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The Pelvic Floor, Incontinence and Sexual Satisfaction

  • · Women are often unaware of the link between childbirth and incontinence and starting exercises early may prevent problems after birth
  • · Pelvic floor exercises are often poorly taught and ineffectively carried out
  • · Clinical studies revealed that 25% of women indicated their sex lives were adversely affected by post-natal incontinence

Healthy, well-toned pelvic floor muscles are essential at all stages in a woman’s life. They provide essential support through pregnancy and help during childbirth. Well-toned muscles can also prevent or alleviate prolapse and stress incontinence. Incontinence is a major drain on the resources of the NHS and makes many other ‘serious’ medical conditions pale into insignificance. An estimated 3,000,000 individuals have suffered symptoms ‘in the past year’. The cost to the NHS is estimated at over £350,000,000 per year (source: Continence Foundation, April 2000)

Arnold Kegel, the original proponent of Kegel or pelvic floor muscle exercises, identified in 1948 that very few women exercise their pelvic floor effectively and on a regular basis. Among those that do, very many fail to identify and exercise the correct muscles, and this can do more harm than good. Research by the Continence Foundation in 2002 confirmed that this situation still exists despite significant efforts to educate women of the benefits of regular exercise.

20% of women over 40 experience embarrassing leaks, and over half of all women experience stress incontinence at some time in their lives. The majority fail to seek clinical help and those that do will put up with the symptoms for an average of 4 years before consulting a health professional (Gallup, 1994). It is estimated that 20% of sanitary pad sales are used to self treat the symptoms of stress incontinence.

Doctors recommend pelvic floor exercises as the preferred primary treatment for stress incontinence and 70-80% cure/improvement rates are reported. (Royal College of Physicians, 1995)

Simple pelvic floor exercises deliver a significantly higher rate of objective cure than alternatives such as electrostimulation and vaginal cones (BMJ, 1999 (http://bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/318/7182/487).) 80% of users of the PelvicToner reported that their stress incontinence symptoms were improved/much improved after just one month – 32% reported an improvement after just one week. (UK user survey)

Clinical research carried out at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Florida, demonstrated a mean increase of 38% in Kegel tone following a 16 week PelvicToner programme, with the trial group overall showing a 10% increase in mean resting pelvic muscle tone. Subjective data collected by surveys revealed an overall improvement in bladder function and sexual satisfaction in 87% of triallists. (2003)

Restoring youthful muscle tone after childbirth can have a major impact on sexual satisfaction for both partners and can significantly improve the frequency and intensity of orgasm. The state of the pelvic floor muscles is implicated as a major contributor to the conditions being identified as ‘Female Sexual Dysfunction’.

50% of users of the PelvicToner noted that they and/or their partner noticed an improvement in their vaginal embrace leading directly to a more satisfying sexual experience. (UK user survey) The Pelvic Toning exercise routine provides a basis for regular and effective exercise of the pelvic floor and helps to isolate and maximise the work rate of the all-important Pubococcygeal Muscle. The PelvicToner offers a patient acceptable, effective, low cost self-help solution for the primary treatment of stress incontinence.

For more information about stress incontinence contact The Continence Foundation 0207 404 6875, www.continence-foundation.org.uk

Key points (source: Practice Nurse April 2002) Copyright PelvicToner.

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