1 in 3 women in this country are incontinent, and that's probably an underestimation, according to pelvic health physiotherapist Elaine Miller. She is making it her mission to get women talking about this, post-childbirth and otherwise. Physiotherapy is a straightforward cure for a lot of issues concerning incontinence and the pelvic floor, and Elaine wants people to know that help is out there.
How she gets the message out is slightly unusual though - her side job is as a stand-up comedian, and her show, Gusset Grippers, won Weirdest Show of the Fringe at the very first Edinburgh Festival she ever attended (that is a big deal by the way). Elaine is hilarious, there is no two ways about it - she had me in stitches during this interview - but she clearly is passionate about her role in improving female health, and preventing women from suffering in silence. As she says, there are too many women out there counting the miles between service stations, and once awareness increases, this problem should be a thing of the past. As a plus point, improved pelvic health = improved orgasms, so it's win win!
In this interview we discuss (in between laughs):
- Elaine's early career as a sports physio
- How she became interested in becoming a pelvic floor physio after the birth of her three children
- Her early forays into comedy and the realisation that she could use her platform as a comedian to raise issues around incontinence and childbirth
- The time her toddler accidentally ate a dog poo (yes, really)
- The barriers to women seeking help for incontinence, and the research behind people's embarrassment at their bowel and bladder dysfunction
- Exercising post pregnancy and use of physiotherapy to increase your capacity
- Combining the two to win 'Weirdest Show of the Fringe' at the first Edinburgh festival she attended and how she has developed her show to be comedy with a serious message, as well as a source of continuing professional development for healthcare professionals
- The future of her comedy show: men's health, sex ed, potty training
- The terminology of women's bodies, and the misuse of language surrounding gynaecological structures
- How an average week works out for her
- What the Baby Box Scheme constitutes in Scotland, and how Elaine wants to use it to inform women about pelvic health
- The links between post-natal incontinence and post-natal depression
- Her ambition to start a podcast, and conduct research via the podcast about the prevalence of women with incontinence
- Elaine's work with Pelvic Roar and what that organisation does
- Her upcoming gig dates, and a final plug for women to get help if they need it!