I’m not saying I have continence issues, but if I’m out for a walk and I sneeze twice in a row, then yes, I’m going to stop for the second sneeze and cross my legs a little bit. I wouldn’t necessarily pee my pants right there in the street, but who wants to take that chance? I’ve had two babies, two vaginal deliveries and I’m going through the perimenopause. My pelvic floor probably isn’t going to be getting any five star Trip Advisor reviews. (‘The owner has tried their best but it’s a draughty and the decor could do with a spruce…’)
Heaven forbid I want to do anything like go for a jog or take a trampolining class. Sure, I don’t want to do either of these things, but still, it’s nice to have options.
It’s important to say at this point that having a couple of kids and getting old does not mean you have to accept continence issues. Just because they might be common, doesn’t mean they’re something you have to just suck up and get on with. Although many women will do the second sneeze squeeze, if you’re experiencing any kind of incontinence it’s always worth going to your GP as a first step, as there may well be medical things that can be done to help.
That said, as we get older and things get a little on the crumbly side, leaks do happen and chances are that incontinence is going to play some kind of role in your life. You may end up with a medical condition that brings incontinence as a side effect, or perhaps you’re looking after an elderly relative who needs some support and you’re looking for help with that.
One of the most distressing aspects of incontinence, one that is often not talked about or even considered, is the cost. We’re thankfully becoming more aware of concepts like period poverty, and more is being done to help people who can’t afford tampons and other periodwear, but the same can’t be said about people who are struggling to buy incontinence aids.
A person using incontinence aids spends, on average, £1,800 a year. That’s a staggering amount of money by anyone’s standards, but imagine you’re already on a low income, unable to find the money you need to even cover the gas bill – where on earth are you going to get £1,800 on top of all your other bills? For a lot of people it’s simply not possible.
Unfortunately the consequences of this can be people using inappropriate products, attempting to solve the problem in potentially harmful ways, or becoming lonely and isolated because they’re afraid to leave the house without the right protection. It’s a horrible position to find yourself in.
World Continence Week
June 20th – 26th marks World Continence Week and daily living aids supplier Complete Care Shop (CSS) want to use the week as an opportunity to raise awareness of incontinence poverty and get more people talking about the issue. They’ve also got £150,000 worth of incontinence products to give away – if you’re interested in getting some free help then give them a call on 01772 675 048.
Although incontinence may feel embarrassing, it’s not something to be ashamed of and you’re most definitely not alone – millions of people in the UK experience some kind of continence issue, and there are plenty of things that can be done. Make an appointment to talk about it with your GP and take the first steps to making a change.
This post is in conjunction with Complete Care Shop, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.