Scottish Physio Turns Leaks into Laughs for Women’s Health
#DryByChristmas is the latest attempt by Elaine Miller to change the world, one fanny at a time.
Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, award winning comedian and recovered incontinent, Elaine specialises in pelvic health and has an interest in the women who don’t seek help for their stress incontinence – which is about 75% of them. The barriers to help seeking need to be explored, and on September 24th 2021 Elaine is launching a social media campaign to attempt to do that and hopes that by December 24th, Christmas Eve, the participants will be #DryByChristmas.
There is solid evidence that up to 74% of women with stress incontinence who do pelvic floor exercises 3-10 times a day for a minimum of 3 months will regain bladder control. Elaine will post on social media 3 times a day to remind women to #DoYourPelvicFloorExercises. The content is frank, funny and factual and aims to teach women what a pelvic floor is, what it does, why having a good one is smashing, and where to take theirs if it seems a bit wonky.
Monash University collaborated with Elaine to research the use of humour as a health promotion tool. “A systematic review of humour-based strategies for addressing public health priorities,” was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health this August.
“we found that humour can act as an effective vehicle for delivering messages people might find fear-inducing or threatening. Humour, if used well, can be an emotional buffer that breaks down some of that fear so the underlying messages reach the intended audience and influence their behaviours and attitudes”
“Gusset Grippers” is Elaine’s comedy show about pelvic floors which won the Comedy Award at Fringe World, Australia in 2020. It features a prolapse chicken, a clitoris puppet, and a grand finale with a sparkly 5’4″ singing vulva. In August, her new show, “Viva Your Vulva” enjoyed a sell out run at this Edinburgh Fringe and was positively reviewed by critics and audience alike.
Elaine’s reach from social media, radio, podcasts and TV means that over 590 million people have heard her message of #LaughDontLeak– “and it’s not enough” she says “People think leaking is an inevitable consequence of ageing or parenthood, and that’s not true. I’ve seen that making people laugh about something embarrassing will make them talk about it, and talking is kryptonite to taboos”.
“There is a serious side to this – women’s incontinence and vaginal prolapse are a huge, hidden health issue in the UK. We don’t even know how much it costs the public purse, but Australia spends nearly $43billion every year on managing these conditions. That’s no joke”.
“Further to that, women’s sexual function relies on our pelvic floor muscles – so, #DryByChristmas might improve the nation’s orgasms. That’s the sciencey bit that women of all ages, races, orientations, and genders seem to be quite interested in” says Elaine “and I’m hoping to use that to encourage them to sign up to the social media campaign!”
Elaine will analyse the engagement data from #DryByChristmas and determine which content was most effective, and hopes to secure funding to run a formal public health campaign about pelvic health for women.
This field is niche, but as 1:3 women wet themselves, it’s a massive niche.
Elaine Miller twitter @gussiegrips
076976224190 FB:Gusset Grippers
Notes for editors:
Urinary incontinence affects 1:3 UK women and 1:9 UK men
1:10 people have bowel leakage
Only about 25% of women ever seek help for urinary incontinence
If women with stress incontinence do good pelvic floor contractions three times a day for three months up to 74% of them will be cured.
84% of stress incontinence can be cured in six physio sessions.
Leaking is a huge public health issue – it is linked to diseases of inactivity, one of which is coronary heart disease which is the most common cause of premature death in UK women.
Sexual function and pelvic floors are linked in both sexes. Pelvic floor exercises are thought to improve the quality of orgasms, and painful sex disorders respond to physiotherapy.
There is no data in the UK on the costs of incontinence, but Australia established in 2010 that the total cost to their public purse was $42.9 billion pa.
There is no public health vehicle to educate women about pelvic health or menopause in the UK.
BBC Stories video – 9 million views and 16 days on the BBC News app:
BBC Women’s Hour clip – https://twitter.com/bbcwomanshour/status/1090214299644149761?lang=en
Parliamentary Motion: https://bb.parliament.scot/Motions/DetailsPartial/S5M-21140/20200306
Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1753-6405.13142
Am I Making You Uncomfortable? Huffpost podcast, Jan 21: https://bit.ly/3EwkXLh
The Senior Sept 2021:
iNews, September 2021: https://bit.ly/3EywbyX
Scotsman August 2021: https://bit.ly/3zm3At1
Inactivity and premature deaths: