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READER LETTER: Tackling this women’s health taboo? Yes 'wee' can!

READER LETTER: Tackling this women’s health taboo? Yes 'wee' can!

Wednesday 22 June 2022

READER LETTER: Tackling this women’s health taboo? Yes 'wee' can!

Wednesday 22 June 2022


Will our new government help us tackle the taboos? Post-election, could it be time for incontinence to come out of the closet? Maybe wee can all do 'Moore' to raise awareness where running to the 'John' is concerned?

Facing the realities of our aging population, mental health issues, education, population size, care costs, health and a multitude of other issues are queued up like a Ladies public loo.

“Encourage active Islanders” they say, so presumably they share the vision of  Jersey Sport for us to be “one the most physically active populations in the world"?

But does this vision consider that up to a third of all women experience a problem with their pelvic floor muscles at some time during their life often resulting in leaks... that’s a lot of women who won’t be keen to exercise.

Could our next generation of young women have a better future?

Maybe our new politicians will consider and act upon the BBC News report “teach pelvic floor exercise in schools", which is detailed in the NICE report? Action could also help reduce the average time women take before seeking help: six-and-half years, according to a USA study.

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Pictured: Will our new States Members pledge to tackle this taboo women's health issue?

There are no bog standards in Jersey when it comes to statistics relating to incontinence, so it’s difficult to plan budgets and allocate much needed resources. Could our new government encourage better collection of data? Will our physiotherapy and urology departments receive the investment they need so that they can roll out the service they want to and that’s needed?

Politicians were happy to “listen to the science” when it came to covid. How are we doing in Jersey when it comes to listening and acting on the science relating to women’s health?

Are we like the Scottish Government which hasn’t implemented any of the 46 recommendations made by Health Professor Alison Britton?  

Invaluable lavatory literature for all politicians is 'Invisible Women', a great insight into the data bias both historically and for the future.

One recommendation we have on our Gov.je website is for us to keep practising our “pelvic floor muscle exercises once a day to maintain the improvement”. But how many GPs, clinics or people are aware this information exists?  

Will the new government flush away the new Jersey Care Model or put it into action? Will they value “preventionas a key area of focus?  Will the prevention of stress-urinary-incontinence be included? Leaking when laughing, coughing, sneezing or exercising can be prevented. Pad adverts tell women it’s normal to leak. Where is the government strategy or funding to explain the alternatives?

One idea would be for more fitness professionals in Jersey to include pelvic muscle exercises in their sessions. Hospitality venues are checked and advised by government departments to ensure public safety. Is there advice or guidance for the fitness industry when it comes to awareness of continence issues?

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Pictured: Tinkle tinkle... An awareness-raising rhyme.

Elaine Miller, Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy created GUSSET GRIPPERS to give advice in a fun way.  In simple terms, Elaine explains: “You are going to squeeze and lift your bumhole tight shut, and you are going to keep it tight shut for the rest of your life... Well, ok, for 10 seconds!”

As our new politicians put their big girl pants on and strain to put their policies into action, let's work together as a community to raise awareness of the problems associated with incontinence and how wee can help each other prevent or cope with it.

Let's have the mutual vision for Jersey to be the first to have a successful strategy, for current and future generations. Yes wee can!

Penelope Spender
Positive Pelvics campaigner, St. Lawrence

Express is a supporter of the 'Championing Women's Health' campaign which you can read more about HERE.

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