Incontinence and the City

Are you watching commercials ? I do.
It seems to me like there is a new approach to certain aspects of female hygiene. No I don’t meant the dorky boyfriend who gets busted by his girl and her parents while playing with her not-so-invisible pads as they walk in on him wearing them as rabbit ears. Although that’s kind of funny.

Menstruation related ads are since long part of our life, and although I am not really looking forward to explain to my son some of the dreamy/funny spots for tampons and pads in a near future – like the one with the beaver (!) which he totally loves… I think it’s OK. Times have changed. My son will be a sensitive boyfriend one day. Or one with rabbit ears.

But  actually, I mean the one  with the Giggling Girls with “Light Bladder Leakage” (for non Australians, link below). Incontinence goes “Sex and the City”?

If you watch that ad, you are indeed tempted to think it’s almost a cool thing to wet yourself! Something as hip as getting a massage and going shopping with your friends. Because hey, if you wear the right pads, “At least we can laugh about it“. Hilarious. Yeah, I am not sure, Carrie and her friends would laugh it off quite that easily – well, not all of them have had babies anyway.

But now there is me, sitting there with my family, my husband’s teenagers are  over, we are having our tv dinner on a Friday night, and that ad comes on and we all watch those chicks having a good time while they supposedly wet themselves. We all learn together that, for women of a certain age, peeing your pants is basically a normal – even fun!-  thing to do, provided you have the brands awesome pads, of course.

And the only one sitting in the lounge, ‘spot-on’ in the target group – is me. Yep.

Now my husband and my step kids are kind and polite. No one looks at me or makes an immature remark during or after the ad (while normally we do comment commercials big time). But I’ll sit in this brief silence and I think they might wonder (oh, at least the kids) wether i am concerned by this old, awkward phenomenon that bears now a somewhat nicer name : “Light Bladder Leakage”…?

Mind you – I am not, ok. I am not peeing myself! Well, not yet.
I am not wetting myself when I have a good laugh, which is what the ad obviously suggests with all those giggles – “Stress urinary incontinence”. You can call it what you like, but that’s what it comes down to. Incontinence.
And it’s definitively not fun. I don’t want it.

Then the other day, I came across an article on  and I gave it all a long hard think… I vaguely remembered my pregnancy classes in France with instructions for exercising the pelvic floor muscles… Back then, I actually did some of these exercises (it tickles a bit in the tummy, doesn’t it ?) and still ended up gloriously peeing myself during the last month of pregnancy with a huge baby for my poor 5’3. No reason to worry, said the gyneco at the time and also the midwife laughed it off.  Just keep those muscles fit after birth, they said.  I recall a postpartum examination that was a tad awkward back then but still satisfying as I was told my pelvic fitness had not been compromised by giving birth. Goody.

Only now I am almost 5 years older!  And those exercises.. I did not really bother keeping it up, does anyone really? So now I read a few things that really got me worried, because although I thought I knew roughly what brings on an elevated risk of pelvic muscle prolapse (that’s when it’s basically too late for exercises and time for adult nappies.. or even – eek!- surgery). Risk factors I knew were age, multiple births, episiotomy, obesity, but I completely ignored  I was actively contributing to slack my pelvic floor…

Yes, even these things are increasing my chances of becoming a wee-girl :

  • I ‘hover’ over public toilet seats in instead of sitting down.
    They’re full of germs, right ? Yuck.
  • I often go to the toilet ‘just in case’ – because I do send my son, so there is less drama when we are out and about. Toilet training has been long and painful.
  • I have hay fever, not bad, but bad enough for sneezing often. (I also have a roaring cough at the moment. Damn!)
  • I pride myself (ridiculously) in lifting heavy things myself. I guess having a big brother and being little can do that. Am also impatient and my husband not always around.
  • I am, like so many, indulging in almost daily caffeine intake.

All these things weaken your pelvic floor and can make it collapse and fail.

So I made a decision. I have started the exercises again. As much as I am slack about going to the gym, the exercises are easy and discreet. You can do them anywhere, anytime.  And they are definitively more fun than those women in the ad are having, thank you very much.

Oh, did I mention sex is  good for your pelvic floor too ?
Exactly. Stop giggling. Get exercising, girls !


Links : more info on pelvic floor muscles and incontinence on
wiki and – click away.

on YouTube :
–  that giggly girls ad
–  funny bf with pads ad
–  one of the ‘beaver’ ads

09/09/10 : And a big Yay! to new readers.. or actual readers, since my blog is still a bit new out here !
thanks for reading and don’t miss out on the other excellent posts of the Aussie Mommy Bloggers Blog Carnival ! clicky !!

AMB blog carnival button


33 thoughts on “Incontinence and the City

  1. EmmaK

    I don’t really have stress urinary incontinence unless I have a full bladder and sneeze but I do have to go to the toilet an awful lot and I’m wondering if there’s a syndrome for that??? yes the ads are hilarious as if there was no shame to wearing incontinence pads. Of course there is!!!

    1. kaykay

      well, i think the sneezing qualifies as ‘stress’?
      i was a bit put off by the fact that some sources recommend to ‘hold back’ when until now, i have always learned that you should not.. and i drink heaps here in summer, it’s just soo hot!

  2. Misssy M

    Don’t even ask me about doing he MC Hammer Can’t Touch This number on the Wii’s Just Dance. Turns out it’s not just sneezing that’s a prob…

  3. Lucy

    I do my exercises, and always have. But I also do all the things on the no no list.

    And I am old.

    I am waiting in fear of the leaking.


  4. Jasmine

    Well MY new resolution is to start doing those exercises while reading my blogroll each day!

    Meanwhile watching that commercial you describe, and knowing you’re the only one that it applies to, is not unlike being a teen watching a movie with a sex scene – and you’re dad entering the room right at that moment. Awkward for everyone involved!

    1. kaykay

      yeah, well i actually WALKED IN on my mother and her then bf. now THAT was awkward. but now i AM the (step)mother.
      that alone is enough to make me feel inadequate at times.
      didn’t need that commercial to point out how old and used my lower body parts are…

  5. MuffinMonsterBB

    I don’t think anyone ever keeps up with those exercises. At the hospital after having a baby there’s a special “pelvic floor exercise” lady who comes around and drills you about the importance of it with diagrams and sheets of facts for about 30min.

    I think while I can still hold in my pee I should start doing the exercises, before I end up on the next ad lol

  6. Ash

    I thought I had such a weak bladder until I went for a scan a few months ago and she told me she couldn’t scan because my bladder was too full. I was so proud – what a silly thing to be proud of! I reckon its just tiny! Yes – what is with that ad?!

    1. kaykay

      yeah for years i have been thinking that you can get urinal infections for ‘holding it in’ too long. now i am timing myself so i don’t go more often then at least the recommended 3 hours. and it’s damn hard when you have had caffeine or tea!! not too mention i drink probably double as much water in summer here..

  7. Melbourne Mumma

    Personally I hate that ad! Ah those exercises…I remember now a woman spent 40mins after the birth of my second son explaining it all in detail, while I was drugged to the eyeballs. Thanks for reminding me!

    1. kaykay

      i agree that directly after birth is an odd moment to chose to instruct women on this ! i was wishing i did not even have any body below the navel at the time and would have been happy to just sit it out in nappies for the rest of my life.

  8. TheNDM

    I love a pointless rebranding experiment. Turning the ‘Naughty Spot’ into the ‘Thinking Spot’ in my household didn’t make my children any less naughty or any more thoughtful. And the next time I accidentally piss myself in public, I expect regarding it as a ‘Light Bladder Leakage’ won’t lessen my embarrassment – or the discomfort of anyone who sees my Stain Of Shame – a single jot.

    Great post. I’m doing my pelvic floor exercises now as I type.

    1. kaykay

      lol, ‘thinking spot’.. talking about spots, hey..
      i am glad the ad and my post might have actually done something to lessen the sales of this product.
      now tighten – hooold – and relax!
      not too much though!!

    1. kaykay

      yeah, i don’t really see how they could help you tense your own muscles.. inside ? the exercise to find out if you are still able to is already kinda awkward (the two fingers.. uhm)..

  9. Lauren

    When we finish our family, I’ve always promised myself a pelvic-floor surgery to bring everything back into line… Much more useful than a boob job, imo!

    1. kaykay

      I actually agree, although i could imagine that kind of painful after the intervention, if it’s anything like my tear prevention cut.. ouch!
      exercise !! maybe you won’t need it..

    1. kaykay

      Seriously, i thought hovering was the way to go. won’t stop that now.. public toilets are waaay to yucky most times. they’re the reason i am ok with my boy’s preference to stand when he pees. nah!

  10. Being Me at Sunny Side Up

    Hmmmm, yes. The “elevator” exercise. Close the doors – hold and stop at each floor for five floors – and back down again….. Intriguing, isn’t it! But at least it makes me practice 😉

    I need to sit in the wee corner with The NDM. I have it. Bad. My second child made sure of that.

  11. kaykay

    whut? elevator ? is that how the explain it here? 🙂
    in France everybody was whispering about the “Kegelmaster”.. mmmh?
    if you are to believe the commercial there is lots of fun in the wee corner,
    so it’s not all bad really. just wet. lol

  12. Bronnie Marquardt

    I am almost an expert in holding in wee. I’m a good girl and do my exercises whenever I think of it … waiting in queues, at traffic lights, right now. LOL. I often wonder whether I get a peculiar look on my face though …
    Having said that I always ‘go’ before leaving the house, or anywhere in fact, because I’m terrified I’ll get caught in traffic or somewhere where there are no loos handy, because the consequences would be frightening!


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