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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

Roseformeplease Tue 17-Jul-12 20:36:43

Yes, a discount would be great. I tried the weights things and then eventually bought a gadget for £50 which worked, over time.

I would have got it from GP but the problems weren't there in the post baby period, but some time later. I have seen a GP but they didn't really treat it as serious and it was uncomfortable to talk about. I would have preferred to talk to the HV who is lovely.

Advertise it in all the baby stuff you get free and also later when you are back in shape but the problem is still there.

I would need to know it works and how long it takes.

Mums make jokes about it ( particularly when they buy a trampoline) but I have never had a serious conversation.

Don't target GPs but get it out to midwives and HVs who are usually much more sympathetic, often have their own children and are just easier to talk to. Could it form part of a "Now your child is 1" questionnaire?

garlicbutter Tue 17-Jul-12 20:52:39

Why are you targeting this only at women with post-baby incontinence? What about older women and women with other weakening conditions?

I've got to say I'm unconvinced that it's any better than unaided exercises for the pelvic floor. I've looked at EMS vaginal exercisers - and would have bought one if they weren't so bloody expensive - as unaided exercise doesn't seem to be working well enough for me. I did look at your gadget as well, but it felt like you wanted £30 for a giant clothes peg, basically (sorry!)

If it cost more like a tenner, I'd have got one just to give it a chance.

garlicbutter Tue 17-Jul-12 21:04:39

Having said the above, I will now ask my GP to prescribe one.

Your website doesn't inspire confidence for some reason. Now I've read it properly, it does contain all the right information. But it looks more like one of those shouty ad sites for useless money-making schemes, iykwim. It should look more bothered about how the customer feels on visiting the site, and have a menu in the form of questions that potential users would ask.

Rara27 Tue 17-Jul-12 21:30:39

~ 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 please smile My youngest is almost 3, and I hvae never heard of this product before, MATexemption long ran out!

~ 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 assumed it is something all women put up with after giving birth. Probably be a it embarassed going to my GP about it now though

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?

Where is it currently advertised? The maternity units would be a start though, and the health visiting/baby weigh in clinics. Perhaps be given a leaflet at 6 week check?

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

That we don;t have to put up with it and it's 'normal' and an effective treatment.

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

Probably alot more than we could afford
~ What information would you like to know about the product?

Price, how it works, real womens stories/outcomes

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

More of a taboo I would think. It depends how close your circle of friends are. Frist time mums may be more inclined to keep quiet 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?

Not sure on tht one. Perhaps an online option?

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

I guess if it were more openly talked about more GPs would know there was a problem. Though I tend to be a bit more open with my health visitor these days

burleyburley Tue 17-Jul-12 21:38:13

- of course we'd like a mumsnet discount. Would that also mean it would more easily appear in peoples searches? I expect it's a problem that is googled more often than docs are visited about it.

- I would prob think to buy this rather than go to gp. Although if I was made aware from health visitor/midwife about I may go to go first.

- could be in the bounty packs that seem to be flung at you every time you move. Also maybe in boots parent packs. Every new mum has that free change bag from boots. Should be on Internet as I expect symptoms would be googled. Maybe on baby related sites. Maybe midwives could be sent info? Posters in surestart centres.

- that there's no need to be leaky

- £25/30

- what it looks like and what you do with it

- would talk to other close friends who are mums too

- would never buy from a friend, even less so a contact at toddler group. Either gp or t'interweb.

- by making it cheap! Maybe pointing out the costs of dealing with this down the line. Pointing out they will have to deal with less problems in older ladies in the future.

narkynorks Tue 17-Jul-12 21:44:34

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, always good to get money off!
~ 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?
Would possibly buy it if I had persistent issues, but less likely to go to GP for it and just get it myself.
~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?
Antenatal classes
~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?
Details about how effective it is and how long you have to use it to see results
~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?
Not sure, but would hope it would be less than £20
~ What information would you like to know about the product?
How it works
~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?
Only with a few close friends
~ 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?
Yes, HV possibly or MW?
~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?
Commission! grin

ninja Tue 17-Jul-12 21:46:44

I used this and found it good - but probably not for long enough 'cos anything like this is a bit of a faff. Not difficult though.

A lot of woman go to postnatal groups/baby massage so maybe working on the health visitors who run these things. I had specific meetings about first aid, weaning, ..,. so one about post natal health and fitness that included mention of the pelvic floor might be a good idea.

It tends to be health visitors rather than GPs who see mums post birth and can't they prescribe some things? Get it on their list!

msrantsalot Tue 17-Jul-12 22:08:43

I would just show a pic of a woman on a bus, having a laugh with her pal, then getting off the bus and leaving behind a puddle...at which point the caption would come up, Buy our pelvic floor exercise thingy, no more embarrassing puddles and a phone number. betcha youd make a fortune!

msrantsalot Tue 17-Jul-12 22:11:09

Or you could get Dara O'Brien to do a mumsnet gig, then see how many seats had puddles...then get Dara to advertise...BTW did I tell you I like Dara?

steppemum Tue 17-Jul-12 22:40:27

I think pelvic floor problems are still quite taboo. I don't think it is something I have ever talked about in RL.
I was shocked after 1st dc that I had such poor bladder control (having always had a bladder of steel) and also no-one told me that I would have trouble with tampons. For me, as someone who has heavy periods, that was a nightmare.

It wouldn't have occurred to me to go to the gp, just assumed it was what you had to put up with.
I would like to see it talked about in women's magazines, radio 4 women's hour etc. not mother and baby mags as I never read those.

I am not sure I would buy it unless I was desparate.
I tried doing exercises, but it wasn't very easy to make progress, at the beginning I couldn't find the muscles to do anything!

It got better after dd1 and now after dd2, isn't too bad.

Actually I would not have done anything about this post natally. There is too much going on. It is later once life has settled and you want your sex life back that you might do something about it.

maples Tue 17-Jul-12 22:41:00

It is definitely a taboo.

Will see if I can think of any clever marketing ideas confused

CheeryCherry Tue 17-Jul-12 23:09:56

Yes to discount obviously. Yes I would consider buying it, especially online-less embarrassing. Would expect it to be around £20. Have discussed it with a pal who has had an op to try sort it. Would advertise on tv, in magazines, get lots of positive reviews. May go to gp for it if I knew it was free and it worked. Wonder how bad you would have to be though?

ShotgunNotDoingThePans Tue 17-Jul-12 23:52:13

Just skimmed this thread as I have to go to bed, but I bought one of these a few years ago (they're also marketed as the Sexerciser by Kegel8 and others; make of that what you will).

I agree with what others have said about the whole thing being a palaver - it takes a good few minutes to do a complete 'session' and I for one have neither the time nor the inclination to poke around in my nether regions for several minutes a day. Plus you just can't avoid the fact it looks like a sex toy - so it has to be washed and buffed after every use and put away in case the DCs find it - making it less likely you'll remember to pick it up the next day. Neither is it user-friendly; it's rock-hard, brittle plastic, unwieldy and unbending.

I was very dis-heartened when I had to have it on its widest setting and could still barely get it to move - a depressing legacy from an almost-12-pounder, a gynaecogical experience from which I very much doubt there is any coming back to 'normal.'

That said, having read others' comments on its effectiveness, I might dig mine out (fnar) and try again - especially since I now struggle at the gym which is potentially a hideously embarrassing experience.

EllenParsons Wed 18-Jul-12 01:25:38

~ 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, 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?
Yes I would go to the GP, as they should be able to deal with the issue and I feel like even if it is an embarrassing problem, for a doctor it is a case of "nothing they haven't seen before", so I would not be so embarrassed in the privacy of a doctor's surgert

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?
Maybe in the toilet cubicles as it is kind of related to that? Also just general advertising e.g. in women's magazines, do a promotion in a shop like Boots or in the Boots mag?

~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?
Something focussing on the effectiveness of the results

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?
No idea, to be honest

~ What information would you like to know about the product?
How to use, how long it takes to get results, how effective it is, price

~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?
I think it is a bit 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?
I would not be embarrassed at the GP but would definitely be embarrased at a toddler group or with friends! If not at the GPs I would rather buy online

~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?
By showing them it is effective

why no one ever mentions you can have surgery to fix the problem, instead of faffing with toners for the rest of our lives?

I plan to just stitch the torn muscles in place as soon as I'm done having babies and use exercise just as a complement.

justaboutisnowakiwi Wed 18-Jul-12 06:50:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I am having mild problems - am pg with no 2 - and me referred me to physio. She said no leakage is normal at our age and even said friends who have to concentrate when they sneeze should seek help.

I talk to friends who have had kids about it. Not others.

I wouldn't buy because I'd think it was pseudo science not a proper medical thing, unless it came from doc.

ShatnersBassoon Wed 18-Jul-12 09:26:30

I wouldn't be embarrassed to talk to my GP about this problem, but it would be good if it was mentioned as routine during the 6 week postnatal check-up to make women feel more comfortable about discussing the issue.

I think I'd rather go to the GP to find out about using one of these toners, in case I was barking up the wrong tree and my pelvic floor wasn't the issue at all. I'm not sure I would pay a lot of money for something that might not be able to cure me, so would want medical advice before committing.

I'd probably want to see the adverts in magazines aimed at women of all ages (everything from Glamour to People's Friend), and in Bounty publications that are given to pregnant women and new mothers.

I would be more embarrassed to discuss these problems with friends and family than I would with my GP or other health professional such as a Health Visitor or midwife.

Jins Wed 18-Jul-12 09:30:20

~ 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? Yes. A few weeks ago I actually printed out the data and asked my GP to prescribe. They refused

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised? Appropriate magazines

~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you? That specific exercise can make a big difference in later life

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy? £15-30 based on my research a few weeks ago

~ What information would you like to know about the product? success rates. Situations where the use of the product is unsuitable

~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo? It's discussed in a jokey way but never in a positive light. I can't recall anyone suggesting anything other than exercises

~ 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? Absolutely not. An alternative practitioner would be OK but I'd never buy this from a friend. I'm too old for toddler groups now but I wouldn't have exposed my pelvic floor issues to the dragons at toddler group grin

~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner? Do what the drug companies do. Set aside a huge budget for entertainment. Take them to play golf or to a conference in LA or give them a laptop. However this is not my favoured approach at all because it just pushes up the product price for the NHS and indivduals wanting to buy it. In my experience GPs are very set in their ways and that's sad. I'd actually focus on the gynae consultants and gynae phsyiotherapists initially and the word will eventually filter down

GetKnitted Wed 18-Jul-12 10:08:47

I certainly wouldn't talk to my current gp about an 'embarressing' condition as she is a judgemental, arrogantwitch lady.

(I really should change my gp, but haven't had much luck with doctors in my area)

I think the key to the advertising, might be doing it in this sort of environment, which is largely anonymous, gives women evidence that they are not alone, they should not be embarressed, and that they really can solve the problem.

I hadn't really heard of this before but after a few leaky instances in my second pregnancy, I would definitely be keen to buy and use something like this is issues didn't improve. I expect the incontinence would need to be pretty bad before a GP would prescribe this?

Otherwise I would purchase online and expect to oay about £40 and if there was a Mumsnet discount, even better.

Getting on this thread to answer properly later - I am evangelical about the Aquaflex cones system. Didn't realise there was a problem until around 4 months though - 6 week check was too soon for me to realise as I was still healing.

Tamoo Wed 18-Jul-12 10:31:01

My stepmother (British expat) lives in France and I remember a few years ago she told me about the PFT. She was given it without asking and apparently it's given to new mothers as a matter of routine over there.

I think WRT to the way things are done over here, post partum care is very much focused on the baby esp if you have had a straightforward/low intervention delivery. There needs to be a broader focus generally on what a mother may expect in terms of physical and emotional changes after she leaves hospital. Information on the availability of the PFT could be included in this perhaps in the form of literature to take away or including it as part of the midwife/HV remit? It should of course be available on prescription; as for direct purchase, I guess for what it is it's unreasonable to expect a price lower than about £15, while anything over £25 would (for me anyway) put it out of a feasible bracket.

I don't think bladder problems are necessarily taboo however it is definitely something that is treated jokingly in the first instance, eg 'oh I can't laugh that hard any more, I might lose a bit of wee ha ha', I mean in the sense that people disguise how relentless and wearying the problem is by treating it lightly.

Shouldacouldawoulda Wed 18-Jul-12 10:41:26

~ 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? Of course. smile

~ 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 care is kind of retrospective when you have your first. I wish I'd been better informed and offered this product.

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised? On other parenting sites and in parenting magazines, doctors surgeries, Bounty/new mother packs.

~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you? Straight forward, informative, factual information. No hard sell, no flowery language.

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy? If it's available on prescription no more than £15 to buy privately.

~ What information would you like to know about the product? How it works, component parts, safety, hygiene, effectiveness.

~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo? Nothing is taboo after childbirth when you are with other mums. smile

~ 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? Health visitors should promote it to avoid any issues of embarrassment.

~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the Pelvic Toner? Inform women it is available and no doubt they will request it.

LettyAshton Wed 18-Jul-12 10:54:16

* 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 might buy if if I were desperate, and I would (and have been!) to the GP.

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?

6-week check up; leaflet handed out at smear test appointments

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

A guarantee of success!

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

No idea - but if it's very effective then would pay up to £50

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

How it works and why it is better than self-help

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

Can have the odd joke, but the issue soon morphs from a "new mum" joke into a "smelly old lady" problem

~ 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?

Would rather speak to neutral GP than some random person at a toddler group

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

If it had proven results and could cut down on incontinence in later life.

I went to the GP with this problem after ds was born, and was referred to an incontinence clinic 25 miles away! A 25-mile drive, plus about a mile-long walk from the car park to the clinic was a nightmare! I used to have an iron bladder but now am one of those people who is always scanning the horizon for a ladies'.

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