#WCW17 runs from 18th-24th June and is designed to raise awareness surrounding all things bladder. This is a collaborative post with Essity. You can find more information about World Continence Week here.
I first starting writing on my blog about bladder weakness with a post on how to avoid Oops moments which introduced the fact that we all have Oop’s Moments and there is no need to feel any shame about them. In January I attended an event with a group of bloggers for Lights by TENA which again talked about light bladder weakness. Many things came to light during our discussion there and I really believe that we need to break the taboo and stigma that surrounds the subject because so many men and women deal with it every single day. #HygieneMatters is a campaign designed to educate everyone and break down some of the myths surrounding the subject.
One thing I find really shocking is there are so many myths surrounding bladder weakness too.
“Bladder weakness only affects elderly women.” FALSE.
More than half of women under the age of 40 experience some form of bladder weakness.
That’s really quite shocking isn’t it? I don’t associate 40 with being old, whereas before I began writing and educating myself about bladder weakness I would have associated any form of incontinence with old age. The truth is bladder weakness affects so many women. I’ve had a lot of discussions with friends over the last year to try and break that taboo and show it’s not something to be ashamed from, something that affects so many women. These are conversations I’ve had with women of all ages, women who are mothers, women who are younger than I am and women that have experienced light and very infrequent continence issues.
My experience with light bladder weakness comes from pregnancy. I do not remember having an issue with it before but the strain pregnancy puts on your body can have a long lasting affect on your bladder. I found doing pelvic floor exercises did help me a lot and now as a result I believe my bladder has strengthened. However, I didn’t believe I would now suddenly have such an urgency to go to the bathroom. One thing I really find frustrating is that I need to stop drinking around 45 minutes before I go out anywhere, particularly on the school run, where there isn’t a place to stop off and use the loo. I never thought I would have to plan a walk around internal health issues and I never thought going to the bathroom would be on my mind so much when planning trips out. It’s really frustrating.
The truth is, we could all face bladder weakness at some stage in our life and that is totally fine but there are plenty of things we can do to really help our bodies. Pelvic floor exercises can help to strengthen our bladder. There are plenty of apps that can help you with this. Emptying the bladder regularly and fully ensures that we can avoid those Oops moments. The most important thing however, is if you feel you are experiencing anything like this, is to speak to your GP and ensure you are using the right product to protect yourself. It’s not pleasant, it’s not comfortable but it’s nothing to feel ashamed about and you should absolutely seek help and advice.
We can only do so much to prevent and protect ourselves from bladder weakness but we can do a lot to prevent people from feeling ashamed and stop it from being a taboo subject surrounded by stigma and old myths. Talk about it with your circle of friends, the women in your life and if you feel your daughter is feeling ashamed then make sure she knows it’s a part of life and that help is available for her. Only by speaking out can we educate others. After all, bladder weakness does not just affect elderly women, it can potentially affect all of us.
Do you think campaigns like #WCW17 and #HygieneMatters help to educate and break the taboo surrounding health issues like this?