Girls as young as 12 need to be taught pelvic floor exercises at school, says health watchdog

GIRLS as young as 12 should be taught pelvic floor exercises at school, a health watchdog has said.

Pelvic floor dysfunction affects thousands of women each year.

And new draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has probed how it could be managed without surgery, and prevented.

It has recommended that girls aged 12 to 17 could be given lessons about the pelvic floor, as an addition to classes on sex and relationships.

They could also be taught that exercise and a balanced diet can help prevent dysfunction, the guidelines suggests.

It also puts forward that women of all ages should be encouraged to do muscle training exercises.

NICE advises a three-month programme of supervised pelvic floor muscle training should be offered to women from week 20 of their pregnancy, if they have a mother or sister with pelvic floor dysfunction.

Up to 140,000 women could benefit from this each year, the watchdog estimates.

Pelvic floor dysfunction covers a variety of symptoms including urinary and faecal incontinence, emptying disorders of the bladder or bowel, pelvic organ prolapse, sexual dysfunction, and chronic pelvic pain.

Prof Gillian Leng, chief executive of NICE, said: “Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common and often debilitating set of symptoms that can result in many issues for women.

"This draft guideline aims to raise awareness of non-surgical management options so that women are better informed about effective options to address pelvic floor dysfunction.

“Improving women’s awareness of pelvic floor health and encouraging them to practise pelvic floor muscle exercises throughout their lives is the most effective way to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction.

"We are keen to hear views from stakeholders and the wider community on these draft recommendations and would encourage as many organisations and people as possible to contribute to the consultation.”

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