Judging by the steadily growing aisles of incontinence pads in pharmacists I'd say our chances are slim.
Its over a year since I wrote my last Blog on this topic and again I'm prompted to write this blog by another batch of advertisements for incontinence pads that now are not only implying that "Oops Moments" are okay but actually saying "its normal to leak after a baby"
I find this infuriating I hear every day from women who's symptoms have been dismissed as normal by their GP or their mother or their friends as if incontinence is the price we pay for having children.... while I am so grateful that incontinence is FINALLY being discussed a little more openly we need to change the dialogue.
Incontinence might be common - but its not normal!
....and the really frustrating thing is that most women experience significant improvement or reversal of symptoms with a combination of education and pelvic floor training.
While incontinence pads are invaluable if you need them they shouldn't be our "go to and only solution". But one tool that's used when necessary.
Being me... I have done the maths....
A women with minor incontinence who might use three of the lightest panty liners a day will be spending up to £400 or $480 a year on panty liners.
A woman with significant incontinence who joins her local pharmacy "Incontinence Club".... yes this is a thing! and if you are purchasing enough pads the savings in these clubs are significant. Using Six heavy duty pads a day at the discounted "club" prices may be spending up to £1,500 or $1,800 a year.
Ironically if you go to the incontinence pads websites many of them have great resources and advice but that's obviously not on the packets. Maybe it should be. If we can insist on cigarette packets having health warnings maybe we should start asking for Pelvic Floor Training tips on incontinence pads packets..... what do you think.
Women's Health Physiotherapy and pelvic floor training programmes such as "Adore Your Pelvic Floor" are still considered "conservative treatments" despite the fact that the results and education often have better out comes (both short and long term) than more radical treatments such a surgery.
I'm also hearing from more and more women that they are being told that Women's Health Physiotherapy is also not covered by National Health funding in their area. However given that you are looking to save £400 or more a year isn't it worth investing the money in a few Physiotherapy sessions or a Pelvic Floor Course given that you will have that education and those skills for life.
I often talk about one personal training client I had over 25 years ago who still haunts me. I was in my mid twenties and not sufficiently educated or mature enough to really know how to help her or encourage her to seek help. I watched that woman lose confidence, start to wear baggier and darker coloured clothes to hide her incontinence panties as well as any accidents. She became increasingly afraid to move, put on weight, started to comfort eat. While I tried to get her to see a Woman's Health Physio I worked with but she was too embarrassed and ashamed.
I moved out of the area but my last memory of her was her breaking down because she was too scared to go to her sons sports day in case she was asked to join in with the "egg and spoon" or "three legged" race. I can't begin to imagine how painful that felt for her but the memory still causes a hard knot to well up in my chest. I watched as her world, controlled by fear and shame, became smaller and smaller. I often wonder how she is doing now and what kind of life she lived..... how did incontinence affect her relationships with her children, husband, friends. How the comfort eating and lack of exercise affected her health and her body and most importantly wether she is enjoying her life.
If NICE recommends pelvic floor training as the best and most reliable form of treatment for pelvic floor disfunction and incontinence why isn't that being discussed? Why are we so content to normalise incontinence and stock up on pads? Are we that lazy? Or don't we think training could work for us? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
If you are interested in training with me, I'd love to hear from you so feel free to contact me directly. I teach in Edinburgh and the Lothians in Scotland as well as offering online training.https://www.fionacarterpilates.co.uk
To find an Adore Your Pelvic Floor Coach in your area: https://adoreyourpelvicfloor.co.uk/courses/adore-your-floor-course/
If you are interested in training to be an Adore Your Floor Coach: https://adoreyourpelvicfloor.co.uk/courses/teacher-education-classes/
This Blog is not meant to be used as a treatment programme. While I hope you find the information I have shared interesting it is based on what I have found useful in my teaching over the years and the best and most current research. However, you should always seek the guidance of medical professionals in treating any condition. As a Pilates teacher I am not qualified to diagnose any condition. I would recommend seeking the advice of a good Physiotherapist or your General Practitioner. I would also recommend training with a Pilates Teacher who has completed a in depth training in the field. Pilates courses can vary vastly from short online trainings to three or four year in-depth full time apprenticeships. don’t be afraid to ask questions about your teachers training and experience. If you would like to train with me as a Pilates Teacher or as a Pelvic Floor Coach or find an Adore Your Pelvic Floor programme in your area. Get in touch I'd Love to hear from you.