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Campaign to ‘go against the flow’

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Pelvic floor health campaign launched with Victorian government support

One in eight teenage girls experience bladder leakage says a new public health campaign launched by the Victorian Continence Resource Centre (VCRC) and Swinburne University of Technology.

A team of health professionals working at the VCRC found that there was a lack of age-appropriate and engaging material available about bladder leakage in teenage girls.

“This revelation provided the impetus to establish a collaboration with Swinburne because it is imperative to reach this audience before the health issue arises,” says VCRC Executive Officer Lisa Wragg.

From this collaboration, the ‘Go Against The Flow’ campaign was created.

The campaign, which began as a health awareness initiative for bladder leakage in teenage girls 15 -19 years, has become a girl power movement celebrating differences and tackling the stigma of this health concern.

“Urinary Incontinence is not something teen girls talk about because no one really tells them it’s something they should be thinking about,” says Swinburne Design’s Associate Professor Nicole Wragg, who is art director and a main researcher for the project.

“Because of this silence, many young girls are likely to deal with this problem alone, feeling embarrassed, stressed and ashamed.” says Lisa Wragg EO VCRC.

Over the course of several years, a collaborative team comprising VCRC and Swinburne staff led by Chief Investigator Associate Professor Carolyn Barnes, used innovative communication design techniques to figure out how to resonate with young women.

“We held a series of co-design workshops with teen girls to find the best ways to connect with them,” says Associate Professor Barnes.

“The girls gave us critical feedback about what mattered to them. The workshop findings were then translated into design concepts by an all-female team of Swinburne communication design students.”

Through the research process, the team found:

  • Empowering young women to become pelvic floor aware has preventative benefits in adulthood 
  • 33.3 % of women experience light bladder leakage
  • Use of ‘period apps’ is very high among teenage girls
  • There is a higher rate of urinary incontinence among professional female athlete.

Through the use of a website featuring blogs, support, information and a moderator forum, ‘Go Against the Flow’ aims to make teenage girls who may be experiencing bladder leakage feel supported, informed and respected. 

“When teen girls feel empowered they will seek information about what they can do to prevent bladder leakage or how they can get help through this campaign,” says Jen Rivett VCRC Marketing and Communications Officer.

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