It is World Continence Week this week
The aim being to raise awareness and get people talking about the difficulties and problems suffered by a wide range of people. Around 1 in 3 people struggle with urinary incontinence. It has a significant impact on quality of life, impacting on daily activities such as work, leisure and intimate relationships.
It is slightly more difficult to get accurate statistics about bowel incontinence (because people are even more embarrassed about discussing it or seeking help). But around 1 in 10 people admit to problems with bowel control.
The difficulty with not talking about continence / incontinence is that people then lack support with the problem and may not realise that treatment is available.
Training the pelvic floor muscles is the recommended first line treatment for with urinary incontinence.
Specialist physiotherapists have post-graduate level training in pelvic floor function and dysfunction and will be members of the Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy Organisation (POGP). They have a number of useful patient leaflets that can be accessed here
As specialist physios we constantly aim to raise awareness and bust the myths around incontinence – so that women know that bladder weakness is not normal (whatever the Tena adverts may suggest!). Physiotherapy is proven to help. It takes work on your part but can be very effective in improving or completely resolving symptoms.
One physio who has taken up the education gauntlet and is really raising the profile is the excellent @GussieGrips – she is a women’s health physiotherapist and stand-up comedian raising awareness of the pelvic floor. You may have heard her on the BBC or come across her on Twitter (or even seen her at the Edinburgh festival). Have a listen here:
She is also involved in #pelvicroar raising awareness of rehabilitation. Their website has a range of blogs about pelvic floor issues and other useful links
As well as easier access to good quality information on the internet, there is a range of technology to assist women with pelvic floor rehab. From apps to help you do your pelvic floor exercises such as the squeezy app, to a range of electrical stimulation or biofeedback devices to help with your exercises. It is always best to get a proper assessment from a suitably qualified physiotherapist to fully evaluate your pelvic floor, before deciding to use any devices, to make sure they are suitable.
Don’t suffer in silence or put up with using pads. Find a suitably qualified physiotherapist and start getting help.
If you want to know more about the impact of Menopause on the pelvic floor and what you can do to help, then I’ll be addressing this at our menopause support evening. Further details of which you can find in this blog or you can book by clicking here: Menopause evening July 12th booking