Lifestyle, Pregnancy and Newborns

Incontinence? Unconscionable 

I love my blog. Some days I loathe it, like when I feel it’s not performing in line with the effort I put into it, or that it’s taking me away from my family. But mostly, on balance, it’s freaking awesome.

My blog gives me and my family incredible opportunities I’d otherwise not have: you may have missed it, but I had a little fan-girl moment over Cherry Healey recently; as I write I’ve just come from quaffing proscecco at a swanky hotel in London.

But there’s another – less shallow – reason that I LOVE my blog: it enables me to be a part of some really valuable campaigns. I’m so proud of that.

I’ve been to an event hosted by Always. I know, awkward, right? Who wants to talk about *whispers* periods? (Been there, done that, as it happens…)

No? Okay, let’s skip that. How about Female Adult Incontinence instead? 

incontinence

Your collective gasps of horror are so audible I can practically hear them through the space and time between me writing this sentence and you reading it. (If I could bend physics thus, I’d reach through your screens and close your mouths for you.)

But let’s be adults for a moment.

 

The Last Taboo?

Naturally, there are some topics of conversation which are quite clearly more appropriate than others. The increasing personal nature of those subjects is directly proportional to how well you know the person you’re speaking to. And – while we’re being frank – the volume of alcohol consumed. Right?

Right. So, as you can imagine, I’m quite particular about the things I discuss and endorse on my blog. My blog is not only a reflection of me personally, but also professionally, ie. it’s essential I give off the impression I want others to have of me and of my business.

The Always event I’ve just attended was so heavily embargoed I didn’t even know what I was there for until I arrived and saw incontinence products artfully placed next to vases of flowers. I began to panic think about how I would cover this taboo subject…

In the meantime, I met several others bloggers for Prosecco and ponderings on the subject of weak bladders. There was one lady who, within mere minutes of meeting, chose to share with me the fact she was carrying one of the products we would be discussing. Yep – she even pulled an Always Discreet incontinence pad out of her bag to prove it.

I’m a very private person. If I’m going to share, it will be with my closest buddy, my hubby, or my GP. So I was a bit (a lot) surprised… Actually, that doesn’t cover it; I won’t lie: I was aghast. I didn’t know what to say. Feeling uncomfortable, I greedily drank my bubbles and scanned the room for an escape route.

I was saved at that moment by noticing the lovely Talya, of Motherhood: the Real Deal,  was also there. I wandered over for a chat as we were ushered into a screening of a short film about the issue. We had a choice of popcorn or penny sweets to feast on with our fizz, and I began to think the taboo subject I had to find a way of tackling was being rather well balanced out with the treats on offer.

Incontinence

 

Female Adult Incontinence

The film introduced several women who talked about their difficulties with incontinence and how it affected them. For example, something I’d never considered was the fact that it can prevent women from doing every-day things like jumping on a trampoline with their child, or even just running after them. It can also cause relationship problems as it affects their sex-life too. Even choices in clothing and ability to exercise are dictated by this issue.

Incredibly, I learned that incontinence affects one in three women.

At this point, I started to look at things a little differently to when I’d arrived. Yes, it’s a taboo subject, which basically equates to me feeling a little awkward or embarrassed having the conversation. But actually, it’s very common. If you watch the short video (below) I appear in with fellow bloggers Talya and Clare (Mumsy Mum), you’ll see I do some pretty inspiring maths – essentially, statistically, one of the three of us should be afflicted by Adult Incontinence. That’s crazy; and kind of devastating.

The women in the Always film expressed their relief at being able to discuss a subject which affects their lives every day, but which they’ve repressed in the past. One lady said:

‘Our bodies are perfect as babies, and then things change.’

I found that very poignant. Nobody chooses for their body to ‘let them down’ in some way. Yet there are certain debilitating conditions which are more ‘acceptable’ than others. Essentially, our embarrassment about anything related to the reproductive organs or expelling waste is off-limits. This attitude leads to shame and secrecy – which ultimately allows the cycle to perpetuate.

 

Overcoming Discomfort

In the event, for me the most uncomfortable aspect of the, erm…event was the dawning realisation that I was part of the problem. If the lady who shared with me felt able to do so – at a function to raise awareness of that topic – then why should I feel she was being inappropriate?

Naturally, I’m over-simplifying the matter to make a point. The crucial element is context.

Love it or loathe it, social etiquette is alive and well; it’s an intricate dance, of which we must master the complex moves in order to pass or fail. 

Had we been in any other situation, then my discomfort would perhaps be reasonable. However, understandable or not, I totally accept that it’s absurd – and actually quite unnecessary: once dialogue was opened and made ‘acceptable’, everybody I spoke to was quite relaxed about discussing it.

Turns out we’re mostly uncomfortable about breaking a taboo, as opposed to the taboo itself. Who knew?

If you’re one of the 33% of women who lives with AI, please don’t suffer in silence. Many ladies are so intensely embarrassed about seeking help that they’re leaving themselves improperly protected by using incorrect products. Investigating your options could really improve your situation.

Incontinence

 

Always Helping

Speaking of which, Always have been developing their current range for ten years, and they’re pretty proud of the product they’ve released. But they want to aid women like you in two different ways:

  • By creating their thinnest ever pads which also control odour by turning liquid into gel within seconds;
  • By capitalising on the platform they have to promote awareness and encourage communication about this taboo.

Possibly one of the most fascinating pieces of information I took away from the day is that there’s pioneering research being undertaken looking into whether Botox may be a viable option to ‘treat’ AI. So while this may not yet be available, it’s something to look forward to.

Also, did you know that pelvic floor exercise can also drastically improve your situation?

And in the meantime, you can count on Always Discreet to give you 100% protection. For more advice and tips visit Always Info.

This is a commissioned post.

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37 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    Jul 7, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    A great article Kate. You have raised such an important issue and tackled the taboo head-on. This is exactly what women need in order to break that taboo and to start feeling better and seeking the help they require.
    I didn’t realise that 1 in 3 women suffered either. So it is definitely something that shouldn’t be so closeted. Well done for raising awareness.

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 8, 2016 at 8:07 am

      Thanks Rebecca! X

  2. Jane Duckworth

    Jul 8, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Very enjoyable round-up of such an empwering evening! I loved the vlog too 🙂

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 11, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      I’m glad you liked it. ? Thanks for commenting.

  3. Themotherhub

    Jul 10, 2016 at 10:04 am

    It is taboo..or only joked about ..but it’s pretty awful actually. As with everything , the more we talk about it the better ! #kcacols

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 11, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      I can imagine. Exactly, thanks for reading.

  4. caroline

    Jul 10, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    What a fab read and yes it isnt something that gets discussed very often and should be brought in to the main stream, with no taboo’s, I have shared because there will be people that suffer and do not dare open up about it xxx

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 11, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks Caroline, I really appreciate that. Thanks for your lovely comment.

  5. Deborah Nicholas

    Jul 10, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Great article and well worth talking about! After 6 children lets just say my pelvic floor ain’t what it use to be lol

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 11, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks Deborah!

  6. Gill

    Jul 10, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Great post about a sensitive subject x

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 11, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you.

  7. Rachel

    Jul 10, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    A great post and you are right, it is a taboo subject and it shouldn’t be x

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 11, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      Thanks Rachel x

  8. Kara Guppy

    Jul 11, 2016 at 7:36 am

    It is such an important subject to discuss. Thankfully I am ok, but I make sure I do those pelvic floors daily

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      Eek, I’ve got so lazy since I had my daughter! Must be more disciplined!

  9. Natalie Streets

    Jul 11, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Fabulous piece! I remember saying I’d never need anything like this, but after Oliver it would have definitely come in handy and I think they’ll be going on my checklist for the next baby!

    Sometimes I like seeing the look of horror on people’s faces when I say after giving birth I’d feel like I need a wee, only to realise when I got to the toilet I was already going! haha! Luckily for me my body functions have returned to normal, but I know my BIL’s ex still suffers, almost 4 years after her 2nd baby – she certainly can’t bounce on a trampoline like I can.

    Well done for breaking the taboo!!

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 11, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks so much Natalie! And thank you for sharing your story x

  10. Aparna

    Jul 12, 2016 at 5:16 am

    Great Narration !

  11. Hannah

    Jul 12, 2016 at 11:52 am

    What a great read, its definitely not talked about enough x

  12. Ickle Pickle

    Jul 12, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    It is always great to raise awareness about such sensitive issues – it definitely should not be a taboo. subject. Kaz x

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 19, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      Thanks for reading. x

  13. the frenchie mummy

    Jul 12, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    33% wow, I would have never thought so . There is nothing to be embarrassed about , it’s a condition. I have to say I was doing my pelvic floor exercise like a little girl. I didn’t want it to happen! #KCACOLS

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 19, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Me too! I truly believe I avoided an assisted delivery because I’d been so strict with my pelvic floor during my pregnancy! ?

  14. Silly Mummy

    Jul 13, 2016 at 12:55 am

    I’m like you – I would have felt very uncomfortable. But you’re quite right, it is something that affects a lot of people & they should be able to discuss it & not have it be a taboo.

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 19, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      I’m glad it’s not just me! But I do appreciate it’s just as much my problem.

  15. Shelly

    Jul 13, 2016 at 4:48 am

    At the risk of making you uncomfortable (Sorry!) I have a funny story. I have given birth to 11 children…you probably know where this is going. The other day my 3 yr. old peed in her pants, and I said, “Kenzie, you’re not supposed to pee in your pants! Mommy doesn’t do that!” My 10 yr. old who was standing next to me said, “You do when you run.” Kids…gotta love ’em. Visiting from #KCACOLS!

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 19, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      Now, see, that doesn’t make me cringe. It’s funny! I think it’s the context thing again. Or perhaps I’m just a big contradiction?!

  16. Lisa Jane

    Jul 13, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Wow 1 in 3 women. I had no idea. Well done to you for getting involved

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 19, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks Lisa; I know – crazy, isn’t it!

  17. Jess Powell (Babi a Fi)

    Jul 13, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    It’s such a widespread thing – but it’s still so taboo you’d never know it! Big kudos to you for writing about it and spreading awareness! x #KCACOLS

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 19, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks Jess. It’s nuts how common it is – I really didn’t have any idea! X

  18. Savannah

    Jul 13, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Such an important topic to cover-especially with other mothers. Incontinence is a topic that is definitely not talked about as much as it should be!
    Since my son was born, my pelvic muscles became very weak. Thankfully, I came across Ben Wa balls!! Awkward, I know. But, a total lifesaver! Thanks for sharing <3 #KCACOLS

    1. Kate Tunstall

      Jul 19, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Oh wow! I don’t know, but I can guess! Needs must though! Thanks for sharing x

  19. You Baby Me Mummy

    Jul 14, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Great post, something which should be talked about more openly. I used to be a dressage rider so have a super strong core (now under fat!) but it has meant I don’t have those issues post childbirth. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

  20. Nicky Kentisbeer

    Jul 14, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    God that’s an eye opener. I guess people don’t talk about it other than in a joking way when referring to star jumps and running. I suppose given the lack of awareness they wouldn’t would they. Clearly, it’s a problem though. I had issues post birth but I worked my pelvic floor so hard, it’s scared of me now. Really interesting article.

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