Pregnancy-related urinary incontinence – comedian Elaine Miller’s story

A Scottish physiotherapist’s plan to help women with a wee problem is proving laughter is good medicine.

Elaine's stand-up show Gusset Grippers was named "Weirdest Show" at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe

Comedian Elaine Miller is using her own experience of pregnancy-related incontinence to help the one-in-three UK women with the condition.

Her educational stand-up show Gusset Grippers was named Weirdest Show of the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Miller, a mum of three, said research revealed a program of three exercises performed three times daily for 16 weeks could bring relief to 80 per cent of sufferers.

“I couldn’t get my head around the stats,” the Edinburgh resident said.

“Physiotherapy is the best thing to manage it (incontinence) and prevent it from happening.”

Miller said the pelvic floor’s job was to “squeeze and lift” but it could become overloaded during pregnancy or from having a body mass index above 35, leading to incontinence.

Miller said she experienced incontinence after her children were born, but was too exhausted to think about pelvic floor exercises.

“The times I did used to wet myself I was lugging a pram with a baby, had a toddler behind the pram and a reluctant preschooler in tow.

“The forces women deal with at that stage of life are really significant,” she said.

Miller says physiotherapy is the best thing to manage incontinence and prevent it from happening

She said: “Once I started doing it (exercises) it worked and I’m kind of ashamed to say I was a bit surprised.”

Miller said a chance conversation at the school gate revealed how little other mums knew about the benefits of pelvic floor exercises.

“Because it wasn’t a patient consultation, I was being a bit irreverent... then I thought perhaps I could use humour to sell the message,” she said.

Miller also hosts "pelvic floor parties" to educate women and regularly receives follow-up emails from guests who were too embarrassed to ask questions.

“If you get people laughing, they will start having a conversation and that’s all it seems to take,” she said.

Follow Elaine on Twitter @gussiegrips


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