if you know someone who has just had a baby and has symptoms of a weak pelvic floor pass on my details. I look forward to hearing from them.
1.Dumoulin C, Hay-Smith EC, Mac Habée-Séguin G. Pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment, or inactive control treatments, for urinary incontinence in women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD005654. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005654.pub3