A teaching assistant has branded a school sexist after they suspended her for talking about a women's health issue in a glossy mag.

Kimberley Hanson, 37, received her suspension letter on Saturday following her interview with Closer magazine about the 'designer vagina' treatment she received for stress incontinence and damage from childbirth.

The male head teacher of St Clement's Catholic Primary School, Cheshire, where she works allegedly claimed he was "shocked and disgusted".

The mum of four, from Runcorn, Cheshire, had the two laser treatments, often terms 'vagina facials' to help 'tighten everything up' and prevent urinary incontinence when she played on the trampoline with her young children.

She has now been suspended and is awaiting a meeting with her employer but claims she feels "a bit awkward" about facing them.

In an email sent to Kimberley on Saturday, the school head teacher wrote: "Dear Kim, following the publicity this week around your Closer article and subsequent press coverage, I am suspending you from work with immediate effect."

In the school's Code of Conduct which is given to all new employees, there is no clause about talking to the media but there is guidance on social media usage.

Kimberley said: "The procedure is done at a clinic - it's a medical treatment. It's called Nu-V.

"It's made a huge difference and I'm able to enjoy a better quality of life now and play with my kids.

"I thought it would be quite a positive thing to talk about actually and I didn't think my job would even come into play because it's an article about my personal life and health.

"Now I'm absolutely devastated because I love my job. It's a lovely school and the children are lovely. I'm utterly devastated.

"It was a medical procedure. The headline was for the shock value.

"I spent half the night in tears when the headteacher called me, then I got angry because he made me feel like I'd done something wrong.

"I don't think it would be the same if a man was speaking about a vasectomy."

As a result of the upset caused from the article, Kimberley has been signed off work by her doctor due to stress and ongoing depression.

While her quality of life was improved by the groundbreaking treatment, which only recently reached the UK, she now feels shattered by her suspension.

Kimberley Hanson, 37, with her children, Jessica Thomas, 13, Grace Thomas, 11, Isabel Thomas, 11, and Morgan Thomas, 8. Photo / Caters
Kimberley Hanson, 37, with her children, Jessica Thomas, 13, Grace Thomas, 11, Isabel Thomas, 11, and Morgan Thomas, 8. Photo / Caters

Kimberley said: "I decided to have the treatment because I kept experiencing stress incontinence after a few jumps on the trampoline with my kids or when I coughed.

"I wasn't aware that you could get it done and my sister who's a nurse told me about it. It was really successful.

"I had two treatments and will be getting a third as part of a deal. It's brilliant now but it'll be absolutely amazing after the last one.

"The treatment involves a laser being inserted like a smear. There is a cage that they put the laser in and zap inside and outside.

"The laser beam penetrates deep enough into the skin that it produces collagen which helps tighten the muscles.

"After childbirth, everything was a bit damaged... everything looks prettier now too. It's helped to tighten everything up.

"Before, I'd go on the trampoline and be tensing so I didn't wee. Then when I'd relax, there'd be a little trickle.

"I wouldn't go anywhere like a trampoline park before. I'd get on our trampoline for a minute then say 'got to go' and rush off to the loo."

The original article was published in Closer magazine on January 16, and Kimberley claims it wasn't until Thursday night that she was called by the school's headteacher to say he had read the article.

She is now disappointed that her attempts to raise awareness of the health issue, which affects 200 million people worldwide, has potentially lost her a job she adored.

Kimberley said: "I've worked at the school for about a year and a half.

"In the interview for Closer I didn't even mention the name of the school but it's out there now because they've faced so much backlash.

"The magazine came out on the Tuesday and I'd been in work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday doing overtime.

"The head teacher was quite abrupt and rude with me when I asked for an hour off to watch my child's assembly.

"He'd apparently questioned some of the staff about the article and spoken to the governors before he spoke to me.

"He left me a voicemail on Thursday night and sent a text. I rang him and he said he'd read the article and he thinks it's going to affect the school in a massive way and it's made me look bad.

"He said he is shocked and disgusted.

"In my contract, I'm sure it didn't say anything about talking to the media.

"He said there and then 'I don't want you to come into work tomorrow. I'm going to suspend you on full pay'. The way I was spoken to on the phone was horrible.

"I'm not really happy about it. There were other women in the magazine talking about surgery they'd had. I'm wondering if they're facing such backlash for talking about their surgery."

A Diocese of Shrewsbury spokesman said: "The Diocese of Shrewsbury can confirm that a member of the teaching staff of St Clement's Catholic Primary School in Runcorn has been suspended pending an investigation by the governing body into an interview the person gave to a national publication.

"The suspension is a neutral act to allow due process. The investigation has yet to be concluded so it would be premature at this point to speculate on its outcome."

On a post on Facebook, The Women's Health Clinic wrote: "No-one should be treated badly for speaking out about their own medical issues.

"We believe if women had more information about their bodies and what is 'normal' then this type of information would not be taboo in the first place."

A spokesperson for the nurse-led clinic said: "The treatment has been around for quite a whole in America and Australia.

"It's not available on the NHS and provides an alternative to surgery which can include vaginal mesh.

"A lot of women come to us because they have stress incontinence and it's just a 15-minute procedure.

"She'd had four kids and she wasn't feeling how she was before.

"The laser takes off the damaged layer of skin which is why some people are calling it a 'vagina facial' but it helps with stress incontinence.

"Women are experiencing damage through aging or childbirth and their vaginas are returning to how they used to be.

"I've heard it called a miracle before. We all just put up with leaking because we're told it's just what happens but it doesn't have to be that way.

"We have women coming to us who need to use up to 10 panty liners a day because their incontinence is that bad. Vigorous exercise is out of the question until they have this done."

- Caters

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