deal with any issues as best they can and then face the world with the happiest smile they can muster. When it comes to UI (urinaryincontinence), more commonly referred to as bladder leakage there have been no solutions – just large and bulky pads – and women have simply had to avoid situations where they didn’t have easy access to a toilet. Bladder leakage brings with it so much more than a physical problem; it can have a hugepsychological effect on women, massively reducing quality of life.
Up until now, women have mostly been expected to deal with ‘private’
matters concerning ‘private’ parts behind ‘private’ doors – basically to
Bladder leakage affects 2 in 3 women over 40. It’s a mind-blowing
statistic! However, a recent survey showed that only 30% of sufferers
aged 40+ have been to see a healthcare professional about the problem.
And 60% have kept the condition secret from their partners. Why?
Many women feel too embarrassed to discuss the problem with doctors or
friends, as if it’s something they have done wrong, something they ought
to be ashamed of. Well no more. Kate Winslet and Katy Perry have been
brave enough to speak publicly about the condition, and we need to take
a leaf out of their book and feel confident enough to do the same. It’s time
to break the taboo surrounding bladder leakage and start to talk openly
about this common problem that affects millions of women.
UI, or bladder leakage, is when you pass urine when you don’t mean to.
This can happen occasionally or frequently depending on the severity and
type of condition. It usually happens when women cough, sneeze, laugh or
exercise. The most likely cause of UI in women is pelvic floor muscle
The pelvic floor is a set of muscles that sit like a hammock between your
tail bone (coccyx) and pubic bone. These muscles give us control over our
bladder and bowel and when they weaken, they are no longer fully
supporting the internal organs, which can lead to leakage.
This condition can affect women as young as 16 and can be caused by many things such as carrying a child, childbirth, chronic cough, constipation or menopause.
The condition can prevent women from doing sport, which has
repercussions on their health; it can prevent women from going anywhere
that doesn’t have easy access to a toilet, which is hugely restricting; it can
prevent women from having sex with their partners, nights out with
friends, walks with family… the list goes on. In short, the condition can
result in a massive change in personal and social activity and therefore
have a huge mental impact on the women who suffer from it.
GPs will often recommend pelvic floor muscle exercises; these can be
great for strengthening the muscles in question, however many women
struggle to do them correctly (50%) and in some cases this can actually
make the matter worse. But finally, healthcare professionals and scientists
have broken ground in the largest unmet need in women’s health after
realising we needed a solution, not a coping strategy. A new product
called Pelviva hit the market last year and it’s already winning awards as
the first product of its kind. It’s a single-use, disposable pelvic floor muscle
trainer that basically does the work for you. You can think of it as a clever
little computer inside a tampon-style device that sends short pulses to
your pelvic floor, mimicking the way the body works naturally, causing the
muscles to contract and, over the 12-week course, strengthen the pelvic
Their website gives tonnes of information and you can watch videos of
women talking about their experiences. Just listening to them talk about
the changes they had to make in their lives to adjust to living with bladder
leaks is heart wrenching. But likewise, hearing them explain what a
difference the treatment has made on all aspects of their lives makes it
clear how important it is to tackle this problem head-on.
Anything that improves quality of life is worth a shot, and the thought of
being able to jump on a trampoline with your kids, or dance with your
partner long into the night without having to constantly pop to the toilet
must feel like an unachievable dream to millions of women. But if we start
to talk, start to realise we are not alone in dealing with this – one of many,
bodily malfunctions that women have to face as they age – we will learn
that we don’t have to give up. One of the women who talks about Pelviva
on their website perfectly sums up what it feels like to be free of bladder
“I had 12 years of bladder leakage where I felt totally out of control and in
12 weeks [of using Pelviva]… nothing! I’m not even in panty liners
anymore. I feel in total control. I think because of that one issue being
solved in my life it’s actually fixed a lot more of what I didn’t realise were
issues in my life, mentally, physically, I’m happier, I’m more confident, I’m
even losing weight. It’s totally transformed me. I have a very happy
husband; I instigate a lot of things these days! I am the one saying shall
we go out this weekend. In the last four years I’ve never been like that.
Seriously, it’s had a huge, huge impact on my life… In the last 4-5 years, I
am not in any pictures. I didn’t like pictures of myself. I realise that was
my lack of confidence. This [recent holiday] my husband was laughing,
[there were] hundreds of pictures of me. That’s the first time I saw it –
gosh, look at me, look how happy I am. It’s just incredible. It’s life
Want to restore your pelvic floor? Check out the Pelviva website.