In 2007, the total economic cost of overactive bladder (OAB) in the U.S. alone was estimated to be almost $66 billion.1 By 2020 that number is predicted to rise to just over $82 billion1.
Despite this shocking statistic, the subject of OAB and women’s pelvic health in general remains shrouded in taboo.
Women’s health organization To Know is To Know (formerly the Women’s Health Foundation) has been raising awareness since 2004 as part of an effort to get women to talk more freely around the topic of pelvic health without a sense of stigma or embarrassment.
“Modern day society does not yet understand the connection between pelvic health and overall health,” says Missy Lavender, CEO of To Know is To Know’s parent company BelowYourBelt. “Yet for women, bladder problems can be incredibly distressing.”
Most recently, the organization unveiled a new video interview series discussing some of the most important topics surrounding women’s pelvic health.
Entitled ‘Start the Conversation’, the videos attempt to reach the “mother in the middle” – the generation of women aged between 35 and 55 years old. For these women, their pelvic health issues can coincide with those experienced by both their children and their mothers.
The videos feature some of the U.S.’s leading women’s health experts, including Dr. Linda Brubaker, urogynecologist at Loyola Medical Center, Dr. Jessica Shepherd, gynecologist at University of Illinois Chicago, and Dr. Sandy Hilton, pelvic floor physical therapist.
“We wanted to create something that was more engaging and productive than the awareness information already out there,” explains Lavender. “Even women in their 50s have a smartphone so presenting this information as short videos felt like a natural progression.”
Another advantage to using a video format is that is helps address the disconnect between what women watch and read, and what they like and share, says Lavender. “Video makes it possible to present something sensitive in a credible but more friendly and shareable fashion. That way, we can start to drive conversation about women’s pelvic health.”
Topics covered in the short, sharable clips include keeping the pelvic floor healthy, pregnancy and pelvic health and the most credible websites out there for women seeking information – all of which are relevant to women of all ages.
For Lavender, the core aim of the campaign is to get women talking to each other about their issues. “No dialogue about these issues is when problems arise. If you have an issue you’re not sure about, talk to your doctor and don’t stop until you get it sorted.”
The first seven videos of the series have already been published, with another three on the way. The next video, entitled ‘Don’t take it for granted’ will be released June 22. “I would absolutely recommend this approach to other patient advocacy organizations,” Lavender explains. “Bladder conditions and pelvic health are a part of a woman’s life, but shouldn’t be something that people settle for. Keep asking.”
The videos will be featured on the Below Your Belt website, their social media channels and in their e-newsletters. Below is the complete schedule of topics and experts:
|Below Your Belt video release schedule||Video title|
|2/4/17||Dr. Sandy Hilton: What exactly is my pelvic floor anyway?|
|3/17/17||Dr. Jessica Shepherd: Most credible health websites|
|4/11/17||Dr. Linda Brubaker: Lessons learned|
|4/27/17||Dr. Jessica Shepherd: How do I keep my pelvic floor healthy?|
|5/11/17||Dr. Linda Brubaker: Pregnancy|
|5/25/17||Dr. Sandy Hilton: Advice for a 12 year old|
|6/8/17||Dr. Jessica Shepherd: Pregnancy recovery|
|6/22/17||Dr. Linda Brubaker: Don’t take it for granted|
|7/6/17||Dr. Jessica Shepherd: Anatomy 101|
|7/13/17||Dr. Sandy Hilton: Will I ever feel better?|
1Michael Ganz, Amy Smalarz, Tracey Krupski, Jennifer Anger, Jim Hu, Kim Wittrup-Jensen, and Chris Pashos. “Economic costs of overactive bladder in the United States.” Urology, 75:3 (2010): 526-532.