health

"I was in denial. I kept thinking it would magically repair itself. It never did."

It’s a common problem with simple solutions.

It took a while to convince me to try my first spin class, but my bestie was determined.

She was a complete spin addict and had been for years, while I preferred the more fun gym classes like Zumba.

But eventually I agreed to do a spin class with her just to shut her up. I’d do it once, confirming that I did actually detest it as much as I suspected I would, and go back to my usual activities.

We walked into the dim light of the “classroom” and my friend enthusiastically greeted several ultra-fit spinners and I obediently copied everything she did.

“I had to stop being in denial about my light bladder leakage. I’d been aware of it for some time but I kept thinking it would magically repair itself with time. It never did.”

Straight away I felt extremely uncomfortable due to the narrow bike seat’s position right on my pelvic bone. Ouch. But I’d agreed to do this class and by gosh, I was going to do it!

I started off well enough and then…the first hill climb. We had to increase the tension on our stationary bikes so much that it made pedalling difficult and we’d have to stand up to pedal up this ‘hill’ .

I turned up the tension quite a bit (too much) and then stood up. I pushed down with my foot with all my might to get the pedals going and that was all it took.

I felt a mini-flood hit my gym shorts.

Just as an FYI, this post is sponsored by PeriCoach. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.

I’d had a bit of light bladder leakage from time to time since having my kids a few years back but nothing too dramatic. I just needed to wear a liner most days and make sure I was engaging my pelvic floor whenever I was sneezing, coughing or laughing. Sometimes it was more than light but I kept thinking it would sort itself out.

But there was nothing ‘light’ about this leakage. I excused myself to use the bathroom and never returned to class.

Trampolining is less “whee” and more wee these days.

My friend teased me afterwards. She thought I’d left because it was too hard and I laughed (gently) along with her, not explaining the real reason for my hasty departure. But this was really the moment when I realised something had to be done. I had to stop being in denial about my light bladder leakage. I’d been aware of it for some time but I kept thinking it would magically repair itself with time.

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It never did.

I knew it was time to take action. Logically I know light bladder leakage is a common problem (in fact, one in three women experience it) and it also has some simple solutions. I think I’d been so busy dealing with everything else that I just pushed it aside, always telling myself I’d deal with it later.

The first thing I did was purchase proper pads. I’d been using completely inadequate liners. Had I been using the correct product during my inaugural spin class it wouldn’t have been such a big deal.

“There was nothing ‘light’ about this leakage.”

But I knew this was a stop gap, not a solution. Pads are bulky – to wear and to carry in a gym bag – and honestly, I felt like I was wearing a nappy.

The second thing I did was get professional help. You can chat to your doctor about it and they can refer you to a specialist like a women’s health physio, or recommend exercises you can begin immediately. And there are so many things you can do yourself to help strengthen your pelvic floor, which takes literally a few minutes every day and, unless you have a clenching face, nobody knows you’re doing it.

Now I never go anywhere without the proper products in my handbag, I’m focused on not needing the pads anymore and the exercises only take a few minutes each day.

Work up the courage.

I haven’t been back to spin class yet but I’m working up to it. It’s how I’m going to measure my improvement. I’m really looking forward to trying it out. Already I’ve noticed it’s not as bad.

I dream of the day I can laugh, cough, sneeze and do a ridiculously difficult gym class without any incidents and I know it will happen. I’m not saying I’m going to be a regularly spin-goer but the reason I avoid the class will be because it’s not my cup of tea, not because of a mini-flood in my gym shorts.

Have you experienced light bladder leakage or something similar? How did you deal with it?

Sure, bladder leakage can be awkward, but as awkward as these family photos? Maybe not…

PeriCoach is a personal trainer for pelvic floor muscles for women who suffer Stress Urinary Incontinence.

This debilitating condition is mostly caused by trauma to the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Around 4 million Australian women suffer from incontinence and it is estimated that by 2030, more that 5 million women in Australia alone will be affected.

Designed and developed in Australia, PeriCoach comprises a discreet sensor device, web portal and smartphone app. It works by evaluating activity in pelvic floor muscles and this information is immediately transmitted via Bluetooth to a smartphone. From there it can be uploaded and accessed by via a cloud based portal and shared with a healthcare professional, such as a women’s health physiotherapist, who can analyse and make recommendations to achieve the best results.

More information can be found at: www.pericoach.com

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