Pharmacists should not underestimate the power of a strong pelvic floor when helping patients prevent bladder weakness says Mike Lake, pharmacy sales manager for Innovo…


Community pharmacists have an important role to play in helping their customers discuss their bladder weakness in order to seek treatment.

A pharmacy is often the first point of call when a person has bladder weakness for the first time, so it is important that community pharmacists do not underestimate the positive impact they can have on their customers seeking help for this condition.

The majority of pharmacies now have consultation rooms where embarrassing conditions such as bladder weakness can be discussed in private – and in many appointments can be made.

However, if the discussion happens naturally in an aisle, for instance, given the sensitive nature of the subject matter a pharmacist or a staff member should always ask if the customer would prefer going to either a quiet corner or use the consultation room.

It is important to reassure them that the conversation will be entirely private as some people will be embarrassed to admit that they have bladder weakness or incontinence issues. Reassure the customer that bladder weakness for a variety of reasons is quite normal; one in three women will have urinary leaks when they cough, sneeze, lift something heavy or they might feel a sudden urge to have to visit the toilet immediately.

One in 10 men will also experience leaks, most often following a radical post-prostatectomy. The pharmacist or member of staff should find out from the customer what type of bladder weakness they have so that the right advice and recommended treatment plan can be provided.

Bladder weakness can really affect someone’s confidence, feeling of wellbeing and lifestyle. A pharmacist could recommend any number of different pads and pants on the market but unless the root cause of bladder weakness is treated (by strengthening the pelvic floor muscle) a person’s health and wellbeing may continue to suffer as they will still experience bladder weakness.

It is worth noting that women currently spend an average of £420 a year on absorbent pads which will spiral to thousands of pounds within just a few years.

Alternatively, they might recommend that Innovotherapy is tried, as this is the only clinically-proven, non-invasive way to restore the pelvic floor. In clinical trials 93% of Innovo users had a significant reduction in leaks after just four weeks, 86% of users were defined as dry after 12 weeks and 90% of users would recommend the therapy to others.

The pharmacist should always end the consultation by assuring them of their continued support if they have any questions.

Prevention is always better than cure and if someone requests advice on how to prevent bladder weakness in the first place – for instance if they were pregnant – there is a range of advice that can be offered. Pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises are commonly recommended to people suffering with leaks. However, these exercises can be difficult to master.

The pelvic floor is a key set of deep muscles situated in the pelvis. Correct contraction of the pelvic floor muscles for women involves squeezing and lifting under the pelvis up into the body, around the vagina.

For men, when lifting and squeezing the pelvis and tightening the right muscles, they should feel the base of the penis draw in and the scrotum lift.

A strong pelvic floor means everything is kept firmly in place and you should have full control over when, where and how often you visit the toilet, so the power of a strong pelvic floor is not to be underestimated.

Incontinence at a glance
• Between 3 and 6 million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinence.
• In the UK major faecal incontinence affects 1.4% of the general population over 40 years old and constipation affects between 3% and 15% of the population.
• In the UK 24% of older people are affected by urinary incontinence. Of those older people in institutional care, 30-60% are affected by urinary incontinence and 25% by bowel incontinence.