Whether she’s the devil in disguise or your guardian angel, mothers-in-law are difficult to dodge. The 28th October marks World Mother in Law Day, creating a great opportunity for you to reach out and share your health goals and tips between generations.
Nowadays, young women are taking control and refusing to be passive when it comes to their health. A lot has changed in women’s health over the past few decades, so why not pass on some of your youthful wisdom.
What Has Changed in Women’s Pelvic Health Since Your Mother-in-Law was Born?
- 1940s – Dr Arnold Kegel wrote articles that highlighted the importance of pelvic floor muscles and the concept of training them to achieve pelvic fitness. His legacy is the name that many use to refer to pelvic floor exercises – “Kegels”. Dr. Kegel determined that a successful programme must include four elements: muscle education, feedback, resistance and progressive intensity. He emphasised the importance of a meticulous routine performed with the aid of an intra-vaginal device (known as a perineometer) to provide both resistance and biofeedback.
- 1950s – Pelvic floor muscle training began to be recommended for pelvic floor dysfunctions, limiting issues such as prolapse and urinary incontinence.
- 1960s – Behavioural approaches to chronic pelvic pain were introduced, with a focus on relaxation training. Dr Thiele observed an increased incidence of patients complaining of pelvic and rectal pain. He developed an internal digital massage technique, which is today performed as part of pelvic floor physical therapy.
- 1970s – Gynaecologists began using surgical mesh products for pelvic organ prolapse repair.
-The Childbirth Research Centre funded breakthrough research into safe laser treatment for cervical cancer.
-Contraception also became available through the NHS. It is estimated that 70% of all women in Britain have used the pill at some point in their life.
- 1980s – The introduction of biofeedback: the strength of the pelvic floor muscles could now begin to be evaluated.
- 1990s – Urogynecologists began using surgical mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence and vaginal repair of pelvic organ prolapse. Laparoscopy was also tested as a treatment for endometriosis thanks to The Childbirth Research Centre funding.
- 2000s - Kegel8’s range of pelvic floor exercising devices are launched:
-2004 – Kegel8 Tight and Tone Electronic Pelvic Toner.
-2006 – Kegel8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toner.
- 2010s – Kegel8’s Glide Gold Probe is the first vaginal probe to be developed for prolapse and seated pelvic floor exercises.
-2018 - The use of surgical mesh is suspended and recommended only as the last resort option for women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence.
Kegel8’s Top Tips for Exceptional Pelvic Health
Starting a conversation about pelvic health may seem like an uncomfortable topic, but if you notice that your mother-in-law is going to the bathroom frequently, or even sitting uncomfortably, asking about her pelvic health could open a gateway of solutions for her. If your knowledge about pelvic health is sparse, fear not, as our team at Kegel8 have produced a list of our top tips for top-notch pelvic health:
- Do Your Kegels! – Performing your pelvic floor muscle exercises are a guaranteed way to keep your pelvic floor supple and strong. You may find it easy to do the manual Kegel exercises, but your mother-in-law may find it a bit more difficult. But this is no problem, she can easily use the Kegel8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toner to strengthen and maintain healthy pelvic floor muscles. If she doesn’t want to use a probe, that’s no problem! The skin electrodes can still help strengthen those muscles and you can Kegel together without any embarrassment. You can also channel some of that rivalry by downloading our 12-week Kegel exercise guide and challenging each other to achieving the perfect pelvic floor.
- Shrink the Scales – Careful how you word this tip to your mother-in-law, it could result in some unwanted tension. But it’s extremely important to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise in order to keep your pelvic floor strong and supportive. Read more about how weight gain can affect the pelvic floor here.
- Whine about Wine – It’s hard to resist a glass or two, but it’s important to know that alcohol can impact on your pelvic floor functions. Alcohol can irritate the bladder and make overactive bladder symptoms even worse. It may be worth eliminating alcohol if you suffer from incontinence.
- Stop Smoking – 1 in 5 adults smoke cigarettes in the UK and it can severely impact on their pelvic health. Not only can smoking cause incontinence but it’s also associated with bladder cancer. Read more about the effects of smoking on your pelvic health here.
- Prevent Pressure – When you are constipated you strain whilst going to the toilet and this can put a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor. Be sure to eat plenty of fruit, veg and fibre-rich foods (wholegrain bread, whole wheat pasta etc) and try the Go Better Toilet Stool for easier toilet trips.
Help raise awareness of the importance of pelvic health by passing your pelvic health wisdom onto your mother-in-law this World Mother-in-Law Day!
Share your top tips with us on Twitter.
 Cancer Research UK (2014) Tobacco Statistics [online]. Cancer Research UK. [viewed 11/09/2018]. Available from https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/tobacco#heading-Zero
 Daroff, R.B., Jankovic, J., Mazziotta, J.C., Pomeroy, S.L. Bradley’s Neurology in Clinical Practice [eBook]. Elsevier Health Sciences: 2015, p. 607. Available from https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=oX3OCgAAQBAJ&dq=pelvic+health+in+the+1960s&source=gbs_navlinks_s
 Marques, A., Stothers, L., Macnab, A. (2010) The Status of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training for Women [online]. Canadian Urological Association Journal [viewed 03/10/2018]. 4(6), pp. 419-424. Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2997838/
 Raz, S., Rodriguez, L.V. Female Urology [e-Book]. Elsevier Health Sciences: 2008, p. 909. Available from https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=aV6Pup1ZUoUC&dq=pelvic+health+research+in+the+1960s&source=gbs_navlinks_s
 Shobeiri, S.A. (ed.). Practical Pelvic Floor Ultrasonography: A Multicompartmental Approach to 2D/3D/4D Ultrasonography of the Pelvic Floor. Springer: 2017.
 Shoskes, D.A. (e.d.) Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome. Springer Science & Business Media: 2008. P. 134.
 Wellbeing of Women (2017) IWD: How has Women’s Health Pressed for Progress over the years? [online]. Wellbeing of Women [viewed 03/10/2018]. Available from https://www.wellbeingofwomen.org.uk/timeline-womens-health-international-womens-day/