Thousands of women set to be helped through new NHS pelvic health clinics

·2-min read
Seven million women in the UK suffer from urinary incontinence. (Getty Images)
Seven million women in the UK suffer from urinary incontinence. (Getty Images)

Despite a widespread association of urinary incontinence with older women, the health condition also affects younger females – causing their mental health to suffer as they often go years without a diagnosis.

Now thousands are set to be helped through pelvic health clinics being created by the NHS.

The specialist centres will bring together midwives, doctors and physiotherapists into one service that aims to prevent and treat pelvic issues, including incontinence.

It has been announced that 14 clinics will initially be opened across England, supporting around 175,000 women.

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Locations include Birmingham, Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Surrey, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Norfolk, north-west London, Shrewsbury, south-east London, Suffolk and Sussex.

However, over the next two years more clinics will be opened, granting access to millions of women who can be referred by a GP, or by themselves.

The service will include classes to teach strengthening of the pelvic floor through exercise.

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Incontinence, a condition many often keep hidden out of embarrassment, currently affects 7 million women in the UK.

Stress incontinence is the most common form, and can leave women suffering leaks while working out or coughing.

Urge incontinence is where you feel a sudden, intense need to go to the toilet.

According to the NHS, having a family history of the issue and obesity are risk factors.

As is having a baby, because pregnancy and giving birth places pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.

Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, NHS England’s chief midwifery officer, said: "We know many women don’t report issues with incontinence because they are embarrassed about seeking help.

"Bringing together experts in pelvic health in one place will offer women a way of seeking help quickly and easily, as well as sending the message that postnatal incontinence is nothing to be ashamed of and can be treated."

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