I was invited by TENA to The Savoy, London to come and talk about bladder weakness (and to take part in an amazing chocolate masterclass). The hotel was amazing, I didn’t want to leave! I’ll be telling you all about the chocolate masterclass on my new food blog Mama Foodie soon.
Bladder weakness is something like many women and men, I’m aware of, but it isn’t really spoken about, apart from in a jokey way. When we talk about laughing, we say ‘I was wetting myself laughing!’ We joke about going on a trampoline or jumping about that it’s not the same after children. Basically, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve had children or not, or how you gave birth, up to half (47 per cent) of women experience bladder weakness at some point in their lives**, making it a common occurrence for many, so it shouldn’t be something to feel self-conscious or embarrassed about.
After my first child I experienced the after birth bladder weakness that so many experience, often losing sensation and then really needing to go, leaking when sneezing and coughing, but it settled down after a few months. When I was pregnant with twins I got a really bad cough that lasted for 3 weeks and was an awful dry tickly cough that just wouldn’t go away. I had to wear pads constantly and I thought my waters were breaking many a time! I used sanitary pads at first but soon got over my embarrassment and bought specific bladder weakness pads, because they’re different in the way they absorb liquid. Blood is thicker than urine so it needs a different type of protection.
As I’ve aged and now I’m the ripe old age of 40 not out – I do my pelvic floor exercises, it’s been almost 2 years since I last gave birth (no more babies for me now) and at the moment it seems to have settled to what I suppose is my normal. I sometimes wear a panty liner depending on what I’m doing for the day to make myself feel secure, and if I’m doing any exercise I definitely wear a pad because if there’s any jumping around involved even with a just emptied bladder there’s some escape. I try and empty my bladder frequently and I’ve always drunk plenty of fluids. My minor issues aren’t enough to make me think I need to go and see my GP for a surgical referral, but if it got to the point where it was seriously affecting my life, I’d be straight there. Doctors and health professionals are there to help you and discuss any referrals that could be possible for you. TENA believe bladder weakness shouldn’t stop you being you and doing the things you love – meeting friends, exercising, travelling, playing with your children, generally being fabulous and I wholeheartedly agree.
TENA Lady have teamed up with GP Dr Hilary Jones, who I had the pleasure of meeting and quizzing, to give you five simple lifestyle tips to help ease the symptoms of bladder weakness, which I’ve talked about before, but here are his tips:
- Drink more to visit the toilet less
Many women think that by reducing how much liquid they consume, this reduces the urge to wee, but this makes urine more concentrated and it becomes an irritant instead.
For a happy bladder, Dr Hilary Jones recommends drinking six to eight glasses of liquid a day and sticking to water, fruit juice and herbal teas rather than caffeinated tea, coffee, alcohol and fizzy drinks. Urine from a healthy bladder should be the colour of pale straw. With young children and a job, how many of us can say that our urine is this colour? I know when I’m working as a Midwife in the hospital when it’s busy, going to the toilet is often seen as a luxury, but we really should take care of ourselves more.
- Healthy body = happy bladder
Carrying additional body weight adds pressure to the bladder which could lead to leaks, so ensure you eat well and exercise regularly to keep your figure trim and your bladder happy. What’s more, a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fibre from fresh fruit and vegetables will help to prevent constipation, which can also put extra pressure on to the bladder.
- Feel secure with the right protection
When out and about, women will worry about the unexpected leaks that occur thanks to bladder weakness. In fact, 17 per cent of women have confessed that the fear of bladder weakness stops them from wearing their favourite underwear*. This is true for me, if I’m wearing any sort of ‘sexy’ pants, it means I’ve just had a bath, been to the loo and his luck is in! Otherwise it’s comfort all the way.
- Stop smoking
Women who smoke are more likely to experience ‘smokers cough’ which puts additional pressure on the pelvic floor and therefore affects the strength of the bladder. What’s more, the nicotine reduces the collagen in your bladder, making the muscle weaker and more prone to additional leaks.
Quitting can help to ease all of these symptoms.
- Perfect your pelvic floor
Regularly practicing your pelvic floor exercises can be really effective at toning up your pelvic muscles and reducing unexpected leaks, but it’s important to do them properly. To exercise them, simply squeeze your pelvic muscles for a couple of seconds without holding your breath or tightening your stomach, buttock or thigh muscles. I find it difficult to know if I’m doing it exactly right, and to remember to do it. TENA lights developed an app called My PFF (My Pelvic Floor Fitness), which has been developed with the help of experts to guide you on how to correctly perform them, and reminds you when to do them. I’ve been having a go and have found it beneficial, with lots of helpful info.
Dr Hilary, the brand ambassador for TENA Lady says:
“Bladder weakness is much more common than most think, so women shouldn’t feel scared to open up about it and shy away from doing their day to day activities”
“These five simple changes to your lifestyle can go a long way to improving the health of your bladder and help to reduce the risk of unexpected leaks.”
If you find that it’s more than the occasional ‘Ooops moment,’ and you’re increasingly feeling like you can’t do what you love, then the newly improved TENA Lady Pants Discreet might be for you. Make sure you discuss your issue with your GP so they can point you in the right direction of professional help if you need it.
The improvements to the TENA lady pants mean that it’s now easier than ever to feel completely confident and secure, whatever you decide to wear. They now feature an improved fit and cotton-soft fabric, the upgraded TENA Lady Pants Discreet are the brand’s most ‘underwear-like’ pants ever. A new, thinner core combines improved discretion with a secure, super-absorption zone, leaving you feeling fresh and dry all day long. All TENA Lady products offer Triple Protection against leaks, odour and moisture to give you total peace of mind and complete confidence when it comes to bladder weakness.
Featuring an improved fit and cotton-soft fabric, the upgraded TENA Lady Pants Discreet are the brand’s most ‘underwear-like’ pants ever. Perfectly in tune with your body, the pants hug your shape and fit discreetly under any garment. So you’ll barely notice they’re there and, of course, neither will anyone else.
What’s more, a new, thinner core combines improved discretion with a secure, super-absorption zone, leaving you feeling dry all day long. Fresh odour control, which neutralises and eliminates odour, keeps you fresh and ready for whatever activities you have planned.
Ensuring you have total peace of mind, TENA Lady Pants Discreet, manufactured by leading global hygiene products company SCA, provide Triple Protection against leaks, odour and moisture to offer complete comfort, security and reassurance.
For more information and to order a FREE sample, please visit: http://www.tena.co.uk/women/
At the moment, on promotional packs of TENA lady pants duos, you can get a free pouch to keep a spare pair of the pants in, which fits discreetly in your bag, and has no branding on it so no-one can tell what’s in it.
*OnePoll survey 2016, of 1,000 women in the UK
** TENA Lady survey 2015, of 2,000 women in the UK
Disclosure: I attended the chocolate masterclass for no cost, however I was not compensated for this post, it remains an issue I would like to raise awareness for. All opinions are my own