If you leak a little when you laugh, you’re not alone. We might not talk about it much, but one woman in three experiences light bladder leakage following childbirth.
Physiotherapists say it often takes as long as seven years for women to face the fact that their pelvic floor isn’t going to bounce back. It’s often not until their youngest child is off to school, and finally they’ve got time to think about themselves, that it slowly begins to dawn that their bladder control is going to take even longer to recover from having a family than their social life.
Often it’s just a little leak when they laugh, jump or lift something heavy. But for some women it’s ongoing, long-term leakage that starts to affect their confidence and ability to get out and about.
In the interests of breaking down some of the taboos surrounding light bladder leakage, mother-of-two Julia* shares her story:
“There were two episodes that made me finally face the fact that I had a leakage issue.
“The first was at a girls’ night out with other preschool mums, where we all got a bit silly and laughed and laughed… until I peed myself laughing. Luckily, no one else noticed, but I did!
“Soon after that, wanting to get back into shape after baby two, I decided to go for a run. Within minutes, I was back at the front door, almost in shock at the realisation of how weak my bladder was.
“To cut a long story short, I found I had a bladder/vagina prolapse, which is apparently very common. I had the op, but after a couple of years I started to leak again and had to resort to pads as back-up. I got to the stage of feeling quite anxious if I wasn’t wearing a panty liner.