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The First Fully Integrated Pelvic Floor Assessment Clinic Opens at London Bridge Hospital

23 September 2009

Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Mr Andrew Williams has opened the first fully integrated Pelvic Floor Assessment Clinic in the private sector at London Bridge Hospital.

Designed to help both men and women with their life restricting, embarrassing and often painful symptoms, the clinic treats patients with conditions ranging from damage caused during childbirth to the side effects of radiotherapy following treatment for prostate cancer.

The new clinic is equipped with the latest specialist diagnostic and imaging technology and apart from a team of consultants led by Mr Williams, it also has a clinical scientist and specialist nursing staff. 

Mr Williams said that more people, especially women, were coming forward for assessment and treatment.         Conditions that were previously never talked about and are now becoming better understood with the help available.

“It is terrible that for many years women thought that their incontinence and other problems, following childbirth in particular, were to be expected and they just had to put up with the pain, discomfort and often embarrassment”, he said.  “Many people plan their days and their journeys by knowing just where public toilets are located in shops etc  because they need to visit the lavatory frequently to avoid ‘accidents’.  Very often we can help these people.  They do not have to suffer in silence!”

Mr Williams said that men were particularly bad at asking for help with their bowel and incontinence problems.  “Some of our treatments have very high success rates, but in every case we help people to help themselves and manage their situation after they have been properly diagnosed and assessed”. 

The clinic undertakes a number of assessment procedures with it’s new specialist equipment including endoanal ultrasound scanning, anorectal physiology and manometry and defaecatory proctography.  Patients present typically with a variety of conditions, including poor bowel control, or incontinence, long term constipation problems and difficulty in emptying the bowel.

Treatment may involve surgery but more often it involves bowel habit retraining also known as biofeedback.  This non-invasive treatment involves retraining muscles to relax or the strengthening of muscle tone in the patient’s back passage and pelvic floor, depending on the patient’s symptoms.  The programme usually lasts around six months and the success rate is around 85%.

Mr Williams believes in allowing new patients good time to describe their symptoms and for him to describe the tests and treatment options.  “We listen to patients and get them to describe fully their daily experiences and difficulties,” he said.  “Often this may lead to tears from the patient as they share their experience, embarrassment and sometimes despair.  But the message is that there is much that can be done to help correct these conditions and there is no need to suffer in silence.

For further information about the Pelvic Floor Assessment Clinic please contact the London Colorectal Group on 0207 403 6061.