When I was a child, manners were drilled into me, and part of the teachings included what was appropriate to discuss in public. Money, politics, religion, and anything to do with bodily functions was taboo. Somehow my grandparents always seemed exempt from this rule, as bathroom talk was as much a part of mealtimes as overcooked roast beef, but I suppose it was ‘all in the family’ so reasonably acceptable.
Over the years, my girlfriends and I allowed a few formerly hidden topics to enter our discussions – menstruation and sex in the early years, and then after we all gave birth there were lots of gross things to talk about. Except for one. Nobody ever talks about incontinence. Media makes commercials about men having diarrhea in a hot tub and yet the thought of allowing a drip of urine to escape a woman’s body is revolting to us all.
Well, guess what? 75% of women experience SUI – stress urinary incontinence. With this type of incontinence, you unexpectedly leak after pressure is suddenly placed on your bladder. Common triggers include laughing, coughing, sneezing, dancing and even lifting heavy items. And it doesn’t only affect women who have delivered babies vaginally. Birth by caesarean also commonly results in leakage.
The pelvic floor is kind of like a 3-layer trampoline that spans the area between the tailbone and pubis, and pregnancy and childbirth can cause damage. Pelvic floor issues can lead to pain, core weakness, pelvic organ prolapse (which is where your organs aren’t being supported correctly by your pelvic floor so they start to fall out), and incontinence. I’ve had a terrible time with SUI over the past ten years, and often skip exercise classes or jumping on the trampoline with my kids in order to suppress leakage. Explaining to my boys that Mommy can’t play with them because I will pee on the trampoline is not a proud Mom moment. It’s a vicious cycle – embarrassment about leakage leads to limited exercise, which leads to weight gain and weakened muscles, which leads to further incontinence and self-esteem issues. No more.
Poise has invented a whole new product that will shift perceptions, aid in confidence and get women living again. It basically mimics a surgical procedure in which the bladder is supported by a surgically-inserted platform so that sneezing or doing hip hop won’t result in urine leaks. This product, called Impressa, is a disposable tampon-like tube that you insert for bladder support. It’s really quite cool, made from soft and pliable medical-grade silicone and shaped like an old-fashioned jack wrapped in gauze. There are three sizes so you get the one that fits your body properly. Inserted into the vagina like a tampon, Impressa gently lifts and gives support to the urethra — the tube above the vagina that leads urine out of the bladder. The sizing starter pack allows you to pick the right one for you.
I had the pleasure of hosting an event at the luxurious Cotton Cove Estate in Vancouver, where a group of brave and intelligent women were able to (finally) speak about incontinence and learn the facts. All of a sudden the conversation wasn’t hidden away. That so many millions of women experience this and never talk about it is incredible, and that has to stop. Urologist Dr. Dean Elterman, from the University Health Network and pelvic health physiotherapist, Sinead Dufour explained why so many women suffer from stress urinary incontinence – and how Poise Impressa uses miraculous technology.
If you think of a garden hose resting on soggy, wet grass and you step on it, the flow of water probably won’t stop because it will sink into the ground and water will still trickle through. If the garden hose is resting on a hard surface sidewalk and you step on it, you’re much more likely to be able to cut off the flow of water and prevent leaks. Think of your pelvic floor as the sidewalk or ground. The firmer it is, the less likely leaks will happen. The new Impressa product acts like reinforcement to make you bladder more like a sidewalk. Inserted into the vagina, the flexible plastic closes off the urethra so no urine slips out. It’s still easy to urinate with one inserted – you don’t have to change it every time you pee.
Dufour pointed out that the beauty of this option is that it can either be a long-term solution, or you can use it as a stopgap as you strengthen the pelvic floor or consider more permanent surgical options. Used daily or only on your jogs, there is incredible flexibility in how and when you decide to insert a Poise Impressa. It’s never too late to focus on your health and make yourself a priority. You can immediately begin to strengthen your pelvic floor by correcting your posture. The bladder should be supported by the pelvis, and when you are not sitting or standing vertically it isn’t.
So many women experience symptoms of incontinence but yet it’s still such a taboo subject. Let’s change that, and further the conversation so that more and more women can jump, laugh and live full, confident lives.
Disclosure: This campaign was sponsored by Poise Impressa, and I have been honoured to be part of extending the dialogue and becoming a lifelong Impressa lover.