Next week is Continence Awareness Week (from 15-21 June).
So I thought it would be a good time to share my story in the hope that we can get more people talking about bladder leaks in a more open and accepting manner.
Now I have two amazing children, who I love and adore. But they both came out ginormous! I am not kidding – they came out looking like toddlers! It was not ok. And as a result, my pelvic floor muscles were demolished!
For years I didn’t tell anyone about my bladder leak problem. Well, I mentioned it to my doctor every once and awhile, but I was told it was just normal.
One day I experienced a super embarrassing underwear leakage moment during a team building work rugby match. My pride took a big hit that day and so did my desire to ever exercise again.
So, I went back to my doctor and said that something needed to be done! I felt humiliated and at my wits end. Finally, I was referred to a specialist to get the mesh sling surgery. I was so excited. I thought it would fix everything instantly. But alas, my surgery ended up being postponed three times. And since the recovery time is 6 weeks off work – it was a logistical nightmare to manage the continual delays. I thought that maybe the universe was trying to tell me something. Consequently, I took myself off the waiting list and I continue to thank my lucky stars because I have heard so many bad stories about the sling surgery.
I now manage my bladder leaks in six key ways:
- With pelvic floor exercises. Where I’m currently focused on establishing a system to remember to do them.
- Bladder re-training, which I must say, also requires mental re-training because the concept of ‘go wees – just in case’ has been hard-wired into my brain since I was a child.
- I exercise early in the day before I have had anything to drink.
- I wear re-usable/washable leakproof underwear/pads/liners.
- I replace known trigger bootcamp exercises, such as star jumps, skipping and jumping jacks, with other exercises like froggy squats, reverse lunges, or an ab workout.
- Lastly, but most importantly, I am a lot more open with friends, family and even new acquaintances about my bladder leak problems.
Because realising how common it was – made me want to reduce the shame and stigma surrounding it. When you think about it because incontinence affects 1:3 women and 1:10 men, it’s really quite common. Yet, still we are embarrassed to talk about it. It’s not fair.
I thought that I could help a little by setting up a confidential facebook community group. Where members are encouraged to share their story and feel normal amongst their peers.
If this sounds like a group that you could benefit from – please join us today!