Continence and the COVID-19 lockdown

08 July 2020

Helen Molloy, our specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist explains more about the challenges facing those with bladder or bowel problems.

COVID 19 arrived with a bang and our lives changed dramatically. Lockdown posed many problems: difficulty accessing food, not being able to see family or friends, home-schooling children, adjusting to working from home or to not being able to work, but it came as a welcome relief for women with bladder or bowel problems.

Life for women with continence problems can often centre entirely on the location of the nearest toilet. Their specialist mastermind subject would be ‘the location and quality of every public toilet within a 30 mile radius’ and they would win hands-down. There are no spontaneous trips anywhere; each journey is worked out with military precision to ensure the distance is not too great, the likelihood of traffic jams or delays is minimised and a toilet is accessible and available along the way and at the destination to avoid a change of underwear or a socially humiliating experience. It’s exhausting and it's also the reason women with continence problems may not venture out very often. Lockdown meant the lifting of this constant battle: a toilet was always close at hand; you could spend all day at home without anyone judging you and most importantly, no more leaking in public!

Sadly, the lifting of lockdown has only made life harder for these women. Now we are encouraged to go out again but most public toilets are shut. If any are open, they have reduced the number of toilets available to maintain the social distancing requirements of 2 metres. It’s the worst nightmare of anyone with continence problems. Mums now face the dilemma of taking children out to parks for much needed release of energy with the risk of having no access to a toilet for the entire time they are out. There will be many who choose not to take that risk. There will be others who avoid meeting up with their friends or family in public, blaming a concern about the health risks, when the real issue is the social embarrassment of having an accident. How many women will remain in lockdown as a result?

There is help out there for continence issues, even from the comfort of your own home. Women’s Health Physiotherapy is a successful, easily accessible, non-surgical treatment of all disorders affecting the pelvis and pelvic floor, including all types of urinary and bowel incontinence. A Women’s Health Physiotherapist can create a tailored programme of advice, education and exercises aimed at helping you to retrain your bladder and bowels to function correctly, amend any behaviour which may be adding to the problem and allow you to regain confidence to socialise, exercise or play with your children without fear of leaking.

All of this can be done via a virtual consultation, which you can book with us here at Spire St Anthony’s Hospital.

Call us today on 020 8335 4678 to make an appointment with Helen Molloy, our specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist.

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