I wonder what makes it OK to talk openly about breast health yet we still find it awkward to discuss problems with our downstairs department?

We all go a bit embarrassed, give it a silly name and laugh it all off – foof, privates, mini, Mary – God forbid we use the medical V word. Yet suffering problems in THAT area is just as valid and distressing as suffering problems in any other part of the body. So why do we all blush and stay hush? Let’s get it out there. Not literally. But let‘s talk about life’s leaks and bulges. In other words, incontinence or prolapse.

Tender moment between a mother and her 11 days old newborn baby

Hell it’s one crazy unattractive subject – but a third of women suffer at some point in their lives. Childbirth is superb at messing up our down belows but is it any wonder? Babies are big in relative terms to a body part that generally speaking isn’t.

Glamorous gorgeous types have spoken publically about it in the last year.


Actress Kate Winslet laughed on the Graham Norton show as rapper 50 Cent sat in awe when he learnt that three sneezes in a row can trigger an oops moment. Athlete Denise Lewis, TV host Nadia Sawalha and Ronnie Wood’s ex wife Jo have all openly told how they have taken steps to fix it. The latest is Daniella Westbrook who has been criticised for going public about a revolutionary laser procedure to fix her downstairs. Instead of questioning her motives maybe we should praise her for being brave enough to be so open and for bringing the subject up in a light hearted and fun way. OK so maybe you think she is milking another publicity opportunity – but for me – somebody who campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of an operation using a mesh bladder sling to fix incontinence – it is another perfect opportunity to get the discussion going. It means the serious issue of incontinence can be brought out into the open and it means women too shy to talk about it can at least read the stories and go to Google to look at how they can fix it.

For most mums who suffer we laugh it off – squeeze before we sneeze or cross our legs if we laugh too hard, but the truth is it is an annoying problem. It can easily be fixed with good pelvic floor therapy available for free on the NHS. All you have to do is ask your GP
Sadly in the UK this is not given much publicity at the new baby stage and women just put up and shut up until in some cases it gets progressively worse as the years go on.

In France 20 physio sessions are offered as standard to new mums. So why not give it a go? What have you got to lose? If it doesn’t work there are natural surgical solutions like a sling made out of your own tissue or a Burch colposupension which is like a hitch and stitch.

As somebody who has run Sling The Mesh campaign for 18 months my advice is steer well clear of a day case op called the TVT or TVTO which uses a mesh tape sling to hoist things up. For some women it can work wonders – but for others it can cause life altering risks of chronic pain in the pelvis, groin and vagina which has left women losing their sex lives. It can cause lifelong UTIs, problems going to the toilet and allergic reactions leading to inflammation in the stomach or triggering auto immune diseases.

You might be one of the lucky ones – but you might not. Do you really want to play Russian roulette with your health? Some women are fine for years and then, as if from nowhere, experience problems up to 14 years down the line. Try natural solutions and say no to mesh surgery.

Yes incontinence and prolapse are embarrassing and distressing – but a mesh operation could just make it all so much worse.



I am a 49 year old mum of two girls living in Cambridgeshire. I work as a journalist with Archant Newspapers and before that ran my own contemporary children's nursery photography business for 15 years. The work involved running around after little ones at nurseries, rolling about on the floor and generally getting down to their level in order to capture their day at nursery with natural images for parents to buy. I had to give up my business after having a TVT mesh bladder sling operation to fix stress urinary incontinence as the operation left me unable to run around after the children like I used to. I now run a campaign called Sling The Mesh in order to educate women about the risks of the TVT, TVTO mesh bladder sling operations for incontinence and the mesh surgery for pelvic organ prolapse.

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