The advice given to women seeking to tone, strengthen and tighten their pelvic floor (vaginal) muscles is much like the advice given by dental experts on how you should brush your teeth – totally lacking scientific or clinical evidence and based on misguided belief, habit or myth – observes Barry Fowler, author of The Kegel Legacy (Amazon gbp6.99).
“The more areas of health practice that come under scrutiny the more we find that we are being misled by poor or untested advice”; says Fowler.
Professor Aubrey Sheiman was lead author of a review of brushing practices and advice from around the world (British Dental Journal 217, Aug 14). He concluded “A range of contradictory advice is offered by dentists, governments and the makers of toothbrushes, yet there is little evidence to support any of it.”(The Times 9 Aug 14)
“Reading reports of Professor Sheiham’s research I had this horrible sense of déjà vu and decided to redouble my efforts to stimulate an honest and open debate as to why our health ‘experts’ continue to promote, without question, treatments that are clearly not fit for purpose.” says Fowler.
Fowler’s research for The Kegel Legacy clearly identified that women are wasting their time following advice that has no solid evidence base and is based on myths passed down through time and never tested. Yet pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises form the bedrock of NICE advice for tens of millions of women with stress incontinence, prolapse and many other conditions- which are usually caused by pelvic floor weakness due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, obesity and a general lack of fitness.
Fowler says: “I came to the same conclusion as Professor Sheiman when writing The Kegel Legacy. I searched material published over 65 years for any evidence of clinical trials that supported the current pelvic floor exercise advice given to women by doctors, physiotherapists and the media. I could find nothing.
On the contrary, there is clear evidence that the profession has specifically ignored the key findings and recommendations of the largest and most comprehensive clinical trial in the field. This trial, by Arnold Kegel, demonstrated that objective cure of symptoms caused by pelvic floor muscle weakness was possible in two weeks. But the methods recommended today bear no relation to Kegel’s techniques and lack the rigour and effort required. As a result women rarely, if ever, realise any benefit or cure.”
As evidence for the scale of the problem he says: “If the advice given to women presenting with incontinence, prolapse and other related problems was fit for purpose then we would not have tens of millions of women suffering a lifetime of embarrassment and discomfort, and there would not be a multibillion market for designer incontinence pads.”
He lays part of the blame on NICE who are “obsessed with surgical and pharmaceutical interventions and have specifically, and repeatedly, chosen to ignore developments in non-invasive and lifestyle approaches.”
He also highlights a postcode lottery for treatment and questions the role of the various commissioning bodies and medicine management committees some of whom seem to specifically advise GPs against prescribing medical devices. He is particularly critical that many women are denied access to the simple, but cost-effective, PelvicToner™ exercise programme that has been available on prescription for over 3.5 years.
“The highly effective PelvicToner approach directly applies all of Kegel’s clinically proven principles and delivers results in a couple of weeks at a tenth of the cost of the NICE Gold Standard that specifies that women should undergo a three month programme of muscle training under the supervision of a specially trained physiotherapist. Ignoring the benefits of The PelvicToner not only denies the majority of women a simple and effective treatment, but it is wasting budgets and scarce physiotherapy resources.”
Echoing Professor Sheiman’s conclusion, Fowler believes that the lack of clinical evidence and robust testing to establish best practice should ‘concern’ the medical profession, regulators and women everywhere.
‘The Kegel Legacy – 65 years of denial’ is a candid discussion of how a clinically proven treatment was totally undermined through ignorance and vested interests.
For a limited period The Kegel Legacy can be downloaded in full and FREE OF CHARGE for tablet or PC by visiting www.thekegellegacy.com.
For further information contact Barry Fowler
0117 974 3534
07768 233 670
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