Prior to summer holidays, women are boosting their confidence with trips to the hairdresser and beauty salon. 50% say they invest in their appearance when preparing for holiday as it increases their confidence, and 75% visit a salon as essential holiday prep. Nearly a quarter (22%) of women are hitting the high street for over four hours to buy essential clothes and make up before going on a holiday.

Women feel forced to change or cancel their holiday plans because of this

Women feel forced to change or cancel their holiday plans because of this

Yet, summer body prep can mean something entirely different to the 1 in 3 UK women that suffer from bladder weakness, caused by a weakened pelvic floor; this can range from little leaks to total loss of control. We spoke to Dr Pixie about why this causes so much stress for the women who suffer from it and what solutions are out there. 

Why do so many women dread their holidays when it should be something they look forward to?

1 in 3 women in the UK suffer from bladder weakness – making it more common than hay fever. For them, the thought of going on a summer holiday fills them with dread rather than excitement, and it’s a crying shame. They worry about how bladder weakness will impact the things we most look forward to about our holidays, like swimming, wearing summer clothing, playing with our children and spending intimate time with our partner. It can cause huge embarrassment and anxiety for these women.

How can bladder weakness affect intimate time with their partner on holiday?

1 in 10 women[1] who suffer from bladder weakness admit that they would be anxious about having sex when on holiday. Bladder weakness can cause leaking during sex, and therefore many women choose to avoid intimate situations altogether to avoid the embarrassment and anxiety it can cause.

Should women be forced to change their holiday plans or cancel their holiday all together because of this condition?

Unfortunately, this is the way some women feel, however this doesn’t have to be the case. Summer holidays should be a source of excitement, not something we dread and would rather avoid. We need to empower women not to just accept this condition and continue wearing pads - there is a safe, effective and non-invasive solution in Innovotherapy. A weak pelvic floor is the root cause of bladder weakness, and by restoring the pelvic floor muscles with Innovotherapy (available at restorethefloor.com), these women can regain the confidence they have lost through bladder weakness.

Can you go swimming if you have a bladder weakness?

Yes absolutely, although many women feel very put off at the thought of wearing an incontinence pad with their swimwear. By strengthening the pelvic floor before holiday (and on an ongoing basis) women shouldn't have to rely on pads and can swim as they usually would, without anxiety – 93% of users of Innovotherapy found a significant improvement after just 4 weeks of use[2].

Why is it important that woman dont suffer in silence about this?

A large proportion of UK women will suffer from bladder weakness at some stage in their life, and it’s imperative that we talk about it and help women realise that there is a solution – there is no need for them to continue to suffer in silence and rely on pads. They don’t have to be the answer. There are solutions out there that target the root cause and strengthen the entire pelvic floor, like INNOVO.

What does summer holiday prep involve for women with bladder weakness while others are focusing on clothes, treatments and make-up?

Summer holiday prep is likely to mean an entirely different thing to the 1 in 3 UK women that suffer from bladder weakness. These women are likely focusing on how they can wear an incontinence pad with their swimwear/summer clothing (if at all), how they will be able to cope being in familiar surroundings without knowing where the nearest toilets are, and if their beach bag is big enough to fit in all they might need – i.e. spare pads, spare underwear, even an entire change of clothing.

Why is it better to be healthy on the inside than have a beautiful body?

It can be all too easy to focus our time and money on our outward appearance in the hope it will give us greater confidence. However, reflecting on how healthy and happy we are on the inside is what can make the greatest difference. Bladder weakness is caused by weakness of the pelvic floor, an issue on the inside that can usually be resolved. It causes huge confidence issues, however by investing in ourselves from the inside out, this issue can be treated and women can claim back their lives and their outer confidence too. Focussing our outer appearance can often act simply as a plaster for temporarily concealing deeper issues.

How do you personally prepare for your summer holidays and are you going anywhere nice this year?

I'm hugely disorganised so I'm a bit of a last minute packer and an Internet impulse buyer! I like to hit a holiday healthy to give me room to indulge a bit when I'm off. So I've just started a no bread, no meat, no alcohol diet and upped my weekly running. I normally holiday on the south west coast of Ireland in a little village where there's lots of sea, a little sun and no internet connection. I swap my work clothes for a west suit and re-boot!

As a GP is it difficult to get across the message of health over appearance?

Looking good on the outside can equate to feeling good on the inside for sure. But looks can be deceptive. Patients often operate on the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" principal and wait until they have a symptom or something gets serious before they seek help. Time and time again I hear of people who say they don't want to "bother" the doctor. They are too busy, too embarrassed, or too frightened to seek help or uptake potentially life-saving screening. We are here to be bothered so if something is bugging you or you have been dodging the doctor get booked in!

What is next for you?

I'm putting the finishing touches to an Irish documentary about Sleep...something I definitely don't get enough of! I've got a book to finish (write, rather than read!) before I go on holiday so I will be to the seat of my pants for the next month! 

https://www.restorethefloor.com/drpixie 

[1] Research conducted by 3Gem on behalf of INNOVO. Surveying 2,000 female consumers, 5th- 8th June 2017– unless otherwise marked, all research relates to this reference.

[2] Soeder S, Tunn R. (2012) - Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) of the Pelvic Floor Muscles using a Non-Invasive Surface Device in the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI); A Pilot Study. IUGA Poster Presentation Conference, Dublin, Ireland (2013).