Let’s All Have a Dry January!
Leakage is something that we rarely talk about, and why? Because it is only considered unacceptable in society if the person doing it is under seven or over 70. Anyone in between must keep quiet because it is disgusting and abnormal. No, no, no, it’s all wrong! And this opinion makes me cross. I also find it so hard to stomach that this attitude is still so prevalent in society and that these subjects are still taboo. It is almost 2023…we shouldn’t be whispering behind closed doors anymore.
Back at the end of last year, in the lead-up to our #DryJanuary campaign, I wrote a blog on the different types of incontinence. Now January is flying round again, I have decided to revisit some of the points discussed in that blog - and repeat the message. And I will continue to repeat the message as often as it takes to spread the word. #DryJanuary is back again!
Let’s Talk Leakage…
Incontinence is common and comes in different forms…none of which are just part of ‘getting older’ or ‘to be expected after childbirth’. But the important message is that although leakage is very common, it is not normal, and no one should have to live with it. Every day I speak to women who experience urinary incontinence, and it makes me sad when I hear how long they have been living with it. I want to reach out to them and tell them there are solutions. Every time we turn on the TV, there is a different advert for sanitary towels or a new pair of incontinence knickers. These products are great for those that need them and can be life-changing; I am a massive advocate for women seeking and finding solutions. But what I struggle with, is that half of those using these products shouldn’t need to use them. Instead of finding a pair of underwear that disguises their leakage, I want them to combat the leakage and shop for whatever underwear they want. That should be the aim AND the outcome.
Only 45% of women experiencing incontinence have seen their doctor; the rest are silent, worried about saying it aloud or admitting a problem. They are scared. Well, I am telling you all today that NO ONE IS ALONE in my community. Urinary incontinence can lead to embarrassment, avoidance of sex, social isolation and UTIs. It is my mission with the Pelvic Power Movement to stop this. We will stop this, we can do it together.
What Is Normal?
A small amount of leakage after childbirth is very common and often considered a normal part of the trauma that our bodies go through. There is a lot that is normal, but there is also a lot that is not. Women should not be peeing their pants long term…fact! Urinary incontinence is very common during pregnancy due to the relaxing of the pelvic floor muscles in preparation for childbirth. It can also be caused by excess weight weakening the pelvic floor muscles. However, it should only be temporary; if it isn’t, the alarm bells should be ringing. That’s when it is time to take action. In the three months following childbirth, a third of women will experience leakage, but only half of them will seek help from a medical professional—a scary statistic and one that I would love to change. I want women to be able to talk about this subject and feel confident and empowered in seeking solutions.
The main myth regarding pelvic floor exercises is that they are only done after the problem occurs – and I guess that’s because, for most of us, that is the first we hear about them. But pelvic health is something that women should focus on throughout their lives; www.nhs.uk even states that everyone can benefit from pelvic floor exercises…not just new mums, not just expectant mums, and not just menopausal mums…everyone! Pelvic health is something we should be working on throughout our whole lives. Prevention is not always possible, but it is what we should strive for. If it helps to reduce the severity of our symptoms, that has to be a positive, right?
Sadly, most of us aren’t given any information on incontinence until we are experiencing it. We aren’t told it is something that could happen to us at any point in our lives. And we aren’t told that there are key stages of our life where we are at higher risk, including pregnancy and menopause. It is not until we pee our pants that we realise there is a problem, and we panic. It is scary, and no one should have that massive burden on their shoulders. No one. This increase in education is something I push for every day. Times are changing but sadly, very, very slowly.
There is a massive difference between something common and something normal. Normal implies that your body is functioning as it should be; if you’re experiencing bladder leakage, your body is not functioning normally, and you do have options. According to Incontinence UK, ‘rapid growth has been predicted for the global incontinence market between now and 2026’. Why are these companies getting all our money? We need to resolve the problem, not mask it! I want every single woman experiencing urinary leakage to know how to find a better, leak-free life for themselves. Everyone deserves that.
So, if you aren’t already part of our private Facebook Community, join us today, Pelvic Power Movement Community | Facebook. Throughout January, we will be revisiting #DryJanuary and bombarding you with top tips and mini-challenges all month to help you get leak-free. Please invite your friends to the group and join us…want to stop peeing your pants? I have the answers!