Do you pee when you sneeze? I do!
Guest blogger from Uplandmama and a Tree Hugger Cloth Pads User.
My name is Amy, I am a 34-year-old mother of two lively little boys, I love reading, Fall is my favorite season, and I pee my pants. Yes, you read that correctly. I boldly admit that on most days I pee my pants. No, it isn’t the tidal wave of warmth you are probably envisioning. At best of times, it is a dribble, at worst of times well, more. I have stress incontinence and it is one side effect of motherhood that no one warned me about.
We’ve all heard of it, seen the ads on tv and online. They all feature older women who we could easily imagine having a need for incontinence pads. I hear it laughed about among the older population of my church, family, and friends. They are all beyond “that age.” We’re used to it. Studies show that up to 50% of older women suffer from some form of incontinence. However, what no one is talking about is the fact that between 20-30% of young women do as well. Imagine my surprise when at 27 years old I needed to buy pads for more than just my period.
I will admit that pregnancy should have clued me in. Ever have a baby kick the pee out of you? Mine did. Often. It was a foreshadowing of what was to come. I was just too preoccupied with cute baby things to notice. You best believe that the first sneeze after having him brought me out of my baby-smell induced haze and into a warm, leaky dose of reality. I never knew that giving birth would also give birth to a new term in my home; the "Sneeze-Pee".
I can feel them coming. At times I just can’t get my legs crossed fast enough. Other times it doesn’t matter if I do. It is a scene that happens so often: I feel the sneeze coming on. I quickly cross my legs and squeeze just as the sneeze happens. I feel my bladder’s betrayal. I mutter a “doggonit” under my breath. Then I get a “What’s wrong, did you sneeze-pee again?” from my darling husband. Yes, my dear, I did. It isn’t just the sneeze that does me in. The list of incontinence triggers is long: a cough, laugh, squat, clear my throat a little too forcefully, dance just a tad too fabulously… Don’t even ask me about the trampoline. Just trust that I will never be going to one of the trendy new trampoline parks anytime soon.
Things got worse after the birth of my second son. My poor bladder seemed ready to just get up and walk off. I wore disposable pads often during that pregnancy and after, despite the rashes and rawness they sometimes caused. It was a pad or leak and be embarrassed by having to go home and change. Sometimes I would carry extra underwear and pants with me just in case. It was annoying. It was frustrating. There were times it brought me to tears. My husband and I are youth pastors and we can often be found praying for people around the altar. I’ll never forget having a bout of incontinence at church and then going to pray with people. I had forgotten to put on a pad and I was so paranoid that anyone I was praying for would smell it or see a wet spot on my pants. It kept me from being able to keep my mind on those I was praying for. I was mortified and I sat and shamed myself for something that isn’t wasn’t even in my control.
Thankfully I’ve found things that work for me. I’m working on strengthening my pelvic floor through exercises. I have a handy set of little weights to help as I progress. I’ve also found a love of using cloth pads instead of disposables. I initially got them for my period and as a backup for my menstrual cup, however, I quickly discovered how perfect light absorbency Tree Hugger Cloth Pads work for incontinence. I am so much more comfortable. I feel cleaner, rarely ever have leaks, and I no longer walk around paranoid that I’m going to sneeze or cough and end up embarrassed. My lady bits are also much happier and healthier without being exposed to all the chemicals in disposable products.
I know I’m not alone in this issue, but as much as my generation is opening up about our bodies and their functions, it seems like we are still quiet when it comes to those malfunctions we suffer through. We have to stop believing these commonalities are taboo. Be silent no more ladies. You aren’t alone, it isn’t shameful, and there are solutions to be found. No more stressing over stress incontinence! And if you do have to pee your pants, at least do it in style. 😉
Need something "more" than for just the occasional sneeze? Different sizes and absorbency are available, see the difference between them here: Liners, Light, Heavy and Night! What's the difference?