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Talking Bladders: The Last Female Taboo

One of my favourite people on Twitter is MammyWoo, firstly for her hilarious Tweets but also for her VERY accurate profile: I used to be cool, then I had a baby. Now I wee when I sneeze…

Because it’s true. When you have children so many weird and wonderful (but mostly not so wonderful) things happen to your body and you know what? They don’t get spoken about. At least not unless you’re with your absolute closest friends, you’ve had three glasses of wine and start speaking in hushed embarrassed tones. But these are our amazing bodies – our bodies that grew, maintained and birthed life – the biggest miracle of them all.

We shouldn’t worry about talking about the effect this has on our bodies. I’m happy to hold up my hands and say that I drink so many sodding green juices because post pregnancy I was left with persistent piles (though I draw the line at putting this on my Tinder profile), or hey, as I’m getting older my bladder seems to be getting tinier. That’s OK because we all have bodies with niggles and though mine is slowly creaking along it also birthed two brilliant children. I’m happy with those statistics.

A new study conducted by Always Discreet – revolutionary products for bladder leak protection – has revealed that 1 in 3 women in the UK suffer from bladder sensitivity. That’s a whole lot of us and is certainly not a consistent ratio when I think about the friends with whom I’ve had honest and frank conversations about our health.

Bladder issues have the consequence of making those who suffer feeling older than their age; in a study commissioned by Always nearly half of women with bladder sensitivity said they felt this way with 42% women reporting they felt less attractive or feminine and 44% saying they couldn’t remember the last time they had sex.

Always are on a mission to bring these issues to light and have enlisted the help of Campaign Ambassador and GP Dr Sarah Jarvis. I’ve picked my favourite of Sarah’s top tips to help take care of a sensitive bladder:

IT’S GOOD TO TALK (my favourite tip!)

Share how you are feeling with someone. If you feel too embarrassed to speak to a loved one then set up an appointment with your GP. Millions of women in the UK suffer from sensitive bladder, you are not alone and there is help available.

SET A SCHEDULE

Your bladder is trainable: if you’re troubled by needing to pass water very often and needing to rush to the toilet, talk with your doctor about a daily schedule to build up your bladder’s holding capacity. Remember; allow your bladder to empty completely each time you go to the toilet.

DRINK JUST ENOUGH

There’s no need to avoid drinking in order to reduce the urge to visit the bathroom. Limiting your water intake makes your urine more concentrated, which boost your chances of bladder irritation.

BYE, BYE BARISTA

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Caffeine, alcohol and fizzy drinks could be your new worst enemies– they can irritate a sensitive bladder. Everyone with sensitive bladder could benefit from cutting down on alcohol. If your symptoms include needing to rush to the loo, try limiting those coffees, teas and carbonated beverages for a week or two to see if it helps.

REGULAR RELAXATION

If you experience anxiety, worry and concern because of your sensitive bladder, mental relaxation can be a very valuable aid. Avoid worrying about problems excessively. Deliberately include activities in your daily life that bring you pleasure for example meeting friends, going to the cinema or taking a walk.

Always have launched a new site to help break down the barriers and get people talking about women’s issues such as bladder sensitivity. This brilliant space has loads of info as well as honest and uplifting stories from women such as Elaine, above. Let’s continue this conversation – we shouldn’t be ashamed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a wee…

This was written in collaboration with Always Discreet and is a cause I’m proud to support. 

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View Comments (6)
  • Yes to this! I think it’s something that needs to be spoken about much more and for there to be more awareness made available. I’m expecting my fourth baby in five years so I’m starting to see effects from carrying children now, not extreme but enough to make me see that knowledge is power especially for prevention or making it stronger again. So I’m currently going through the ‘needing a wee at night lots saga – fun’! Great post, x

  • I didn’t get this at all with Wilf but with this pregnancy I’ve felt so much pressure (and have weaker muscles I guess!) that I do occasionally suffer with this and it’s making me think I really really need to do some pelvic floors! I didn’t know green juice helped piles, I had that after giving birth and I was mortified! You are right though, our bodies are amazing they can grow actual people, how mad is that!? x

  • I’ve had issue with piles ever since giving birth too, the joys!! I also need to wee a lot, I would love to have more babies but I do worry about the effect it would have on my body but then there are the women how have loads, they must do their pelvic floors, unlike me! x

  • It happens to all of us at some point or another during pregnancy or afterwards, I think it’s really important to discuss an issue that actually really impacts womens’ day to day lives.

  • Yep I here ya! all there with the occasional weak bladder and this is a good reminder to do my pelvic floor exercises! I often feel after having all the medical intervention down there porbably hasn’t helped. x

  • I hear ya! After 3 kids I don’t even know where my bladder is, but I know I should have listened harder when they told me the benefits of pelvic floor exercises ;)

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