How to prevent bladder leaks

The hardest thing about pelvic floor exercises – is remembering to do them! Try these tips for creating a lasting habit

I have an embarrassing problem. My bladder leaks when I run, sneeze, or even just walk too fast. And because I love food – I need to run to burn some of it off (ok so running is overselling it. I lightly jog.)

But also, I sneeze a LOT – if its not hayfever, then its cats, if it’s not cats then its dust – you get the picture right. And because I grew up in Melbourne, I have a tendency to walk fast. Got to keep up! But all this fast walking results in bladder leakage. And I haven’t even started on the days when I’m trying to be good with my water intake!!! 

It all started many years ago when I had my first son. He was 10lb and boy did he have man-boobs. My second son, two years later, was as 12lb. He came out looking like a toddler – which was not ok. My boys are the joy of my life, but my pelvic floor muscles have never been the same. I guess this is my biggest problem. I’m told that I should be able to fix my pelvic floor muscles. Mum sent me a brochure about a wave machine I can sit on. And my friend told me about electrodes that pulse when I put them up my girly parts. I tried very hard to get the mesh surgery. But after three operation postponements (due to hundreds of women having issues with faulty pelvic mesh implants in Australia resulting in multiple lawsuits), I decided that the universe was trying to tell me something, so I temporarily gave up on that.

Instead, I have decided to work on my pelvic floor muscles. See previous blog post for the: 4 steps for how to do your pelvic floor exercises correctly.

I understand how to do my pelvic floor exercises, but my problem is REMEMBERING to do them!

The trick I have discovered is two-fold. Planning and exercise.

Here are my 4 key tips to help make the habit stick

  1. Start small. Try with one set of pelvic floor exercises every day for one week and then aim to increase. It takes on average more than 2 months before a new habit becomes automatic. It’s good to build up to it and set yourself a goal to do them for a minimum of two months.
  2. Link the exercises to key trigger points in your day when you are more likely to create a joint habit. For some people, it works to link the exercise to brushing teeth every morning and night. For others it works to do the exercises on the daily work commute. Linking them to regular and familiar triggers is key. For me, I wake in the middle of the night. Regardless of the fact that the night waking is a bad habit, I find that because my mind is more relaxed and I’m not rushing, it’s when I remember my exercises the most.
  3. Consider your habits, lifestyle and routine and then mentally schedule in the times for when you will do your pelvic floor exercises. You need to make it work for you.
  4. Share with a friend that you are doing them. You can then do them together! Make it a fun activity that you both can remember and do together. Because when 1 in 3 women experience bladder leaks, you quickly discover that bladder leaks are more common than you think. So we all could benefit from a little pelvic floor exercise.

Excitingly, you are never too old to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. So start today!

Pelvic floor exercises don’t work for everybody. Should you need a little back up protection – try Vivo Bodywear! Hands down – the best bladder control underwear you will find!

12 ways to help fix or alleviate bladder leakage!

1           Seek medical helpIf you haven’t sought help – put this as a priority. Go to the doctor, your local continence nurse, or pelvic health physio therapist.
2           Do your pelvic floor exercisesStart today! Squeeze and draw-in the muscles around your bottom hole and your girly-parts at the same time. Lift them UP inside – all the way. Hold them strong and tight for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times (3 times a day). But be aware, pelvic floor exercises are not for everyone.
3           Keep active and strengthen your coreKeeping active not only helps with overall health but it can also help you lose weight. As carrying extra weight will strain your pelvic floor muscles. And everything adds up! Some activities are better than others. Yoga and pilates are two activities that are great for strengthening your core and they have the added benefit of incorporating mindfulness and relaxation. This is partially helpful because incontinence is often connected with anxiety and depression.
4           Minimize bladder irritantsUnfortunately, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and spicy/acidic foods can irritate the bladder and make leaks worse. If you find this to be a hard – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 
5           Don’t strain when doing poo’sTry to keep your bowel movements regular, because being constipated or straining while going number 2’s can overstretch your pelvic floor muscles and make urinary incontinence worse.
6           Avoid liftingLifting strains your pelvic floor muscles – so avoid it whenever you can. The key is to try any avoid anything that repetitively strains your pelvic muscles.
7           Re-train your bladderYour bladder is likely to be only 60% full when you get the urge to go pee.
Train your bladder to hold more urine without leaking by delaying your pee past the point of your urge to go. First try to delay by five minutes, by contracting your pelvic floor muscles and holding the contraction. Then aim to build up to twenty minutes or more. While you wait – take a few deep breaths and try wiggling your toes, as this sometimes helps to reduce the urge to go as this sends a signal to the bladder to relax.
8           Wear something that won’t limit your activitiesReusable leakproof underwear provide helpful backup support for you to rely on while you are working on the options above. Vivo Bodywear’s reusable absorbent leakproof underwear is great, because when you are prepared, you can get active without concern.
9Be preparedYour bladder is more likely to leak when full, so while it is important to train your bladder to be strong, it is also important that you don’t set yourself up for failure. Instead, schedule your activity to occur before you have a bladder full of beverages. And make sure you pee before you head out.
10Create an automatic reflexSqueeze before you sneeze, cough, jump or do anything else that is likely to trigger your bladder leak events.
11       Surgical treatmentSurgical treatment may be required for more acute cases of pelvic floor or prolapse. Do your research as some treatments come with many mixed reviews.
12    Nonsurgical treatmentA number of internal and external treatments are available, including kegal toners, neuromodulation, medications, muscle stimulators, kegel balls, botox, laser therapy, and vaginal pessaries (removable prosthetic device).

In summary

Less straining. More strengthening. Keep active.

The solutions are often simple, but not easy – unfortunately they take time and diligence.

If needed, protect yourself with the best bladder control underwear you will find – Vivo Bodywear.

4 steps for how to do your pelvic floor exercises correctly

Do you pee a little when you cough, sneeze or are active? Then pelvic floor exercises might help.

Step 1: With steady even breathing, start with conviction. Just a few ‘good’ exercises are better than many lackluster ones.

Step 2: Without tightening your bum cheeks, squeeze AND draw-in the muscles around your bottom hole and your girly-parts at the same time. Lift them UP inside. Try to hold them strong and tight for as long as you can, whilst building up to 10 seconds. Now, let them go and relax.

Hold tight for 10 seconds!” I hear you exclaim! Trust me I know. It’s hard.

Step 3: Repeat. Squeeze, lift, then let go and relax. Repeat. Squeeze, lift, then let go, relax. Repeat. Squeeze, lift, then let go!

It’s tricky to keep the breathing steady, but it’s important – so keep trying. It’s fair to say that I still haven’t mastered it. Hopefully you are better than me.

Step 4: Aim for 3 sets of 10 lift and squeeze exercises – three times a day. This can be while walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. Each set of 10 will take roughly 2min each. So all the time you need to invest in your body is 6min per day to start off. 

Tell me – how do you remind yourself to do your pelvic floor exercises?

Pelvic floor exercises: Start today! Squeeze and lift. Hold tight for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times
(3 times a day – any time, any place).

Should you need a little back up protection while strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, then try Vivo Bodywear! Hands down – the best bladder control underwear you will find!

Please note, pelvic floor exercises do not work for everybody. Consult your doctor or pelvic health physio if in doubt. 

Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 3

I have spent the past 20 years working for government and the private sector. For most of those years I held key executive positions. Three characteristics in particular have been instrumental to my success. They are: having a positive attitude, a solid reputation, and confident communication skills.

For key tips on each element, see the three-part series. Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 1 and Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 2


Characteristic three:  Confident communication skills

One way of building credibility is being able to clearly articulate your views within a group situation. Below are six key components that will help you succeed in doing this:

  1. Preparation and progress

Prepare before going into a meeting. Know what the key points are that you want to make and actively listen for the correct time to contribute

Know what you want to achieve before you begin

Always ensure action points are taken and verbalised to the group – to ensure everyone is on the same page. If no actions are taken – then why are you meeting?

  1. Acknowledgement

Acknowledge other people’s contributions. This will build comradery, team spirit and motivation.

  1. Separate yourself from the product

This is a great skill to possess! In order to improve a product or service, it is important that it adequately meets the needs of the intended audience. In order for that to occur the feedback of others is crucial.

It’s essential that you don’t take that feedback personally. No person or product is perfect. Because everyone is different, others can add additional and alternative elements that could improve the product or service. It’s not imperative to take all feedback on-board– just make sure that the feedback is taken on appreciatively. 

  1. Effective communication is enhanced by active listening

Active listening helps us learn more before coming to conclusions. Its importance cannot be underestimated.

  1. Be heard and understood

Your stance and tone can make a huge difference when communicating effectively. Never slouch or mumble. If you are scared in anyway – it’s important that you take a moment to JUST SLOW DOWN. Slow down your speech, slow down your breathing, and let this ‘slowness’ steady your mind. So that you can clearly articulate your points. Depending on the situation, you may need to repeat your point in different ways in different meetings, but the important part is that you ARE contributing.

there is no point in complaining after the meeting if you are not happy with the outcome if you have not spoken up when you had a chance to. Don’t quietly tell a colleague sitting next to you your viewpoint. Have confidence to share your thoughts with the wider group.  

  1. Communication effectiveness is enhanced by how to develop your documents

Ensure documents are simple and to the point.

Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 1

How being more positive and valuing yourself can make you more successful

I have spent the past 20 years working for government and the private sector. For most of those years I held key executive positions. Three characteristics in particular have been instrumental to my success. They are: having a positive attitude, a solid reputation, and confident communication skills.

For key tips on each element, see the three-part series.  Women in leadership – the secret to success – part 2

Characteristic 1:  Positive attitude

The most important characteristic that has always done me extremely well in my career, and arguably  a key promotable asset – is my positive and proactive approach. The reason this is vital to leadership is that is inspires others.  

The trick to retaining a positive attitude and approach come by way of five vital elements.

  1. I retain two distinctly different, but very intertwined, outlooks. Quite simply – I choose to remain grateful and optimistic in life and in my daily activities.

    Happiness is contagious! When I smile and be positive – others are too.
  1. A key enemy to positivity and creativity is self-doubt. I squash self-doubt when it starts to rear its ugly head. Because it adds no value.
  1. I don’t believe that I have been successful due to luck. Instead I have actively pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I make opportunities present themselves by being proactive, agile in the face of change, and by putting my hand up for new tasks in order to learn more.
  1. Being able to value your own worth and believe in yourself is also vital! As this provides the confidence in your ability to learn how to do something.
  1. Lastly, I believe that I control my own life. If I am unhappy then it is my responsibility to change something. Do not wait for circumstance, or others, to change your life for you. Make yourself responsible for your own happiness today!

The do’s and don’ts – of dealing bladder leakage

Do seek medical helpIf you haven’t sought help – put this as a priority. Go to the doctor, your local continence nurse, or a physio.  
 2Do your pelvic floor exercisesStart today! Squeeze and draw-in the muscles around your bottom hole and your girly-parts at the same time. Lift them UP inside – all the way. Hold them strong and tight for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times (3 times a day).
 3Keep active and strengthen your coreSome activities are better than others. Yoga and pilates are two activities that are great for strengthening your core and they have the added benefit of incorporating mindfulness and relaxation. This is partially helpful – as incontinence is often connected with anxiety and depression.
 4Minimize bladder irritantsUnfortunately, caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and spicy/acidic foods can irritate the bladder and make leaks worse. If you find this to be a hard one to change – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Don’t strain with number 2’sTry to keep your bowel movements regular, because being constipated or straining while going number 2’s can overstretch your pelvic floor muscles and make urinary incontinence worse.
 6Avoid liftingLifting strains your pelvic floor muscles – so avoid it whenever you can.
Not such a bad thing. Ask for help!
 7Re-train your bladderOften your bladder is only 60% full when you get the urge to go pee.
Train your bladder to hold more urine without leaking by delaying your pee past the point of your urge to go. First try to delay by five minutes. Then aim to build up to twenty minutes or more. While you wait – take a few deep breaths and do a few pelvic floor exercises.
 8Wear something that won’t limit your activitiesReusable pads or leakproof underwear provide helpful backup support for you to rely on while you are working on the options above.  
 9Surgical treatmentSurgical treatment may be required for more acute cases of pelvic floor or prolapse. The operation involves inserting a synthetic mesh implant (aka a ‘sling’). But this comes with many mixed reviews. Up to 50% of US women are affected by pelvic floor prolapse – and of those who decide to have surgery – up to 30% may require re-operation to fix it.
 10Nonsurgical treatmentA number of internal and external treatments are available, including kegal toners e.g. muscle stimulators and kegel balls, laser therapy, and vaginal pessaries (removable prosthetic devise).

Remove internal self-doubt

One of the biggest hurdles that people often face is internal negative thoughts. This may be because a mistake has been made at work, or someone has said something unkind, or the perceived required task is too hard – the list goes on…

Nothing is gained by beating yourself up internally.

The trick is to acknowledge your concern or problem – and learn from it – and then make the conscious decision to move on from it the next morning.

Step 1: go for a run or walk and clearly articulate the problem that is causing the self-doubt.

Step 2: identify the impact (external to you) and consider if you can learn anything from it.

Step 3: own your mistake. People will respect you more when you acknowledge that you have made a mistake. This can be as simple as “Whoopsie, my bad! I certainly won’t be doing that again!” or the more formal “That was totally my mistake, note to self, don’t do that again next time.” Nobody is expected to be perfect and we continue to learn until the day we die. So, its ok to let others know that you too can improve yourself.   

Step 4: consider if others will think about it anymore than you have. Noting that when it comes down to it – nobody has spare time in their life to consider the mini-mishaps of others for very long.

Step 5: do not to dwell! The key tip here – is to be continually mindful of your internal negative thoughts. Stop them before they take hold.

Step 6: if required, rectify the concern or problem with an action. But do this swiftly and then stop thinking about it. Because otherwise it is a waste of your energy and it uses up positive productive mind space.

The key to staying positive and motivated

When starting a new business, it’s hard to stop paid work and watch your bank balance hit rock bottom. It’s hard to do tasks that you have no idea about how to do. People close to you sometimes come across as negative when they think they have your best interests at heart.

Even without starting a new business, life has a way of throwing you roadblocks and challenges.

The trick is to face them, acknowledge them, and actively do something to move past them.

I remain positive and motivated by being diligent in doing the following four things:

Planning and trying my best to achieve my goals – so this means that I not only have I written down key goals that I want to achieve in my business over the next 2-3 years, but I also have a project task register that covers all the essential tasks I need to do to launch my online company, plus I have a daily to-do list (which is often just three things that I’ve jotted down on a post-it note at the end of each day). I find that having a plan of action keeps me motivated and less free to think negatively.

Removing internal self-doubt: one of the biggest hurdles that people often face is internal negative thoughts. This may be because a mistake has been made at work or something bad was said or the perceived task is too hard – the list goes on. Nothing is gained by beating yourself up internally. The trick is to acknowledge your issue or problem – learn from it – and then make the conscious decision to move on from it the next morning. That means – DO NOT DWELL! Sometimes you may need to rectify the issue or problem with an action. But do this swiftly and then stop thinking about it. Because otherwise it’s a waste of your energy and it uses up positive productive mind space.

Moving past roadblocks – when I face a roadblock I either steadily work through it piece by piece (because you can learn anything on the internet these days). Or if it’s not time sensitive, then I set it aside and focus on every other task – with the knowledge that I ‘ll come back to it when I have more information or I’m in the right frame of mind.

Making positive change: If you are unhappy then change something in your life. Don’t wait for circumstance or others to change your life for you. Make yourself responsible for your own happiness. For me this meant starting a new online retail business, because I’m passionate about the product. I also very regularly note how grateful and thankful I am for many things in my life. It doesn’t matter how I say it but just that I am saying it out loud. For example, I will constantly tell my children how thankful I am that they are mine and why I’m so happy to have them. Yesterday I found the positive about my husband missing out of a job he really wanted – which made us both much happier.

Life essentials – steering me towards entrepreneurial success

It’s been eight weeks since I started my entrepreneurial journey towards developing an online business selling leakproof underwear for pee, periods and perspiration.

I found it quite easy to stick to a healthy routine for the first five weeks, but since then I begun to slacken off. I’m hoping that by writing this post and becoming more aware of my naughtiness, that I will start to do better.

Below is my list of five essential healthy habits that I’m trying to stick to. The checkbox identifies how well I’m going.

Sleep – the no-brainer! Go to bed and wake up at a similar time each day and allow for some quiet wind-down time before bed. Not only is this great for my mood and focus but its also great for my skin. My current problem is waking during the night. If I wake then I focus on my breathing and try to clear my mind. If that doesn’t work then I read a book on my dimly lit phone with the black back light. I realize that this is probably not good. But it does take my mind off everything else and put me back to sleep swiftly. But I’m sure that listening to a meditation podcast would be better. Might have to try that.

Water – drink a full glass of water with lemon or lime first thing each morning. Then grab a 1L bottle of water and I make sure that I get through this, and then some, each day. Initially I was trying to aim for 2L but that was impossible with my weak bladder.

 3Exercise – I like to exercise as soon as I wake up, but if that’s not your best time – then find a time that works for you and program it into your day. I find that if I look at my phone when I first wake up then I am more likely to skip exercise. NAUGHTY! But if I get up and put my activewear on straight away – then I’m good to go! The question is – how best to stick to this? Because I started off great and now, well – I’m just ok. Starting NOW – I’m going to make a goal (not too ambitious) and stick to it.

 4Stretches – for me this involves stretches for a frozen shoulder, a stiff neck and pelvic floor exercises (gosh I sound old!). I’m not sure why I’m so bad at this – but while initially I started off doing this daily and I felt great too – now I’m lucky if I do it once every three weeks. I need to do better! Much better!
I know that I’m pretty good at doing them if I remember. So, starting NOW – I’m going to set a daily reminder alarm to get me back on track.



 5Staying positive and motivated – remaining positive through problems and roadblocks is very difficult – but absolutely essential! I’ve been able to do by being diligent with four things. But that is way too much information for this one blog post – so if you are keen to read more go to: The key to staying positive and motivated.

Remember – happiness is contagious!


My passion project

It was 22 January 2020, when I chose to tell my husband that I’m taking a year off from full time paid employment to work on my passion project – and that he would have to go back to work. My profession at the time was consulting/contracting for government agencies, primarily in policy and strategy development. I was paid well and I enjoyed it, but when I thought about what I’d do if money wasn’t an issue/requirement then I knew it wasn’t that.

So when I had my lightbulb moment (see previous blog story) I thought to myself – there is never going to be a better time to make a change. It was on that day when I registered my new company, with the intention of developing leak-proof underwear for pee, periods and perspiration. I was beyond excited!

I knew deep down it was the right decision. But self-doubt plagued me. It was very hard saying “no thank you” to the first few policy contract roles that were presented to me. And even after a month, when my husband still had no job, I was tempted to accept yet another short-term role. But I knew if I did this then I would lose momentum.

My husband and I had agreed that I could spend our savings, we would scrap the planned holiday, and there would be no more take-out or meal kit delivery. 😦 Plus we would need to take out a loan against the house for my first product shipment. This was my chance and while the since the family was being impacted I knew that I needed to have faith in my ability to deliver.

I started with a business plan, and then a brand strategy, a marketing strategy and a project task register. After that my primary goal was to develop a minimum viable product. However, textile manufacturers are not that common in New Zealand anymore. Not to mention, no one sold the fabric that I wanted. So while I waited (rather impatiently) for fabric samples to come from abroad I focused on everything else, such as pattern making, label requirements, packaging, and learning about online sales and marketing.

It is fair to say – that since I had never developed a product before, let alone sold anything online, I had a lot to learn.

With more time available each morning (because i was not rushing off to town on the train) I would walk/run and listen to podcasts. My husband turned the garden shed into an office for me and I would work all day out there. I was so excited to start each day. Then at night-time, when I would normally enjoy watching a light-hearted tv drama series, I found that I could no longer pay attention to them. I wanted to be thinking about my business or watching Startup School videos instead. My mind, which had previously been completely exhausted from working a solid 40hrs each week was now alive and in overdrive. This was a bit of a revelation to me. It was like a creative driven entrepreneurial energiser bunny was just desperate to be free. Who knew!

The exciting part is that its more than just making and selling a product. I am passionate about the subject of light bladder leakage because it has negatively impacted me for the past 12 years. I wanted to try and make a difference to somehow empower women to feel more confident in living their best life without limitations. I want to encourage others to share their stories and hopefully we can create a more open dialogue where we share information about the wide range of support and treatment available. Whilst also reducing some of the sensitivity around the subject.

The light-bulb moment that caused the passion project

One day I was on an overnight tramp with friends. We were sleeping in a Dept. of Conservation hut at the top of a gorgeous mountain, in a dorm room with single mattresses covered in thick durable plastic. The kids got to sleep fine after a long day of hiking, but I lay awake all night feeling uncomfortable, hot and with a mind full of thoughts. It was that night that I had a bit of a light bulb moment.

I had not been open with my girlfriends about my personal problem – and yet we are really close friends. I guess its because no one really wants to talk about bodily fluids – because that’s nasty!

But here I was, lying awake, thinking about how annoying it was that my backpack waist-strap had dug into my bladder all day during our hike and that I wish I had better pelvic floor muscles. Because not only had I leaked through the pad in my undies that day – but I was also dreading having to put another pad in the next day, as the only private place to do that was in the outdoor long-drop toilet, which was a haven for mosquitoes. 

As I lay awake that night there were three key fields of thought that just kept swirling around my head.

Firstly, I wanted to understand why I wasn’t being more open about my bladder leakage issue. I remembered some data that I’d read once that said only 1/3 of people with incontinence issues seek help. This felt wrong to me and I vowed then and there to be more open about my issues. But i thought – why not also see what I could do to foster a more open conversation about female incontinence in general.

Secondly, I was annoyed that I hadn’t been able to buy any leak-proof underwear in New Zealand prior to our overnight tramp. I had found some online providers overseas, but the cost of the product was out of my price range, particularly when I added shipping. So I decided then and there – I needed to do something about this too!

Lastly, I was annoyed with my husband. We’d had a disagreement prior to the hike and my inner self was telling me that something had to change. The thing is – I am a naturally positive and optimistic person. My husband on the other hand, is more of a realist, or a pessimist some may say. For the past 24 years that we have been together my constant level of happiness outweighed any negativity that he could bring to the table. But over the past year something had changed. I was becoming resentful and less happy.

Initially I blamed him – and that was what our disagreement was about. But then I realised – it was me that I could change. Not him. And that was the start of my much better life. And also the start of my passion project!  

My embarrassing problem

I have an embarrassing problem. My bladder leaks when I run, sneeze, or even just walk too fast. And because I love food – I need to run (ok so running is overselling it. I jog.) But also, I sneeze a LOT – if its not hayfever, then its cats, if its not cats then its dust – you get the picture right. On top of that, I grew up in a relatively big city called Melbourne and this means I like to walk fast. Slow ambling walkers often annoy me. But all this fast walking results in bladder leakage. And I haven’t even started on the days when I’m trying to be good with my water intake!!! 

It all started 12 years ago when I had my first son. He was 10lb and boy did he have man-boobs. My second son, two years later was as 12lb. He came out looking like a toddler – which was not ok. My boys are the joy of my life but my pelvic floor muscles have never been the same.

Here lies one of my biggest problems. I’m told that I should be able to fix my pelvic floor muscles. My physio told me to do the exercises. My mum sent me a brochure about a wave machine I can sit on. My friend told me about electrodes that pulse and I put them up my girly parts. My doctor suggested a surgical mesh operation. But after three postponements of the operation (because compared to others, my needs were in no way urgent) I decided that the universe was trying to tell me something, so I gave up on that.

Instead I have decided to work on my pelvic floor muscles. Here is a link to my article on the 4 steps for how to do your pelvic floor correctly.

As you may read, I understand how to do the exercises correctly – my problem is – REMEMBERING to do them! At first I tried doing them every morning and night as I brushed my teeth. But for some reason that didn’t stick.

I need to create a habit. Google tells me that it takes on average more than 2 months before a new habit becomes automatic. I guess that’s why I have still done nothing about my embarrassing problem that has plagued me for over 12 years.

I’m hoping that maybe you might be able to help. Any guidance would be great. What has worked for you to start a healthy habit?