Oh! No. I Just Peed A Little…
Let’s talk three kids and a few years passed forty…. You’re at the party in your little black dress, a glass of Pellegrino in your hand. You’ve shaved or waxed or plucked every unwanted hair. You’ve had a pedicure. Your hair looks magnificent. Your face is shining with delight and your super-white teeth gleam. You’ve been to gym; your buttocks are tight and your belly is slim. Let’s face it. You look damn good!
Now the life of the party tells his usual, hilariously funny, bust-a-gut-laughing joke and as you naturally respond with a big guffaw, you simultaneously cross your legs and bend over double trying not to dribble pee down your ever so smooth, shapely legs. Then you quickly excuse yourself to the Loo where you repair the leaky damage, looking at yourself in the mirror, thinking: How have I come to this?
Yep. This is the reality of many women post-pregnancy, post-partum and for those of us who are, shall we say, of an age.
There are, it seems, two varieties of this obnoxious phenomenon: stress incontinence (brought on by a sudden stress to the bladder such as the aforementioned laughter, a sneeze, cough or jumping) and urge incontinence. The second type is well…when you gotta go you gotta go and you can’t hold it! Yikes! According to a Swan Study of Women’s Health article on the subject, Dr. Elaine Waetjen, a gynecologist with the UC Davis Medical Center studied three-thousand women over nine years, finding that 68% of them, age 42-64, experienced urinary incontinence at least once a month. The article states that:
…doctors [may] recommend non-medicated treatment options for women whenever possible. These include bladder training for those with urge incontinence complemented by Kegel exercises, weight loss, and minimizing bladder irritants such as caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol and citrus fruits.
Here’s an instructional video for those of you who want to learn the Kegel exercises mentioned above as a path to strengthening the pelvic floor:
It’s not that easy a thing to talk about and, in fact, until recently, has been considered a taboo subject. Something (else) we women are just supposed to endure and not bore everyone else about! There is new hope though. Urogynecology is a new medical specialty that has arisen as more women have spoken up about a need for help with annoying and frankly, emotionally debilitating incontinence and pelvic problems.
One very interesting treatment is called Emsella.
EMSella is a chair that uses high-intensity electromagnetic field to activate motor neurons in the pelvic floor. This is similar to an MRI. The technology is known as High Intensity Focused Electromagnetic Technology (HIFEM) and it causes deep pelvic floor muscles stimulation.
Take a look at this KENS5 news clip about EMSella:
According to experts at the Urology Place, the treatment is quite expensive since most insurances do not cover it. It may be the answer for some who are willing to shell out the coin!
If you are experiencing urinary incontinence of either type, whatever you do, don’t let “nothing” be it! Discuss your symptoms with your medical professional, do your own research about what treatments are available and choose the one that’s right for you. You deserve to get the help you need.
In the meantime, before you go to the next black-dress event, check out these functional undies by Icon meant to help keep your leaky secret, a secret!
images used with permission of the artist via Creative Commons unless otherwise noted. Some rights reserved. 1) “You’re Cool” by Maria Morri Dress by American Apparel. 2) Retrato de Marta by Juan Antonio Segal
d. ellis phelps is the author of this blog and of the novel, Making Room for George (Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, 2016).