You don’t need the trampoline test to tell you if you’ve got continence issues – and you don’t have to put up with it either. If wetting your knickers is stopping you from bouncing on a trampoline or taking any other kind of exercise, it can probably be fixed.
Comedian physiotherapist Elaine Miller and Purple Orchid, the Women’s Self-Care Company, are getting together during World Continence Week (June 20-26) to encourage women to pay into their Pelvic Pension Plan – and stop them from believing that all sorts of “women’s troubles” including incontinence are just something they have to accept, especially after childbirth or as they get older.
Between 3 and 6 million people in the UK suffer from incontinence (which just means unintentional passing of urine) and while the trampoline test was a great phrase for getting people talking about a taboo topic, most women with leaky bladders would know all about it long before the first bounce. Just getting on a trampoline could make them wet themselves, sometimes sneezing will do it, or laughing.
And it IS a laughing matter. Mum-of-three Elaine has used her knowledge as a physiotherapist to cure her own continence problems and her quick wit to create a show called Gusset Grippers at the Edinburgh Festival, which gets women laughing all the way to fresh, dry pants.
And Purple Orchid is dedicated to helping women live longer, in better health.
Both believe that one small change can make a huge difference to health and quality of life.
It’s common, but not normal, to leak. One on three women wet themselves, and most cases can be helped with physiotherapy.
The one crucial change for me is simple: don’t put up with it. Don’t pad up and shut up. Speak up and get it fixed! In most cases stress incontinence can be cured.
Most people are embarrassed about raising the subject, even with their GP. That’s why I wrote Gusset Grippers, comedy is a useful tool for breaking down taboos.
If you make people laugh, then they’ll talk. Sharing experiences means they can gain empathy, and be encouraged to seek help.
Incontinence affects people’s mental health and is a barrier to exercise which affects their physical health – diseases of inactivity such as coronary heart disease kill people, so it really matters that they don’t suffer in silence. Physiotherapy works, there is solid evidence that it can manage even significant injuries.
Also, I like scatalogical humour, so it gave me something to do with all my fart jokes.
Physiotherapy is one of the ways that women can contribute to their Pelvic Pension Plan – making smart choices throughout life to improve quality of life as we age.
Incontinence can be very irritating – literally. Skin can become dry from frequent washing or damp from fungal infections or abrasions.
Wash with a mild soap, rinse well and pat dry. Consider using a moisturiser or a barrier product – Multi-Gyn IntiSkin can soothe itchy or angry skin. If the problem persists, see your GP.
Purple Orchid Managing Director Dr Karen Gardiner says:
Our mission is to help women take care of themselves as well as all the people around them who they care for. We are brilliant at looking after others or standing up for them, and terrible at doing the same for ourselves.
We met Elaine when I was walking around Edinburgh in a 5ft foam vagina suit during the festival – we were taking part in the Healthy Vagina World Tour. It was clear that taboos weren’t going to get in the way of our conversation! We are looking forward enormously to seeing her show this year and supporting it in any way that we can, we couldn’t agree more with her philosophy and approach.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Elaine Miller is available for interview. She will appear at the the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (venue 282, August 5-28) breaking down the taboos in hilarious fashion around incontinence, sexual dysfunction and pelvic pain. In 2013 Gusset Grippers has been awarded “weirdest show of the fringe” which takes some doing. Flyers for the 2016 show fold into an origami vulva. The show is entertaining for everyone and counts as Continuous Professional Development for health care professionals. Elaine is a sought-after conference speaker, writer, a regular at The Stand comedy club and has spoken about pelvic dysfunctions on radio and TV.
Purple Orchid Pharma is a (very) small business run by women for women. Its vision is to support women from puberty through the motherhood years then menopause by providing reliable reproductive health information and relevant products in some cases. There are many aspects of women’s health which they just put up with and don’t have to, incontinence is one of them. See www.purpleorchidpharma.com and www.healthewomen.co.uk
IntiSkin is part of the Multi-Gyn natural vaginal health and hygiene range formulated with 2QR-complex, a crosspolymer derived from aloe vera. It attaches to harmful bacteria, preventing it from causing symptoms such as itch, odour, inflammation and infection. Multi-Gyn IntiSkin is a spray with an innovative nozzle which delivers an even droplet-sized mist when sprayed at any angle, a feature that’s very helpful as anyone with a vagina will understand. It cools, soothes and relieves itch and inflammation fast as well as neutralising odour, all common problems with continence issues.