I just caught a commercial for a new brand of tampons and pads. The gist of the commercial was natural products and female empowerment and I’m all for it! Until the part where they proudly said “We bleed, We leak…” and I was throwing my shoe, cursing: “$*&% Noooooo!! WE DON’T NEED TO LEAK!”
Yes, it is extremely common for women to have bladder leaks. 26% of women between the ages of 18-59 experience involuntary urinary leakage and this problem affects more than 25 million people in the US overall. But COMMON does not mean NORMAL. Normalizing bladder leakage adds to the problem. Our medical system often waves people away if they complain of urinary incontinence (bladder leaks), especially if the person voicing their concern happens to be older or postpartum.
I’m all for products that will help people be more comfortable and confident on their path to recovery, but the cynical side of me recognizes that these companies have a lot to gain from this normalization and lack of treatment. Especially since the incontinence industry was estimated at $65.9 billion in 2007, with projected costs up to $82.6 billion in 2020 and some women spend as much as $900 per year on leakage products and costs related to incontinence.
It doesn’t need to be this way. There’s a lot we can do to treat bladder leaks! Some thoughts to consider:
2. Koyne KS, et al. (2014). Economic burden of urinary urge incontinence in the United States: A systematic review. Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy. 20(2). 130-140.
3. Subak, L, et al. (2006). The “Costs” of urinary incontinence for women. Obstetric Gynecology. 107(4). 908-916.
4. Bump, R., et al (1991). Assessment of kegel pelvic muscle exercise performance after brief verbal instruction. American Obstetrics and Gynecology. 165(2). 323-329.
5. Henderson, JW., et al. (2014). Can women correctly contract their pelvic floor muscles without formal instruction? Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery. 19(1). 8-12.
As a pelvic floor PT, I find my clients feel really unprepared for returning to intercourse after birth. Many women go to their 6 week postpartum visit, are told they can have sex, and feel COMPLETELY overwhelmed by this prospect. “You think I can do what?? Already?!” Though you’re often given the go ahead at 6 weeks, you may receive little advice about how to return to sex and it may feel taboo to ask your doctor about it. So let’s get into it! There’s basically nothing I won’t talk about...