The first time I did an accidental drip, while not having hysterics, was on a trampoline. My daughter was small and I was teaching her the joys of bouncing, until I wasn’t, and rather abruptly jumped off declaring her a master at it and that she was fine to go solo after three minutes of training.
Over the subsequent years, I noticed that I was avoiding certain exercise classes as they were too ‘bouncy’ and my pelvic floor was too frail to be trustworthy. I was mostly fine but occasionally I’d be very aware that I had no faith in myself not to marinade myself in wee. It was more noticeable the nearer I got to my period. I asked my friends and discovered that I wasn’t alone in this problem. In fact, it was far more common that I could have imagined.
I’ve always had a gym membership and I like exercise classes. I like the Hiit, Body Attack, Pump style classes, nothing dancey as I’m about as co-ordinated as a toddler (apart from when I’m drunk then ‘I’m fresh to death’) and definitely nothing bouncy – for obvious reasons.
So, when I started to feel nervous about lifting light weights (in case I accidentally beared down too hard and leaked a few drops) and Body Attack turned into a ‘too bouncy’ class because we did high knees and a jumping jacks section, I knew I needed to find out what on earth was going on.
Okay, so I didn’t do too many pelvic floor exercises when I was pregnant. Yes, I have two children, both naturally (but they were weeny 5lb-ers) but surely this cannot be right?
What is stress incontinence?
The main symptom of stress incontinence is the loss of bladder control during physical activity. You may experience a few drops of urine or a large, involuntary flow. The familiar triggers are:
- doing heavy lifting
- engaging in sexual intercourse
Oh joy of all joys – I’m incontinent and yes it’s bloody stressful thank you for asking!
But what to do?
Of course I wanted an easy fix. I started doing pelvic floor exercises, but to be honest, I’m not sure I was doing them correctly. I could stop a wee mid-flow on the loo, I just couldn’t stop a wee when I went for a run. Sometimes I felt like a little mouse leaving a scent trail home!
I downloaded the Squeezy app so that I could do a workout regularly and remind myself to do it. But, for me, it didn’t help. Perhaps it was my poor technique, who knows?
A few years and a worldwide lurgy later, I no longer have my gym membership and am relying on running to keep my heart healthy and my biscuit barrel guilt free. However, running at times is also a no-no as I regularly return home smelling like a mangy fox and have to go straight in the shower and put my running leggings into a hot wash.
As a woman in my forties, there has to be a way to correct this blasted pelvic floor problem before I’m wearing Tena Lady pads all the time, and not just for running, because all my research suggests this is a slippery slope that doesn’t self heal with time, it just gets worse.
There is an operation, but of course that sounds drastic, and expensive. I have looked into it and it didn’t feel me with joy because it’s quite hit and miss, and for a small percentage, the problem gets worse.
When I thought that all hope was lost, I happened across a YouTube review of a gadget called Elvie. It’s expensive, over a hundred quid, so I hesitated. However, after abandoning yet another run, I decided I had to try it. I bought it on a 60 day money back no quibble guarantee, and hoped for the best.
I should say, this is not an ad, I bought mine and, as someone who has been desperately seeking a solution for years, I thought I’d share my thoughts.
So Elvie is like an egg with a tail that you pop in! It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and you have to do exercises that move the gem about on your screen. It can be a bit glitchy, and I’m not sure electronic devices up your flower are totally healthy, but not doing any exercise is worse for me surely?
Anyhow, it’s a 12 week course. You have to complete three 5 minute sessions a week and to be honest if it was cheaper to buy I don’t think I would be as invested in it. For £135 I want results!
I’m four weeks into my workouts (I had a week off for moons), and have advanced from trainee to beginner level (thank you I’m bowing), but…drum roll please…I have successfully been running.
I have run post period, and with PMT, and have had zero leakages. Insert cork popping and cheering here. Honestly I’m so pleased, I feel like I’m free, almost free enough to go on a trampoline, well maybe in another 8 weeks I will be!