Pelviva believes that now, more than ever, women need a stronger Pelvic Floor if we’re not to return to the Urinary Leash that constrained women in Victorian times.
Finding a loo is already stressful for women (and men) who experience bladder leakage. In a survey of 2,000 women over 40, 77% admitted, that on occasion, they did not always make it to the toilet in time and 30% always planned their toilet stops before setting off.1
In a separate poll we conducted this week, the number of people worried about the availability of loos has nearly doubled. Just under two thirds (64%) are anxious about the availability of places to go to the loo post-lockdown compared to the third (35%) who weren’t worried before the nation was affected by Covid-19.2
‘Adventure wees’ (finding a place to wee outside) could increase if, post-lockdown, cafes, restaurant and pub loos and public conveniences are harder to access, or there are longer queues for those that are in use due to social distancing and increased cleaning requirements.
In our poll, 87% of those questioned confessed to ‘adventure wees’ with location confessions ranging from ‘In my toddler’s potty’, to behind a quaint church in the midst of a French vineyard’, whilst others have already admitted to going in their parents’ gardens during lockdown’2.
Saska Graville, founder of MPowered Women, a resource of inspiration to help women power through the menopause, recently shared her ‘adventure wee’ story saying “Out walking during lockdown, I realised that the little cafes and shops I’d pop into to visit the loo were all closed. So, on my walks, I’ve found my ‘wee tree’ in a London park. It’s hidden away but I know, if I suddenly have the urge to go when I’m out walking or exercising, I can.”
One way to help avoid ‘adventure wees’, improve bladder control and help women to hold on longer could be building a Pelvic Floor exercise regime. Weak Pelvic Floor muscles are one of the main causes of bladder leakage and a reason why women go to the toilet ‘just in case’ and are unable to hold on with a strong urge to go to the toilet (Urgency incontinence).
Pelvic Floor exercises are recommended by the NHS to improve bladder control (The NHS recommends doing them regularly three times a day) but, in our lockdown loo survey, whilst 91% said they knew Pelvic Floor exercises could improve bladder control, only 23% said they actually did them regularly2.
Pelvic health physiotherapist and Clinical Director at Pelviva, Julia Herbert explains, “At Pelviva we are passionate about helping women to build a Pelvic Floor exercise regime to improve their bladder control. Like all muscles, those in your Pelvic Floor need to be regularly exercised to keep them strong meaning less leaks and enabling women to hold on for longer if they need the toilet on car journeys or if they’re worried about where the next toilet stop is going to be. Pelviva can help strengthen Pelvic Floor muscles to improve bladder control and extend the ‘Urinary Leash’.
Pelviva is running a #stopsqueezeandselfie campaign to encourage all women to do their Pelvic Floor exercises regularly and take a selfie to share with friends and family.
Assorted Loo Facts
- Loo of the year 2019 went to Intu Shopping Centres (over 6,000 inspected). Previous winners have included J D Wetherspoon, McDonalds and Gatwick Airport.
- Link to the Great British Toilet Map showing location of public conveniences in the UK.
- Currently, local councils aren’t legally obliged to make provisions for public toilets and there is no national legislation on the provision of public loos.
- The most remote public loo in the UK is at Cape Wrath, the most north westerly point in the UK.
- The first British flushing toilet was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
- In Victorian Britain most public toilets were for men which affected women’s ability to travel – they could only travel as far as their bladders would allow e.g. to where family and friends resided – which was termed the ‘urinary leash’.
- One in three women are affected by bladder leakage – the single largest condition in female health.
- The Urinary Leash is the term used to define how far women could travel (usually to friends or relatives’ homes) as there were no public toilet facilities available for women until after 1851.
- 1. Femeda data on file. Survey of 2000 women over 40. Aug 2019
- 2. Survey of 200 respondents 31.05.20 – 4.6.20. 90% female.