Released on: 05 September 2016

Many women who experience incontinence issues after having a child are suffering in silence, according to new research by NCT.

The research revealed that a third (33%) of those who developed urinary incontinence after childbirth were embarrassed to discuss it with their partner, and almost a half (46%) were uncomfortable talking about it with friends.

Most worrying of all, almost 4 in 10 (38%) women said they were self-conscious speaking about the problem with a healthcare professional.

NCT Head of Knowledge, Dr Sarah McMullen said: “The results are perfectly understandable. Although almost half of all women experience urinary incontinence after childbirth, we know that many find it a difficult and embarrassing subject to raise.

“But if we can break the taboo, we can bring about a change that will dramatically improve the lives of thousands of women.

“The consequences of not seeking help can be devastating. It can leave women feeling lonely and isolated, affect relationships and careers, and prevent them exercising or having sex.

“We hope that speaking out about the subject will reassure women that they are not alone and that treatment is available – incontinence is not something they need to shy away from talking about.”

Fortunately, most cases of urinary incontinence can be treated without drugs or surgery through exercises that improve the strength of pelvic floor muscles.

“Pelvic floor exercises are easy to do anywhere and women should aim to do at least three sets per day – in fact you could have done a set while reading this article.

“While they are an effective way of reducing the likelihood of incontinence, some women may need to see their GP or physiotherapist if they have pain or ongoing issues,” said Dr McMullen.

Women can find more information about incontinence and pelvic floor exercises on the NCT website.

About the study:

NCT’s Parents Poll was prepared by Survation on behalf of NCT in June 2016. The survey of 1,515 UK adults aged over 18 with a child aged less than 2 years of age was conducted via online panel.

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