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Hogwarts star in ‘embarrassing nappy exposé'

Harry Potter star, Helena Bonham Carter, has shockingly revealed that she wore nappies on set because her pelvic floor was too weak to control her leaky bladder. (Sunday Times 22 April 2012).

This is great news for the millions of women for whom absorbent incontinence pads are a key part of their daily life and offers hope to the 15,000 new mothers every week that look to the NHS, in vain, for effective advice on pelvic floor rehabilitation after childbirth.

NHS treatment for women with pelvic floor weakness is pathetic and any story that highlights this last great taboo should be welcomed.

In a recent survey of GP practices 62% of women seeking help and advice for pelvic floor problems were just sent home with a leaflet that lacks any evidence of clinical effectiveness and does not even follow NICE guidelines. Specialists in the field have long recognized the weaknesses of this indifferent approach. Clinical estimates suggest that a third of women cannot identify their pelvic floor and how to squeeze it in the first place, so giving them just an instruction sheet is of no real benefit and leads to frustration and despair.

Fewer than half (47.8%) of practices could correctly identify the current NICE Guidelines that recommend that women be individually assessed, trained and supervised by a specialist in a three month programme of Pelvic Floor Exercise (PFEs). Only 20% actually refer patients to physiotherapy or a continence nurse for such treatment.

Fewer than 2% of practices are prescribing the PelvicToner device that offers the greatest hope of a rapid improvement of pelvic floor muscle tone, and is clinically proven to be as effective as supervised PFEs but at a tenth of the cost.

The consequence is that tens of thousands of women each month are not getting appropriate advice and the NHS is wasting tens of thousands of pounds of scarce resources.

In terms of effectiveness, the ‘Exercise your pelvic floor’ leaflet is in the same league as those other great NHS attempts to get the populace to take the healthy option – the ‘Please Stop Smoking’ and ‘Please lose eat less’ leaflets.

Any women with stress incontinence or symptoms associated with pelvic floor muscle weakness should expect their GP to prescribe a PelvicToner™ exercise device. New mothers will receive their PelvicToner free of charge on presentation of a valid Maternity Exemption Certificate so there is no financial excuse for ignoring the potential problem.

April 2012

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