Gaynor Morgan, the award-winning inventor of Incostress, says complex obstacles to Government grants are making funding nearly impossible to achieve.
Gaynor was a part of the Wales Innovators Network supported by the Welsh Assembly Government but said grant funding has now become such a complex cash boost to access it is stalling product development for innovators.
She said: “Now it is nearly impossible to get a grant. Even though the funding is there, the process is so complicated and layered with obstacles that it’s not worth the bother.
Mrs Morgan’s comments follow the decision of healthcare giant and high street chemist Boots to close its multi-million pound innovation centre at Swansea University.
The Boots Centre for Innovation (BCI) opened in 2007 and was designed to work with inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs to develop new product innovations.
Mrs Morgan was approached by the BCI after winning a gold medal at the British Inventor Show in 2006 for best medical device for her Incostress product.
She said: “Incostress is a Welsh product which was clinically trialled in Singleton, Swansea, and is in the process of going through Europe’s largest trial of its kind in Cardiff University Hospital under the auspices of Dr Christine Shaw, clinical lead, and University of Glamorgan.
“It is set to save the NHS literally millions in surgery and is now sold in many countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, all over Europe and a few of the Eastern bloc countries.”
Gaynor has produced a video telling how Incostress works.
The benefits of IncoStress are now recognised “across the pond” with this device now being actively sold in Canada as well as the UK. The device, worn like a tampon, that can help many women who suffer in silence with the Urinary Stress Incontinence – the involuntary loss of urine when, for example, coughing, sneezing, laughing or even when just running.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized Urinary Stress Incontinence as a global issue that can affect as many as 1 in 5 women at any stage in their lives. WHO have stated that too many women “silently suffer from its life-disrupting consequences.”
IncoStress is a petite and discreet device, worn like a tampon, that can help control the inadvertent loss of urine suffered by many women.
IncoStress supports the urethra (the tube that allows loss of urine from the bladder) and supports the bladder neck helping restore it to its anatomically correct position. The ergonomic shape of IncoStress can allow the pelvic floor muscles to be gently exercised, which, over a period of time, could strengthen the muscles. Regular pelvic floor exercises are always recommended and these may be carried out with the IncoStress in place.
Made of medical grade silicone, IncoStress can be worn for up to 8 hours at a time and is environmentally friendly as it can replace six month’s worth of the incontinence pads that are worn by many women suffering with Urinary Stress Incontinence.
Although we’re approaching the end of January, it’s not too late to make a resolution to take control of your incontinence if you are one of the many people who deal with it daily. As with any resolution; commitment and consistency will be a deciding factor. Here are 5:
1) 8 pelvic floor lift and holds per day
Like any muscle in the body, your pelvic floor muscles grow stronger with the right type of exercise. To make these key muscles work better for you, it’s important to do at least 8 consecutive pelvic floor contractions a day. To do this, you have to squeeze your sphincter muscle as though you’re trying to block the flow of urine. This will, in a sense, ‘lift’ your internal muscles and will feel rather uncomfortable at first. This is simply because the sensation will be unfamiliar. However with every rep, you have to concentrate on ‘holding’ it for longer and with increased internal strain. Do these lift-and-holds often enough and you will notice your pelvic floor muscles become stronger.
2) Find your neutral spine posture and hold it
Take a mirror and stand sideways. You want to find your spine’s natural curves. For most people, their spine sits on a slight concave at the base and leads up to a gentle rounding of their upper back and then a slight concave of the neck leading to the skull. To find your neutral spine position you, stand with soft knees (in other words, don’t lock them so your legs are ridged). Next, adopt a gymnast stretching pose by putting your hands on your hips and rocking your pelvis back and forth. You should feel strained when arching back. After some time, revert back to your soft knees stance. Now draw in your belly button in, tightening the imaginary corset around your spine. You body will naturally find its natural posture from doing this. Finding and holding this posture allows your pelvic floor muscles to react and contract when you cough, lift or laugh.
3) Exercises per day to work specific muscle groups
Your inner thighs, transverses abdominus and hip rotator muscles work in coordination to stabilise your pelvic floor muscles in between going to the toilet. Working on these muscle groups has a profound effect on the front, back and sides of the abdominal and pelvic muscle which, in turn, exerts more control over the bladder muscles. A local personal trainer or physical therapist will most likely have a host of strengthening exercises that you can do daily.
4) Drink more water
This is the opposite of what many people with urinary incontinence do, but is exactly what a healthy body needs. Nutrition experts reckon eight 64oz cups of water per day is sufficient. Why? Among other things, water flushes the system as much of the foods we eat are, by themselves, irritants to the bladder. Such irritation leads to increased frequency and intensity of urge. It’s a simple case of: more water, the more diluted potential irritants will be.
5) Get out and move!
Nothing is better for your neuromuscular, cardiovascular, digestive and respiratory system than simple, straightforward exercise. Whether it’s walking, dancing, swimming or running up and down your stairs. The positive effects on your continence should simply not be underestimated. Our bodies are amazing and as long as you’re committed to doing a combination of pelvic floor lifts, adopting the correct spinal posture and regular cardiovascular exercise, you will see a market improvement in your ability to control continence.
Have you got anything you would like to add to this post? Please do so in our comments section!
The exceptional achievements of women in Wales were celebrated at an awards ceremony in Cardiff last week.
11 women were honoured for their inspirational work across a wide range of sectors at the Western Mail Welsh Woman of the Year Awards at Cardiff International.
Gaynor Morgan is said to be proud the product has improved the quality of life for many women with incontinence and has the potential to save the NHS millions a year.
The former psychiatric geriatric nurse also holds focus groups for women around Europe, encouraging them to seek help, and teach them about their bodies’ reactions.