A Strong Pelvic Floor is Crucial

Jane Curtis Pelvic Floor Clinical Nurse Specialist CNS RGN DPSN

A strong pelvic floor is crucial for the prevention of pelvic floor prolapse.  This encompasses prolapse of the vaginal walls, bladder, uterus and bowel.  The weakening of these muscles can also lead to diminished sexual sensation and reduced libido, stress incontinence, a reduction in bowel and flatus control.  Some may also experience discomfort during intercourse.

These are not uncommon problems and can be anything from a minor aggravation for sufferers to the cause of major changes in lifestyle, distress and discomfort.  Recent studies have shown that 80% of women suffer with symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction during their lifetime.

Conservative treatment of PFD has developed significantly over recent decades to the extent that surgery for correction of prolapse and incontinence can, in many cases, be avoided. The Department of Health's National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends 'first line conservative treatment' of these problems.

Pelvic neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) provides effective treatment in PFD symptoms.  A low frequency of 10hz will strengthen the 'slow twitch' fibres while a higher frequency improves the performance of the 'fast twitch' pelvic muscle fibres.  Treatment is delivered through a small hand held pelvic neuromuscular stimulation Unit which can also be programmed by a specialist according to individual electromyography (EMG) results prior to beginning the treatment.  Depending on the degree of muscle dysfunction at onset the programme settings may be adjusted as the course progresses. The duration of treatment is often variable and determined by the preliminary EMG tests.  Further EMG tests are performed as treatment progresses to monitor the pelvic floor pressures.

Jane Curtis currently works as the Pelvic Floor Clinical Nurse Specialist at Dorset County Hospital and is part of the Pan Dorset Specialist Pelvic Floor Team.

Jane has had a specialist interest in bowel and bladder dysfunction for over twelve years and was appointed in 2007 to set up and develop the specialist conservative Pelvic Floor Service for the population of West Dorset.  The Service is now part of a global Service for Dorset incorporating Poole Hospital in the east.

She has spoken nationally on conservative pelvic floor treatment at both nursing and medical conferences including the Royal College of Surgeons and Oxford Pelvic Floor Masterclass.

Please refer to the website for more detailed information: www.janecurtispelvicfloor.co.uk.