LONDON, June 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- New research1 released today, commissioned by pelvic health specialist INNOVO®, reveals the extent of the taboo surrounding bladder weakness, which affects 1 in 3 women in the UK2 and impacts millions of women's lives every day.
- Just over 40 per cent of women do not tell anyone about their symptoms, they just 'get on with it'
- Thirty-six per cent of those questioned have been putting up with bladder weakness for at least four years
- Embarrassment was cited as the number one reason why women suffer in silence
- When going out, rather than enjoying themselves, 50 per cent of women with bladder weakness are on the lookout for the nearest toilet
- Sex, socialising and taking exercise are the main areas affected by bladder weakness, as women adapt their lives to accommodate the symptoms
"Bladder weakness is an extremely common issue, and yet it still remains a taboo subject. It is an invisible illness and invisible illnesses are often stigmatised," says Dr Meg Arroll, behavioural change psychologist. "Embarrassment is a primary reason why women find it difficult to talk about bladder weakness, often relying on pads and other strategies to manage symptoms. This research demonstrates the extent to which people will keep their symptoms to themselves even though bladder weakness affects so many areas of their lives - yet it is not something that anyone simply has to put up with."
One third of women surveyed revealed bladder weakness leaves them feeling anxious, with one quarter feeling depressed and 34% feeling unconfident and unattractive. Bladder weakness has the biggest impact women's exercise (40%), social life (31%), sleep (27%) and intimate relationships (22%).
The silent struggle
Despite the significant impact this common health issue is having, 74% of women do not speak to their GPs/another HCP about their symptoms, one third of women wait at least one year before telling their GP about the condition, with 37% not speaking to anybody, and 30% staying silent as they believe it is just 'part and parcel' of getting older.
Psychologist Dr Meg Arroll says, "Some of the emotional and behavioural impacts of bladder weakness can be more severe than the actual physical symptoms themselves."
"People can become isolated, not wanting to go outside or socialise, as they fear having an accident in public. Many people also become preoccupied with figuring out where the toilets are – hence, INNOVO®'s research reveals that the greatest worry for 50% of women experiencing bladder weakness is not finding a toilet in time."
"Bladder weakness can have a profound impact effect on intimate relationships because of the effect it may have on communication between partners, often due to feelings of embarrassment around symptoms. This has to change as there's is nothing to be ashamed of," Dr Arroll urges.
Let's Pee Honest
INNOVO is launching the "Let's Pee Honest" campaign to break the taboo surrounding bladder weakness. The campaign encourages people to have open and honest conversations and to find long lasting solutions which treat the cause of bladder weakness.
"Discussing bladder weakness openly and honestly about the problem is the first step to getting lasting help for this treatable condition," says Dr Arroll.
The research shows that 1 in 3 affirmed that it would encourage them to talk about their condition, if bladder weakness was discussed more generally. 28% of women would talk more about the bladder weakness and try to find a solution if they knew there was a solution, instead of 'coping' with bladder weakness by using pads or incontinence pants or carrying spare underwear with them when they go out.
There are long-term solutions such as INNOVO shorts. INNOVO provides a truly non-invasive effective treatment for bladder weakness at home that strengthens and restores the pelvic floor. A recent clinical study revealed 87% of INNOVO users were dry or almost dry after just 12 weeks.3
Kath, 52 suffered with bladder weakness for 10 years before finally seeking help: "At first, I was in denial, trying to brush it under the carpet to convince myself that it wasn't an issue. However, once I admitted to myself that I had a problem and opened up about it, it led to me to finding INNOVO. After 7 weeks of wearing the shorts, I noticed huge improvements! I could go on holiday without fear, I could play with my daughters, swim, go to gym classes without leaking or looking for a loo every 5 minutes. It's been amazing for my quality of life."
Find out more about INNOVO's Let's Pee Honest campaign at: https://www.myinnovo.com/uk/
How Taboo Are You? – Quiz by Dr Meg Arroll in collaboration with INNOVO as part of the "Let's Pee Honest" campaign
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About Atlantic Therapeutics
Atlantic Therapeutics develops professional and consumer medical devices, related software, apps and connected health technologies to treat all types of incontinence, sexual health dysfunctions, and other associated disorders by strengthening muscles and modulating nerves of the pelvic floor. INNOVO® from Atlantic Therapeutics is a unique, externally applied, patented CE device that delivers a safe, clinically effective and comfortable therapy to treat reversible clinical conditions associated with pelvic floor weakness in the comfort of the user's own home. Learn more at www.myinnovo.com
- Research conducted in May 2019 by Censuswide with 1,028 40-65 year old women who experience symptoms of bladder weakness, commissioned by INNOVO®
- Soeder, S – A randomised controlled double-blind clinical study to evaluate the safety and performance of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (nmes) with the neurotech vital device for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence. IUGA Conference 2018.