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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

prettybird Tue 24-Jul-12 09:13:23

I have some damage to my pelvic floor but ironically it didn't manifest itself as "ordinary" incontinence but in my inability to keep in a tampon. Therefore, it's not somethng that would have been picked up at the 6 week check - or even necessarily in the first year while I would have still held a maternity exemption certificate. It was asking for advice on Mumsnet about whether this was normal that encouraged me to go to my GP and he was very understanding and arranged a referral to the Gynae physios. I have a very good GP and I have no qualms about discussing personal issues with him.

Turns out that all the Pilates I had been doing had been compensating for the damage that was done (induced, forceps delivery and a baby over 4kg - yet I considered that I had had a natural birth purely because it was vaginal and not a c-section which was my big fear hmm); I had no tone whatsoever on one side and had lost the "cough" reflex. I managed to recover it to a certain extent with the exercises she gave me, but not totally.

I may well consider a PelvicToner and a discount would of course be useful. I do notice that whenever I have a break from Pilates (like at the the moment - the summer holidays) my pelvic tone decreases.

Never really talked with friends about it - but that was partly because I had ds at a different time to when they were having kids, so not because of any embarassment. I have talked about it at Mumsnet meet-ups though! wink

blueskycp Tue 24-Jul-12 11:54:39

I would be interested in trying this product. Two babies and a hysterectomy within the space of two years has left me somewhat damaged in that department! I haven't mentioned it to my GP yet - I guess it's just something I feel I have to cope with but it does get me down sometimes i.e. coughing and sneezing, not being able to run around with DD's etc.

SaffronCake Tue 24-Jul-12 16:10:29

I had no idea some women were unable to locate their pelvic floor.

I have been dong PF exercises very regularly since my third baby was born breach 9 months ago and have noted very little improvement. I've followed all the print out stuff and yeah... It's not happening. I still dread coughing. I no longer wear pale colours below the waist.

I think you need to make sure the advertising get the message over that some women can't work out how to do them, but sensitively, so it's not coming over as "you're doing it wrong".

You should also be on Twitter, I realise you're on FB but not everyone uses it. It could be a challenge to think of enough to tweet but do give it a go. And the website could do with a facelift. I know none of that sounds relevant but you would be surprised how much good visibility online and pleasant presentation helps spread a word. It doesn't have to be all flashy, just a bit simpler and softer. People attach better to sympathisable causes with an attractive aesthetic (which probably explains why puppy charities do better than child abuse charities).

And for private sales you need to reassure people the packaging is discrete. I have just ordered one and I will be rushing to get to the post first. USI is not something I really want anyone to know. Not even my GP. I just want it fixed ASAP.

missorinoco Tue 24-Jul-12 20:21:53

What an interesting topic. I hadn't heard of the product previosuly.

I agree wholeheartedly we need to raise awareness of the issue, both to enable women to feel more comfortable seeing their GPs about it, and to raise awareness of the importance of good pelvic floor exercises.

Initially I would have said I wouldn't be interested in a discount, as I wouldn't buy a product on prescription, but as pointed out earlier, actually I may not want tos ee my GP about it.
So yes, I think a discount would be good. How much would the product cost? - £30 (a guess).

Where can you adverstise it - anywhere, in glossy women's magazines, in women's running magazines, in pregnancy and childbirth magazines, on television, in GP surgeries, in pharmacies, and on online shopping websites such as Boots, Sainsburys, etc.

Do I talk about it? Generally no, but I have mentioned it to friends in the context of exercising, where it came as a surprise to me. It annoys me that I do not wish to discuss it with my husband as I think it will make me appear less attractive and sexually appealing, specifically I think this is my issue I am reflecting on to him.

Persuade GPs to prescribe it - presumably it costs more tghan the precription charge, so I doubt they will be running around to prescribe it willy nilly, but I would be surprised if they were refusing it. Maybe raise awareness of the product and it's effectiveness to primary care?

HairyPoppins Tue 24-Jul-12 22:55:49

~ 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, definitely!

~ 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've been to the GP, consultant, practice nurse etc about my double incontinence (suffered a 4th degree tear with a big first baby and poorly managed induced labour) but the NHS won't take it any further until after I have completed my family as exercises and physio have not worked. I've been advised that after I have reached menopause I will be considered for a tape operation but frankly I'll try anything in the meantime to try to improve my quality of life - and to find an alternative to the expense of incontinence protection. I'm worried that the longer I leave it, the worse it will get and that responsibility lies with me - if the health professionals can't help me, I will do everything to help myself.

~ Where else do you think it can be advertised?
I think some joint marketing with companies like Ann Summers would be useful.

~ What kind of message would be most persuasive to you?
Prevent long term problems, easy to use, improves confidence and sex life (see above).

~ How much do you think it would cost to buy?
Other folk on the thread have said £30, which I think is fantastic, although I am going to badger my GP for one on prescription this week.

~ What information would you like to know about the product?
How to use it, how long you have to use it before you see results, how long you need to use it each day. What sort of results you can expect, what specific type of incontinence it might help with.

~ Is this the sort of topic you talk about in real life with other mums or are pelvic floor and bladder issues taboo?
I've spoken about it with friends who have larger families - they look aghast when they realise I have this after only one child! I've spoken about it with one very lovely, non-judgemental friend but I'm not sure I could talk to anyone else about it in real life, not even my mum. So it still feels pretty taboo to me.

~ 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 am beyond embarrassment with my GP now, but would probably buy online as a preference or in a shop like Ann Summers or Boots where they are used to selling potentially embarrassing items. If I can buy Tena Lady at the supermarket, I should think I would buy this device there too.

~ How do you think they could persuade more GPs to prescribe the PelvicToner?
Raise awareness of its existence, possibly via physiotherapists, health visitors or practice nurses.

Hopezibah Tue 24-Jul-12 23:13:41

I think Mumsnet and other online forums (including facebook) would be a good place to raise awareness and reduce the 'tabooness' of the subject. Using online channels and also in womens / parenting / pregnancy magazines to advertise the product with some advertorial type content would help women realise there is a product out there that can help them.

If it is available without prescription too - then a discount / offer would be good. I would expect the cost to be around the £10 mark.

I am guessing that GP's are not readily prescribing due to a) budget issues and b) not being asked for this product specifically (ie even if someone visits GP unless they mention they want this product, then GP might just tell them to do pelvic floor excercises without it or that things will just improve over time by itself etc).

If GP's are not on board, perhaps focus on midwives and health visitors to raise awareness amongst them so they can inform mums to go to the GP to get it.

I think there needs to be a combined push / pull marketing effort involved at least to start with i.e. make end users aware so they are asking for it and push via GPs/ midwives/ health visitors and through online sales / online websites / forums etc.

The kind of message that would be persuasive is that it is a common problem (i.e. you are not alone) and their IS something that can help and has been proven to help.

~ What information would you like to know about the product?
How to use it - i.e. if i was worried about using it - something that would reassure me that it is simple to use.

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

yes - do talk about.

Try to show / demonstrate to GP's that this is a more cost effective route for them to prevent further (more costly) problems later on! so a bit of joined up thinking by the health service would go a long way in helping those with this problem!

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 26-Jul-12 10:33:48

Thanks again for all the comments - very useful for PelvicToner - am pleased to say turkeyboots has been selected as the winner of the £100 High Street voucher. Well done.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 26-Jul-12 11:27:08

Very useful for us all too - to have an opportunity to discuss this issue with each other.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 27-Jul-12 07:53:23

excellent juggling....!

Kveta Fri 27-Jul-12 15:28:09

well I asked GP about it at my 6 week postnatal check, and she said she'd never heard of anything except pelvic floor exercises to deal with post childbirth issues.

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