Radio Humberside jingle plays. Lucy: Well, it’s World Menopause Day today and a new campaign ‘Positive Pause’ has launched featuring one of Hull’s most successful business leaders, Stephanie Taylor. Now Stephanie is the MD and founder of the award-winning company Kegel8 which is based in Hull, and she’s in the studio with me now to tell us all about it, good afternoon Stephanie! Stephanie: Hi Lucy, great to be here thanks for inviting me along. It’s a fabulous day, the sun’s shining and we want to talk about Positive Pause! Lucy: This is it, all Positive Pause positiveness here! So Kegel8 is the business that you have founded that you’re the MD of, and it’s a brand name isn’t it? So, can you tell me what it is you do at Kegel8 for somebody who has never heard of it before? Stephanie: Yes Kegel8, we specialise in pelvic floor exercisers to help strengthen the pelvic floor, to get the love life back on track, help with incontinence, bowel problems and you know, more seriously when it starts to get in to the realms of prolapse, help women manage prolapse and all the problems that come about with a weak pelvic floor. So it’s an electrical stimulator that helps to strengthen the pelvic floor. It’s really easy! Because we deal with a lot of taboo subjects, especially when it comes to incontinence, people don’t want to talk about it and women and men don’t know it’s available out there. So we’re out, we’re banging the drum and it’s great to be here certainly to talk about menopause especially on National Menopause Day, because menopause is a key trigger for weakening the pelvic floor because of hormone changes within the body. Lucy: See I’m interested to find out about this because it’s no secret, I’ve still got all of this to come, I’m only 31 so, Stephanie I need to learn from you! (both laughing) And these pelvic toners then that you do at Kegel8, you say it’s like an electrical stimulant, how does it work? Stephanie: It’s a stimulator that helps to work the muscles. You know one of the things I think we forget about the pelvic floor is that, we keep our teeth clean you know, we brush our teeth twice a day, but we do forget to exercise the muscles on our pelvic floor. And we only usually know that they’re there when we start having a problem. And one of the challenges that we do have in our society is that women think it’s ok to use pads so that, you know, if they have a ‘whoops moment’, or if they leak when they sneeze. All of these are symptoms of a weak pelvic floor and those symptoms will get worse. So the woman could then maybe go on to have a prolapse. 63 percent of women who suffer with incontinence will actually have a prolapse. Now the prolapse is where some of the pelvic organs drop down out of position, but simply working the pelvic floor and you should be doing it now and you COULD be doing it now! You could be squeezing and lifting your pelvic floor as you sit here. You’ve got a great posture at the desk there, you’ve got a nice upright posture! And the guys can do it too, ‘nuts to guts’ gentlemen! You know squeeze and lift, and it strengthens the pelvic floor because it has benefits for us all, not just women but men too! Lucy: that’s it, I think it’s important to say it’s not just for women, because you do these toners for men as well. Stephanie: Absolutely, and one of the things that guys will find is if they’re having prostate problems, if they are having prostate surgery, a lot of them will find that they can be incontinent for at least a year after that surgery. If they use something like the Kegel8 toner to help strengthen the pelvic floor, they can regain continence a lot quicker than if they just let it come back naturally. Lucy: Now these toners then Stephanie, they have been on This Morning with Phil and Holly, the Daily Mail, the Sunday Times, so they’ve really had a great response! Stephanie: Absolutely, and we were on Women’s Hour this morning which is great, because it’s great to focus on the Positive Pause and the pelvic floor. It’s good for Kegel8 and it’s good for Hull! Lucy: This is it, so we’re talking about World Menopause Day which is today. And this new campaign that’s been launched, Positive Pause, so what is Positive Pause all about? Stephanie: Positive Pause is a campaign built around a group of physiotherapists, they are called Pelvic Roar and also hot flush (www.hotflush.info). It’s a group of us getting together, trying to sell the positive sides of menopause. We hear so many negative things. We don’t necessarily want to medicate it with HRT, we just want women and men to know what the symptoms are so that they can handle it. I think one of the things that I found really quite interesting and quite sort of, horrifying, is the weight gain aspect Because as soon as we hit menopause – the average age that women hit menopause is 51, and menopause usually lasts around 4 years. Menopause means that our oestrogen levels drop and we stop having our periods. We are also referring to the 6% of women who go in to early menopause. So some women go in to menopause in their 20’s or because of surgery – as in hysterectomy or from pelvic cancers. The big thing about menopause is weight gain. Just because those oestrogen levels drop, you can put on 4 pounds in a year without changing your eating habits! Lucy: Ah that doesn’t sound good! Stephanie: It doesn’t! It’s that term ‘middle-aged spread’…! So you know if you think about that 4 pounds in a year, within 4 years you’ve gained…well in 2 years you’ve gained half a stone! And that half a stone is really bad news for the pelvic floor. Because if we carry too much weight, it puts a pressure on the pelvic floor and it means that our bladder and bowels are more likely to leak. One in three women leak, one in four men leak as well. Lucy: I read as well, as you say weight gain. But it the Daily Mail today, there’s an article that quite interestingly says Anxiety reaches an all time high during menopause as well. Stephanie: Yes absolutely, and we’ve also obviously got the mood swings, we’ve got night sweats and we’ve got hot flushes! You know, if you’ve got women who also then have nocturia, which is when you get up to go to the loo more than once in a night. Once is normal, any more than that, that’s nocturia. We spoke to one lady who was going to the loo 14 times in the night! Imagine what that does, because you’re then physically exhausted, you’re not getting a good nights sleep! So simply by using our machine, she helped to get her bladder back in control and she was managing this one symptom of her menopause. Lucy: So what is your message then Stephanie to women who are going through this? Stephanie: Educate yourself. Find out what you need to do. Stay active, go to your doctor. We’ve actually got a menopause clinic, an NHS menopause clinic here in hull and that is one of 29 clinics around the country that has been set up to help women understand the symptoms. So go along. If you’ve got bladder weakness, go along to a physiotherapist, get checked out – find out what is causing your bladder weakness and what type of bladder weakness it is. It could be overactive bladder, it could be stress incontinence. Get a proper diagnosis and then, do something about it. But manage your weight, because managing your weight is really good for a Positive Pause. Lucy: Yeah and people shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about it! Stephanie: Not at all. Because if a woman has a Positive Pause, it’s going to be great for husbands, brothers, sons…it’s great for us all! And it’s going to keep her love life on track, because if we can keep our love lives going – that puts a smile on all of our faces doesn’t it? Lucy: Yes! Do you know, your positivity is contagious, I love it! So where can we go then to find out more information about the positive pause campaign and the Kegel8 products? Stephanie: Yep, the Positive Pause campaign you can go on to Kegel8.co.uk, you can see information there. You can also check out hotflush.info; they are a fabulous group of women who wanted to change our perceptions on menopause and they’ve done a brilliant job, there’s lots of positivity there. Look for natural solutions. Look to eat well, change your lifestyle slightly and get a good lubricant – that always works well as well! Lucy: (Laughing) Love it! I think it’s quite important as well to point out that all of your pelvic toners, they’ve been completely recommended by UK GP’s. Stephanie: Yes absolutely, they are a Grade 2 medical device. So all of the programmes we use on our pelvic toners have been used in clinical trials, and there’s different programmes for the different types of incontinence and also for increased sensation because if the pelvic floor is weak, a woman wont feel the level of sensation that she used to do. And a few of the signs of a weak pelvic floor could be lack of sensation, difficulty reaching orgasm, and dryness. But obviously working the pelvic floor, working those muscles really plumps them up It gets the circulation going again, whether or not you are pre-menopausal or post menopause; a good sex life is good for us all. But certainly, managing our bladder and bowels is imperative Because it is one of the main reasons why women go in to care homes – if they are incontinent. So please do not ‘pad the problem’ if you are using pads. The NHS pays two hundred and thirty-three million pounds in pads and incontinence products. The end user, that’s you and me and women at home, we are spending over eight hundred million pounds; and that’s why it’s such a huge industry. And that’s why some of the big boys like Tena and Always are telling us ‘it’s just part of being a woman, it’s part of being natural’. No, it’s not a normal part of ageing and we should be doing something about it because our body will really benefit from it. Lucy: It’s the perfect time to talk about it, today being World Menopause Day, and Stephanie just finally I have to ask you… Are you going to see Menopause; The Musical? It’s coming to Hull New Theatre in May! Stephanie: I will be there, we’re having a works trip to go and see it! I’ll see you there! Lucy: I’m not surprised, a perfect works do! Stephanie thanks so much for joining me this afternoon. Stephanie: Thank you, thanks for supporting. Lucy: No problem. That’s Stephanie Taylor from Kegel8 talking about World Menopause Day.