This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at insight@mumsnet.com if you'd like to know more about how they work.

NOW CLOSED: Post-natal pelvic floor and bladder problems - the last great taboo? Talk and you could win £100 voucher

(160 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 17-Jul-12 09:34:15

There is a Pelvic Floor Toner that is on GP prescription but it is not being offered to new mothers as a matter of course - how would you sell it? How would you get it 'out there'? Share your ideas and you could win a £100 High Street voucher.

We've been asked by the team behind the PelvicToner to find out what Mums think about their product and to ask how they would market it if they were in charge of the product.

The team say "The PelvicToner is the only clinically-proven pelvic floor exercise device that is available on GP prescription and therefore free of charge to any women holding a Maternity Exemption Certificate. The incidence of Urinary Stress Incontinence (USI) in women outweighs practically all other health conditions (put together) yet the reaction of women at large, lobby groups and many in the medical profession, is just to accept it as a tribulation to bear - something to get used to or one that can't be resolved. This is just not true, and over 80% of cases can be quickly and simply cured with an effective exercise programme."

"The scale of the problem is enormous. There are approximately 15,000 births each week and clinical estimates are that 5,000 of these mothers each week will go on to develop USI. The problem typically starts with childbirth but just gets worst after the menopause. Since January 2011 GPs have been able to prescribe the PelvicToner which in clinical trials proved to be at least as effective as supervised pelvic floor training with a physiotherapist, but to offer significant advantages in that it 'enabled the confident identification of the correct muscles and provided effective exercise using a mild resistance'. It was also recognised that the PelvicToner improved compliance with the exercise programme not least because the patient noted significant improvements within a matter of days, unlike the physiotherapy programme where improvement was not expected within three months."

So - the team behind the product know it's good (they have sold over 100,000) and have loads of evidence to prove it can help with this widespread condition, but face issues from GP's not prescribing it and women not knowing it is either available or effective.

As a way of getting folks talking about this topic we wanted to ask Mumsnetters - if you were in charge of marketing this product what would you do?

~ We know Mumsnet is a good place to start (hence this thread!) but would you like to see a discount on Mumsnet for this product?
~ Do you think it's the sort of thing you would buy or got to the GP for (if you were to experience this issue)? If not, why not? If so, why?
~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?
~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?
~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?
~ What information would you like to know about the product?
~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?
~ If you are too embarrassed to talk to your GP would you rather buy from a friend or alternative practitioner or through a toddler group contact etc?
~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?

Any other comments on this issue welcome - PelvicToner very much want to get folks talking about this issue.

Everyone who adds their thoughts to this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will get £100 in High Street vouchers.

thanks
MNHQ

CMOTDibbler Tue 17-Jul-12 09:40:38

I guess the problem is that women just aren't given a lot (any ?) medical followup after birth, so no one asks them about urine leakage. Certainly in my experience the 6 week check did not check me at all, and no one asks you after that if you are ok. And women often expect to have a weak pelvic floor after birth and think not much can be done for them.

ithastobeNAICEham Tue 17-Jul-12 10:16:54

Having had this issue after my first pregnancy and having some of the same issues during this pregnancy (I'm 33 weeks), I'd be very interested to see what this prooduct could do!

I have been to the doctors regarding this issue and been fobbed off by them, I went as I thought there might be help available, if there was a discount to buy this product on here, I'd get it!!

I think it could be advertised in mother and baby magazines, in the press. There are adverts on tv to advertise such issues now, I think an actual product like this would be received well and encourage people to seek help. If people know we could get help then we could do more to get this subject less taboo!

I'm not sure how much it would cost but I wouldn't pay more than £20 for it, I'd think it encourage more people to buy if it was cheaper. Plus, if its cheap then the NHS are going to be more inclined to prescribe the product.

Tbh, I don't know how to get GP's to prescribe this product.

I'd like to see how this progresses and see what comes from this.

BedHog Tue 17-Jul-12 10:20:43

I can see this might be a good starting point for people not used to doing pelvic floor exercises, or for women already suffering USI, to regain pelvic floor tone.

However, as I understand it, pelvic floor exercises are most effective if done in short sessions several times a day. I do mine when driving, watching telly, cooking dinner, lying in bed etc. It would be difficult to find the time or inclination to slink off to the bathroom on my own, strip from the waist down and do whatever I had to do with this implement and its accompanying lubricant gel <boak>.

I'm also unsure if it benefits the whole pelvic floor. It looks as if it concentrates solely on the vaginal area while ignoring the urethral and anal parts of the pelvic floor muscles.

Having said that, anything that encourages women to exercise their pelvic floors and realise the importance of them is a good thing. My mother-in-law's friends used to laugh at her for religiously doing her PF exercises every day - now she's the only one who doesn't need tena lady!!

firawla Tue 17-Jul-12 10:27:33

~ We know Mumsnet is a good place to start (hence this thread!) but would you like to see a discount on Mumsnet for this product?

yeah why not

~ Do you think it's the sort of thing you would buy or got to the GP for (if you were to experience this issue)? If not, why not? If so, why?

pelvic floor toning things is something i always mean to buy but i dont get round to it. i havent suffered any problems in this area so far but i have had 3 children close together, one big baby, one forceps delivery, mums had a prolapse and mil keeps telling me dont forget to do pelvic floor exercise as she also has problems after 3 kids, but i still just forget to get round to it!!

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?

web advertising would be good, that way one day when u see it might actually click and get round to buying

~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?

that it helps for long term, so you wont get problems in future

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?

i have no idea but i would rather pay under 50 quid and if its over 100 dont think i would ever get it, as its too expensive

~ What information would you like to know about the product?

how does it actually works?

~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?

i would talk to people im close to, maybe not random mums who i dont know too well! some people have talked to me about it.

~ If you are too embarrassed to talk to your GP would you rather buy from a friend or alternative practitioner or through a toddler group contact etc?

im not too embarrased to go to gp. but i dont think they will prescribe it if i dont have problems currently or if they would prescribe it as a preventive type thing then i would go and get it

~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?

im not sure

Gillianfl Tue 17-Jul-12 10:28:35

Why would you not pay more than £20 for something that could cure your dribbles for ever. You would spend more than that every month on Tena pads! Anyway, it's pretty academic because if you are a new mother with a Maternity Exemption Certificate it's free of charge anyway.

And from my experience it has a pretty positive impact in the babymaking department as well, so whilst that may not be the first thing on your mind at the moment, it should be something to look forward to!!

A big part of the problem is that mums and women at large have been conditioned not to expect any real help and to suffer in silence. That is rubbish. A comprehensive cure is just a couple of weeks away and it just involves 5 minutes of effort a day. A small price to pay and, as they say, the benefits are priceless.wink

Gillianfl Tue 17-Jul-12 10:35:47

Just a note to BedHog. A couple of factual issues.

The way the pelvic floor is constructed means that exercising the vaginal muscles strengthens the whole pelvic floor. And doing short sessions several times a day is definitely admirable but doing anything while you are driving or watching tv etc is a complete waste of time for the simple reason that the only way to really strengthen your muscles is to use a resistance device such as the PelvicToner.

Squeezing thin air is of no benefit. Certainly no other exercise you do in the gym or anywhere else delivers benefit without effort. Arnold Kegel who is the man behind Kegel exercises was absolutely adamant that resistance was key.

The PelvicToner follows his principles which is why it cures the problem in a couple of weeks and why it is the only pelvic floor toner on GP prescription - even if your GP won't give it to you!

notcitrus Tue 17-Jul-12 11:10:37

I've had SPD in both my pregnancies, which meant I was referred to obstetric physiotherapists both antenatally and postnatally. Both groups repeatedly mentioned the importance of pelvic floor exercises, and in particular the postnatal ones explained that if you have problems with stress or urge incontinence, to come back to them as they can help (firstly with exercises, then with devices like described here, and if necessary surgery), and not to suffer in silence.

So given that squeezing muscles is generally sufficient for most women, I think the problem is women not being told either when pregnant or shortly after that help is available, not a widget that may be necessary for some women. My hospital gave me a leaflet about postnatal exercises and incontinence but as it was badly photocopied and looked very boring I imagine most women would have thrown it away among all the Bounty and other bumf you get on leaving hospital.

If women aren't aware there is help, they aren't going to go to the GP or phone the hospital physios in the first place - that's what needs fixing.

BedHog Tue 17-Jul-12 11:14:16

You're not squeezing thin air (unless you've got an exceptionally flappy fanjo grin), you're flexing and relaxing muscles. So saying it is of no benefit is like saying that running won't tone up your legs unless you have weights strapped to your ankles, or there's no point to doing sit ups unless someone is pushing against your shoulders.

brendaf Tue 17-Jul-12 11:19:24

my doc certainly didn't offer much help and I was desperate for help. Eventually I was referred to physio and that didn't help much

A friend recommended this pelvic toner and it was fantastic - improvement in no time.

I showed it my doc and she pleaded ignorance but I think she is now offering to others

turkeyboots Tue 17-Jul-12 11:20:51

~ We know Mumsnet is a good place to start (hence this thread!) but would you like to see a discount on Mumsnet for this product?

Why not?

~ Do you think it's the sort of thing you would buy or got to the GP for (if you were to experience this issue)? If not, why not? If so, why?

Only if I was experiencing severe problems, as they tend not to be useful for minor complaints.

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?

Parenting and female orinated magazines, all the usual places

~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?

How well it works, what type of long term issues it might helps avoid.

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?

Its £29.99, which iseems a bit steep. £15 ish would make me inclided to have a go.

~ What information would you like to know about the product?

Size, your website makes it look HUGE. How to fit its use into daily life.

~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?

No really, but not taboo by any means.

~ If you are too embarrassed to talk to your GP would you rather buy from a friend or alternative practitioner or through a toddler group contact etc?

Buy online, definatly not through toddler groups!!

~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?

No idea, but my friends who have given birth abroad were all issued with one after birth.

TheLaineyWayIsEssex Tue 17-Jul-12 11:32:20

I think more in general needs to be done to raise awareness of the issue of post natal pelvic floor and bladder problems. It needs to be something that is spoken about with women - during their pregnancy. I got a leaflet that told me to do pevlic floor exercises - but not how to do them, or what issues could arise if I didn't.
Having had a long labour and forceps delivery - I took a long time to recover, and my pelvic floor is certainly not the same as it was.
I think products such as this toner - sounds fabulous but should be in used in conjunction with better post natal care.
We should take a leave out of France's book. Women there are routinely prescribe (not offered) multiple sessional with a gynae physio for pernineal and pelvic floor strengthening. This is standard practice there, and I can bet that far few women have ongoing problems with incontinence, pain etc as they do here.

TheLaineyWayIsEssex Tue 17-Jul-12 11:34:56

Just to add, I wish I had known about this product as when trying to do pelvic floor exercises a few weeks post birth, I couldn't even isolate my muscles as they had been destroyed by the victorian torture instruments. I feel something like this would have really helped.
Can imagine it being advertised in the pregnancy magazines given in the bounty packs - posters at the ante-natal clinic, and generally just more visible.

I have a rubbish pelvic floor. I bought an electronic toner just before Christmas and try to use it daily. However I still leak when exercising even with what i consider an empty bladder. It is quite depressing. I do think it has helped a bit though. I tried the cones first but couldn't hold them in at all didn't get on with them very well.

~ We know Mumsnet is a good place to start (hence this thread!) but would you like to see a discount on Mumsnet for this product?
yes

~ Do you think it's the sort of thing you would buy or got to the GP for (if you were to experience this issue)? If not, why not? If so, why?
I hate going to the doctor, I find them patronising, so no probably not, I would rather just buy it

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?
magazines aimed at women

~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?
a timescale for using it after which you should notice a difference

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?
I spent £50 on my current one so £29.99 looks good to me!

~ What information would you like to know about the product?
how often to use it, how to tell if you are using it correctly, what to do if you feel it is not doing any good

~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?
I would talk about it with other mums, but I am an unsociable old cow so don't go out much

~ If you are too embarrassed to talk to your GP would you rather buy from a friend or alternative practitioner or through a toddler group contact etc?
no, although buying from a chemist, pharmacist would be good, without having to talk to anyone, online would be best

~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?
prove that it is effective by asking for feedback from users

TheTempest Tue 17-Jul-12 11:58:43

We know Mumsnet is a good place to start (hence this thread!) but would you like to see a discount on Mumsnet for this product?

- I think it would be a good thing, and could be used to raise awareness of the issue too.
~ Do you think it's the sort of thing you would buy or got to the GP for (if you were to experience this issue)? If not, why not? If so, why?

I would buy it, I don't think I would go to the GP for it as I don't go to the GP for much. My GP is very insensitive, and I don't think he'd be too impressed if I went to see it for that.

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?

Back of toilet doors, with those bladder irritation adverts.

~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?

That it's not normal after having a baby and can be resolved.

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?

probably in the £15-25 mark.

~ What information would you like to know about the product?

Whether it hurts, what it's made of, that it's a common issue.

~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?

I have definitely talked about it with people before, mostly people I know well though.

~ If you are too embarrassed to talk to your GP would you rather buy from a friend or alternative practitioner or through a toddler group contact etc?

None of the above! A pharmacy would be better that a random woman at toddler group amongst tea, biscuits and babies!!

~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?

More incentives for them? A rep system type thing like the big companies?

TerracottaPie Tue 17-Jul-12 12:01:26

I think a product like this has the potential to just be lumped in with the 'It's a nice idea, but I haven't got the time, haven't got the money and isn't a bit of stress incontinence something everyone has. It's not like I want to go trampolining or anything.' thoughts that many women have.

Women are busy with newborns. Simple fact. They're not really thinking about themselves much at this point. So ante and postnatally is when it needs to be pushed that stress incontinence is not just something to put up with indefinitely after the birth. Everyone knows they are supposed to do their pelvic floor exercises but it's almost like you switch off when they are mentioned.

I don't see talking about bladder problems as anything to be embarrassed about. I have had physio for other gynae problems for a couple of years now for a birth related problem and don't see why I shouldn't talk about it. Maybe GPs should be talking about it all more. Like at the postnatal check. Rather than it be on the woman to bring it up first. Cut out the embarrassement factor that some women might have.

And re getting GPs to prescribe it. That's for the company to push with their reps isn't it?

Oh and no, I wouldn't buy it. If it's something available on prescription then that is where I would obtain it. I don't see why I should have to pay for it. I don't pay my physio for the work done on pelvic floor thus far.

RedSquizzle Tue 17-Jul-12 12:24:56

I think focussing on women who have a Maternity Exemption Cert if a bit of a red herring in a way - a lot of women assume that their bodies will take a long time to recover after birth, and wouldn't even consider it a problem until well after a year after birth, long after your Mat Exemption has run out.

Great to market it to new mums, but there are plenty of women whose babies/toddlers are over 1yo who are finally realising that their pelvic floors are shot!

- if you were in charge of marketing this product what would you do? Run a magazine campaign such as the Clinique giveaways - first howevermany to reply get a free/discounted product, or a short run of free ones with mags, word of mouth would be the best advert afterwards
~ We know Mumsnet is a good place to start (hence this thread!) but would you like to see a discount on Mumsnet for this product? Absolutely
~ Do you think it's the sort of thing you would buy or got to the GP for (if you were to experience this issue)? If not, why not? If so, why? Only if I was suffering severely with it, otherwise id just put up with it
~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo? Very occasionally, not a common topic tho
~ If you are too embarrassed to talk to your GP would you rather buy from a friend or alternative practitioner or through a toddler group contact etc? If it wasn't thru GP I'd buy direct online, or thru Amazon etc, def not thru a toddler group etc!
~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner? By pointing out what a common and unmentioned problem it is - I think GPs forget its an issue as women don't talk about it freely enough. Get the stats on the packaging, to remind us all how common it is.

bagelmonkey Tue 17-Jul-12 12:32:20

I'd be embarrassed to talk to my GP, mostly because I'd feel my problem wasn't serious enough and that I'd be most likely to get a negative response because it's too expensive, not because incontinence is embarrassing. I think that although it's available on prescription it still means the GP will be aware of joe much it vista and of their own budget. I wouldn't make an appointment to discuss incontinence unless I thought it was very bad, because I'd expect to just be told to do pelvic floor exercises, which are free.
I think there should be routine follow up of mothers by GPs to discuss issues like this that you wouldn't have time to notice by the 6-8 week check, because that may be the only time you see a doctor for years.

I'd be more likely to try to buy it online than to buy it of anyone in person.

CakesnKids Tue 17-Jul-12 12:48:15

Well in my case despite being only 24, and both gap and the physio I saw knowing about my pelvic floor issues I have kept being told just do the exercises, that's all you need.
I've been just doing the exercises for 5 months now since the birth of dd2 (did them during PG and after dd1 too) and am still having issues sad

Where can I get this from? Do I need to see my gap or can I just buy it?

Intermediate of what your asking, I think better gap training and knowledge post dc

<goes off to click links>

strandednomore Tue 17-Jul-12 13:25:30

Pelvic floor exercises - and what's available to help - could be discussed in antenatal classes.
Now if only there were the funds for every woman to get free, decent antental classes....

We know Mumsnet is a good place to start (hence this thread!) but would you like to see a discount on Mumsnet for this product?

Sure, we like discounts

~ Do you think it's the sort of thing you would buy or got to the GP for (if you were to experience this issue)? If not, why not? If so, why?

I wouldn't because I wouldn't know about the product and would expect to be told to wait/exercise/lose weight/fobbed off

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?
Those gawdawful pregnancy magazines, online generally, Surestart groups etc

~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?
Telling me a problem could be fixed for a reasonable cost = sold

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?

I'd not buy it for over £50 without a serious recommendation

~ What information would you like to know about the product?

If it worked, how it worked, sizes (?), cold it be bought discreetly and over the counter or online.

~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?

In a jokey sort of way or on MN - sure. As a real problem - no, nobody really admits to it. We all make jokes about weeing on trampolines but nothing more.

~ If you are too embarrassed to talk to your GP would you rather buy from a friend or alternative practitioner or through a toddler group contact etc?

No, you'd want someone who doesn't gossip so NOT a toddler group person!

~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?

I guess cost? Or don't prescribe, make them heavily discounted in the pharmacies usually attached to GPs, (boots and lloyds here) - I often see tens machines and the like promoted this way.

Puddlet Tue 17-Jul-12 14:45:52

Just a comment on the marketing/ branding - the image on your website of a super toned torso being approached by a small torpedo heading for the navel area is unlikely to be one that appeals to many new mums. Had you thought of using an image of a mum holding a baby? Or perhaps taking inspiration from the Dove "real women" campaign with a "real mums" campaign? Perhaps images of mums at a buggyfit class so that you have the fitness element in there but in a more accessible way?
To me the super toned look is so unachievable that I would put your product in the same category as getting back to the weight I was at 21 - unachievable and therefore not worth trying.
It sounds as if you're trying to develop new distribution channels - I would have thought that the various buggyfit/ baby yoga franchises would be good potential partners for you. The product might work better in a context where women are focussing on getting fit than at a toddler group (although it might liven the conversation up a bit!).

YoulllaughAboutItOneDay Tue 17-Jul-12 14:47:32

I have had minor issues since the birth of DD1 three years ago. I have never been to the GP. I don't feel that there is any real interest in resolving 'minor' issues and would expect it to take many appointments to get any sort of serious resolution. I tried talking to the midwives during my second pregnancy and was pretty much dismissed.

I would want to know whether the product helped with minor problems and stress incontinence - as in leaking if I have to unexpectedly sprint after my toddler with a full bladder, having to tense when sneezing. It really is the final bit of improvement I need, not going from dreadful to better. Also how long you need to use it for each day - it doesn't look like you would do it in the bus queue!

I would want to buy online. Whilst I have spoken to a couple of friends who have similar issues, or participated in jokes about trampolining, no way would I want to buy it at a toddler group!

Cost looks ok to me. My maternity certificate has long run out and I'd pay the difference between prescription and £30 just for the privilege of not dragging two toddlers to the GP and the chemist!

3duracellbunnies Tue 17-Jul-12 14:53:31

I might go to the GP if it was a continuing problem, but more likely to buy something on internet. Probably wouldn't pay more than 40 quid. It is talked about, but usually as a joke, and associated with discussions of trampolines and bouncy castles (good advert material there). I wouldn't buy it through a friend/ toddler group, maybe at sure start centre/ 2yr check. I guess the GPs have other financial issues. I suppose if it reduces chance of prolapse that might be a marketting strategy for long term cost effectiveness.

nickelbarapasaurus Tue 17-Jul-12 15:03:15

~ We know Mumsnet is a good place to start (hence this thread!) but would you like to see a discount on Mumsnet for this product?
I'd like to see my GP prescribe it, or at the very least let us know that it's available if we have problems with sorting out our Pelvic Floors.
~ Do you think it's the sort of thing you would buy or got to the GP for (if you were to experience this issue)? If not, why not? If so, why?
I don't know - the
~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?
Women and childbirth magazines, Bounty pack, WI Life.
~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?

~ What information would you like to know about the product?
I want to know if it actually works - it's the things like very minor control - the one where you don't want to get to the stage where yo uneed a wee, and does it work for the back end too?
~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?
IRL - most of my friends in their 40s and 50s say that their PF has never returned to normal
~ If you are too embarrassed to talk to your GP would you rather buy from a friend or alternative practitioner or through a toddler group contact etc?
I'd talk to the GP if I knew it was available on prescription.
~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?
dunno.
make them see that the Pelvic Floor problem is a real problem, and that it's not just as simple as a few squeezes here every day.

Let's see - my pelvic floor used to be made of steel - it was phenomenal!
After 1 DD (and an episiotomy), I can barely hold a wee or poo in.
this is the worst thing - I am getting better at holding the wee, but I don't get very long between that urge to wee and the need to go NOW
But when I need to poo, it's not even just that I have to go immediately, but it's that I can't push it all out - meaning that I end up with having to go again within an hour to finish it off.
But it doesn't matter how long I sit here and squeeze my muscles, it's been 7 months and I don't think they've improved much at all.
I can't tell how much I'm squeezing, or whether I'm squeezing the right muscles.
I also think the muscles are letting go by themselves (like I squeeze and try to count to 15, but by the time I've gone past 3 they're loose again)
What's worse, is that as I'm BFing, when I feed, I can't squeeze because it all gets swollen down there and I can't feel anything at all. That's the only time I'm sitting still long enough actually to do the exercises.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now