31 Jul Pelvic Floor Dysfunction:The Low-Down & When to Seek Support.
As an engineer your job is to solve problems, find solutions – however, in 2010 I faced a distressing challenge much closer to home. After the birth of my third child I experienced urinary incontinence whilst training for a marathon and though initially reluctant to share the embarrassing incident I decided to open up. Realising how common and relatively unspoken pelvic floor dysfunction, like prolapse or bladder leakage were – I set about trying to find a solution that would help me and other women reclaim some control so we could continue to stay active. The result was coming up with active sportswear that would support the pelvic floor and organs that were involved in prolapse and the causation of distressing symptoms like urinary and anal leakage. A support garment that would optimise the function of the pelvic floor and reduce intra-abdominal pressure. Through the foundation of EVB Sport and the active wear solutions I felt I had helped give women a better quality of life however having researched deeper I found a lack of awareness around pelvic floor dysfunction which in many cases can be prevented.
At EVB Sport our initiative is not just about providing solutions for women’s health issues, it’s about educating and creating awareness around them. Listening to women so we can speak on their behalf at global forums like the World Federation of Incontinence Patients (WFIP) which took place in Barcelona on June 3rd, 2019 last. Having worked tirelessly for the last 6 years to get our community of women heard on a global stage, this was a dream come true – and testament to what can be achieved if we empower ourselves with knowledge and collective support. We share the vision of WFIP in creating a world where people living with all forms of pelvic floor dysfunction can enjoy a high quality of life, play an active role in society and have access to appropriate treatments.
Unlike in previous generations, we don’t have to suffer in silence because of these issues. We all deserve to have a good life so we can enjoy it with our families and children. First step is acknowledging that you may have an issue. For example in case of pelvic floor prolapse, symptoms include lower back pain, a feeling of pressure or fullness in the pelvic area, painful intercourse, urinary or anal incontinence or sudden urge, constipation, spotting or bleeding. The 2nd step is to make an appointment with your GP and depending on what cause may be suspected (if it’s childbirth related or as result of menopause) you should then be referred to a urogynecologist/colorectal consultant who may order more investigative tests like x-rays, CT, endoanal scans etc. At present there are many treatment options available for pelvic floor dysfunction and this includes physio, vaginal pessaries and in some cases surgery . See NICE Guidelines with respect to when surgery should be considered.
After conducting an online survey with 1000 members of our customer community one of the issues we felt important to raise at the WFIP was in relation to GP awareness and early intervention to prevent conditions worsening for women over time. Communication is key here and GP’s at primary care stage asking patients early on about signs of PFD. Also GP’s gaining a greater understanding of the work of a pelvic health physiotherapist in order for treatments to be more effective.
General consensus and a quote from one of the participants in the survey relating to GP experience on PFD –
‘GPs are not equipped with the information they need to help us, nor is there a significant amount of research into solving a problem that affects so many more women than we even know. The more we talk about it, the more options we’ll have in the future. ‘
At EVB Sport we would always encourage seeking a second medical opinion if you feel you are not being listened to properly or that your concerns are not being adequately addressed.
A big thank you to all our customers who answered the Pelvic Health survey and for allowing us continue raising issues affecting women globally. If you have any questions or request further information regarding PFD or our activity sportswear, please contact us on (041) 9831449, alternatively email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Founder of EVB Sport