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Introducing Jane Newman

We are delighted to introduce our new specialist physiotherapist in women’s and men’s health – Jane Newman.

Jane specialises in incontinence, perioperative physiotherapy, postnatal rehabilitation and painful sex. She is very much an advocate in getting men and women back to feeling there best! As a trustee and full member of the Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapists, Jane has a wealth of knowledge and is currently making men more aware of the services available to them despite the shortage of this specialist physiotherapy.

We asked Jane a few questions so you can get to know more about what she does!

How long have you been working as a specialist physiotherapist in women’s and men’s health?

Since I completed my post-graduate training in 1985

What attracted you to become a full and then advanced member of the Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapists?

I first became interested because there were women with back pain in pregnancy who were told that it was ‘normal’, without having been investigated thoroughly, and I thought that was wrong. I then worked with Margie Polden and Julie McKenna in London. Margie was an incredibly dynamic physio, passionate about Women’s Health, who worked at the Royal Free and the Hammersmith Hospitals and she got me interested incontinence issues, both bladder and bowel. My interest in the treatment of men with pelvic problems started later, in about 1995, as their continence problems seemed to be ignored and I had the skills to treat them.

As a specialist in women’s and men’s health, what would you say is the most common problem you treat for males and females?

In women, the main issues I see now are bladder and bowel problems and pain on intercourse as many suffer from these.

In men, the majority are pre and post radical prostatectomy as prostate surgery can result in incontinence.

Specialist physiotherapy treatment of stress incontinence is statistically proven to be effective in about two-thirds of cases and my results are usually better than that.

Many women associate incontinence problems with pregnancy are there any other causes of incontinence?

Yes. If a woman has a long term cough, is doing a lot of high impact exercise, is lifting heavy weights or looking after elderly or handicapped relatives they may experience continence problems. Long term constipation can also result in strain on the pelvic floor so bowel habits play a part too.

In addition, the bladder can sometimes develop habits of frequency and rushing to the toilet which is generally helped by a mixture of medical and specialist physiotherapy help. It is always worth investigating if the bladder or bowels are misbehaving as they give a window into how parts of the bodywork. I work closely with the medics on these sorts of problems as they often need more than just physiotherapy.

We hear a lot about women’s health but are there any areas of male health that aren’t well addressed but you see very often?

Men are often not very good at reporting things which are embarrassing or sensitive like incontinence or erectile dysfunction(ED). They are both problems which can show up as a result of prostate surgery for cancer and this is more common than many people realise. They often respond well to a mix of medical and specialist physio help so letting your GP know is a good idea.

Unfortunately, there still aren’t that many physios who treat men around the country and so they may just be given leaflets on exercise. This often doesn’t get to the heart of the problem as patients are individuals and one size does not fit all. We are working hard nationally in the Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapists (POGP) to correct this but it is important that men know the services are there. I am currently a Trustee of POGP and on their executive committee.

Men get bowel issues too and a busy lifestyle, where they may eat intermittently, may result in the bowel starting to not work very efficiently even though there is no actual pathology. Exercise and advice can often sort this. The Pelvic Floor is very important in men for bladder, bowel and erection control so it isn’t just a woman’s exercise.

Before attending a session, what do you recommend a patient should do to prepare?

Have a good think about what your problems are and make a note of how your bladder and bowel are working. You don’t need any special clothing for this branch of physio but you should be prepared to be examined if at all possible. This usually involves vaginal and/or rectal exams and, though they are your choice, they are enormously valuable in helping to identify exactly what is going wrong. These examinations are never done unless they are needed but feeling the muscles working tells me a lot. If you want to bring someone with you to make you feel happier about this that’s fine, and The New Foscote provide chaperones as needed too.

When you are not seeing patients, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I am married with three daughters so the family takes up a certain amount of my time despite the girls all working and having left home. I have two dogs, I read a lot, enjoy gardening and we keep bees so I never feel I have much spare time! At least the bees largely tuck themselves up in their hives in the winter so I get more of a break then.

If you want to learn more about Jane Newman click here.