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Chief Medical Officer calls for action on women’s health

Report by Professor Dame Sally Davies targets obesity and ovarian cancer and encourages women to talk about ‘taboos’ such as incontinence.

In her latest annual report, ‘Health of the 51%: women’, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor Dame Sally Davies makes recommendations on a wide range of health issues, most notably obesity, ovarian cancer and ‘taboo problems’ such as incontinence and the menopause.

Taboo problems

The report encourages women not to suffer in silence about some of the problems they find embarrassing to talk about, such as incontinence or the menopause.

Urinary and faecal incontinence affects more than 5 million women in the UK and, along with prolapse, costs the NHS more than £200 million a year in treatment and support. Six weeks after pregnancy, 33% of women report urinary incontinence and 10% report faecal incontinence.

Dame Sally said:

“We need to challenge taboos around themenopause and incontinence to make sure embarrassment is never a barrier to better health.”

“Problems ‘below the waist’ are not generally seen as attractive topics for public discussion, and women are often reluctant to seek help for common disabling conditions. This needs to end – women should never suffer in silence. Breaking the taboo around these subjects will help more women come forward and get the care they need.”

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