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A REVOLUTIONARY device which promises to improve women’s sex lives after pregnancy has become available on the NHS for the first time.
The PelvicToner, which resembles a clothes peg, is designed to ease stress incontinence – a condition that can affect women after childbirth and when they enter the menopause.
But its makers also claim that the GBP30 device can boost the sex lives of couples who have recently had a child.
It is available from GPs on prescription for just GBP7.40, and has been given the stamp of approval by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, which created a brand new drug tariff category of ‘Pelvic Toning Devices’ just for the device.
It exercises the pelvic floor muscles, and has proved to be especially effective in helping women regain bladder control after childbirth.
Many women find that they can suffer from the embarrassing incontinence, which affects one third of new mums, when they exercise, cough or even laugh.
And many go for years without talking to their GPs, suffering in silence.
Radio doctor Sarah Jarvis said, “On average women that do suffer with this problem wait four years before they talk to their GP.
“By middle age over half of all women will have suffered at some point with incontinence.
“This is an incredibly common problem and can have a simple solution, in many cases women just need to get over their embarrassment.
“What’s more embarrassing? Having a chat with your GP or living with the problem for thirty years?”
By exercising the pelvic floor or ‘Kegel’ muscles – named after gynaecologist Arnold Kegel – women are able to slowly regain control over their bladder.
The PelvicToner’s makers say that it is more effective than standard pelvic floor exercises, as it allows women to more accurately target the necessary muscles, and know when they are performing them correctly.
Normally, women need to attend sessions with a nurse or other qualified professional to give them proper guidance in performing the exercises.
The device, it is claimed, allows women to more easily locate and isolate their pelvic floor muscles by giving a tangible response or ‘bio-feedback’.
A clinical trial carried out by the Bristol Urology Institute (BUI) showed 75 per cent of women said they noticed an improvement within 4 months of using the device.
Professor Marcus Drake of BUI, who led a two-year trial of the product, said: “Continence service provision is patchy and this sort of product empowers women, gives them better privacy and the prospect of not wasting their time. In our study the PelvicToner aided women to identify their pelvic floor confidently.”
Mother-of-four Shelley Perfect, 26, said: “I purchased a Pelvic Toner in August 2010 after having my fourth Child.
“I noticed that, after having my third child that my pelvic floor muscles had become fairly weak, so I definitely wanted something to help after my fourth was born as I didn’t want to be incontinent at the age of 26.
“Also, after having my third child myself and my partner noticed our sex life wasn’t as great.
“I looked into getting the so-called ‘designer vagina’, but this was out of my price range. I did become extremely paranoid and our sex life was virtually non-existent.
“Since I purchased the PelvicToner, it has been one of the best buys I’ve ever made.
“I can now laugh, cough, sneeze, and jump up and down and exercise without leaking, as I did before.
“And my partner has noticed a huge difference.”