THE MOST EMBARRASSING TABOO OF ALL
Incontinence is a huge problem with roughly 7 million women in this country, suffering a degree of incontinence. The problem is compounded by the fact that many are too embarrassed to seek help. A 2011 study in the journal of obstetrics and gynaecology showed that incontinence doubles the risk of post-natal depression.
A further study showed that half of women, surveyed in GPs surgeries, had urinary incontinence but only 5% with moderate to severe incontinence had sought help.
Many women report damaged relationships and a fear of socialising due to a need to be near facilities. Apart from the emotional cost, incontinence costs the NHS £233 million per year.
The problem is unnecessary as, in many cases, regular correct pelvic floor exercises can make incontinence preventable.
A review of 38 trials concluded that offering women, in early pregnancy, a structured physiotherapist led programme of pelvic rehabilitation can help prevent the onset of incontinence. The importance of instruction by an experienced physiotherapist cannot be overstated. One study showed that 50% of women doing pelvic floor exercises, purely from leaflets, were performing them incorrectly or ineffectively. Incorrect pelvic floor exercises can compound the problem as over tensing the muscles can make the pelvic floor hyper-active putting more pressure on the bladder.
A 2010 study showed that pelvic floor training with biofeedback (As used by Melanie, Lauren, and Aivy at Church Lane Physiotherapy Clinic) is the most effective treatment.
In France, six weeks after giving birth, women are routinely sent for checks with a physiotherapist and have regular follow ups.
NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines in 2015 stated women with incontinence should be offered 3 months of supervised pelvic floor muscle training. At the same time NICE noted many women were merely given leaflets of exercises with no specialist input and therefore reported no improvement in symptoms.
There are only 700 specialist pelvic floor physiotherapists in the UK and we have 3 at Church Lane. Specialist physiotherapy can make a huge difference to a woman’s health and quality of life.
Continence problems can affect anyone – children, young people, adults and older people. However, due to embarrassment it can be difficult for those affected or their carers to talk about these problems and to ask for help. Continence problems are often treatable. Is there are cure or any treatments available for continence?
Even if you only leak occasionally, do not accept this as normal. Incontinence does not have to be making your life a misery to justify seeking help and getting treatments.
There are lots of different causes of incontinence and there are also many different treatments available. Therefore, if you or someone you care for suffers from incontinence give Melanie, Lauren or Aivy a call to discuss the problem.
INCONTINENCE IS COMMON BUT NEVER NORMAL