Read More
Sheela logo. Txt: What's Your Pelvic Floor Issue Costing You? Woman's hand with pen, typing figures into calculator and holding cash in the other hand.

What's Your Pelvic Floor Issue Costing You?

Jan 02, 2024

If you're someone who has been living with a pelvic floor issue like pain, incontinence or prolapse for a little while, then it's likely you can't escape the fact that there are significant costs involved. 

If we're talking about symptom management, you might be using pads - possibly daily, you might have invested in some support wear like compression shorts or black leggings to hide any leaks, you might have visited your GP or women's health physiotherapist a few times. 

These are the obvious costs.

Then there are the not so obvious costs - what about the days you've missed from work when your symptoms were too much?

What about the childcare you needed while you went to another medical appointment?

What about the extended maternity leave you took while you dealt with your symptoms? 

What about the promotion you didn't go for because your confidence was in your boots?

We did a little pelvic floor budget to see how much your pelvic floor issues could be costing you over the course of a year.

Ok  - so it's hard to get an accurate picture of the financial costs because everyone's circumstances are different but it's obvious, dealing with pelvic floor issues costs you money.

And if you allow these issues to persist year on year, they're costing you more, and more, and more.

In a 2015 study, it was reported that it takes women over 10 years to seek medical help for incontinence.

So if we take just the figure for wearing incontinence pads on a daily basis that's over €7000 on incontinence pads (Always Discreet from 

If I think about how I'd like to spend 7 grand of hard earned cash - I'm going to choose the holiday of a lifetime, not incontinence pads. 

But what I really want to talk about is what your pelvic floor issue might be costing you, not in financial terms, but in terms of what really matters - your physical, mental and emotional health.

1. Women with pelvic floor issues like incontinence, prolapse and pain are less likely to exercise.

In one study 46% of women stopped doing an exercise activity they had previously enjoyed due to past, current or fear of future pelvic floor issues.

This is devastating because over time, decreased levels of physical activity can lead to weight gain, decreased heart and lung function, increased risk of diabetes and cancer, and poorer bone health.

2. Women with pelvic floor issues are more likely to be waking up at night to use the bathroom.

Nocturia is defined as the need to get up at night on a regular basis to do a wee. It's a problem because, continually disrupted sleep over long periods is linked with increased rates of cancerdiabetesdementia, and heart disease.

In older age, trips to use the loo in the dark mean we are more likely to fall and break bones which can increase risk of death.

3. Women with pelvic floor issues have increased mental load.

The administrative burden of coping with pelvic floor issues on a daily basis (planning travel around bathroom breaks, carrying changes of underwear and pads around, negotiating intimacy like a military operation) means women are less able to participate fully in their social lives, at work and in their intimate relationships. 

4. Incontinence in older age is one of the major factors in the decision to put a loved one into care. 

It is a tragedy that the decisions being taken around care for our elderly relatives (and ourselves) are being dictated by incontinence instead of what we want and where we will be most loved.

5. Pelvic floor issues can have a devastating impact on our sense of self and our self esteem.

They can cause us to feel like we have to hide our symptoms and divorce ourselves from our most basic bodily functions. We can lose connection with our bodies making pleasurable sex lives seem like an impossibility.

6. All this adds up to increased daily stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety can complicate pelvic floor issues due to the relationship between stress and pelvic floor muscle function and stress puts you back on the road to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, weight gain, diabetes, cancer, etc., etc.

The reason all of this makes me so mad is because pelvic floor issues, like incontinence, are common but not normal and that means there are so many things that can be done to improve things.

Every person who experiences a pelvic floor issue will have an entirely unique story. They have a unique body, a unique set of circumstances and a unique confluence of events that will have led to their symptoms. Unravelling that issue and finding the solutions that work will take time, effort and a strong will. 

There's never been a better time than this moment to start taking care of your pelvic floor health.

At Sheela, we're on a mission to empower you to take control of your pelvic floor health and we have lots of free resources to get you started. 

We're committed to making free, research based, original content every week. Find us on Instagram for bite sized education, tips and tricks and on YouTube for pelvic floor routines, meditations and more. 

 We'll see you there.


BMC Women's Health - It takes women 10 years to get help for Urinary Incontinence. 

Why We Sleep - Mathew Walker - Mental Load

Pelvic Floor Disorders Stop Women Exercising - Science Direct

Start your pelvic floor health journey TODAY. 

Send me the FREE Guide