Reports & expert advice

Let’s lift the taboo and start talking about incontinence!

Do You suffer from urinary incontinence or care for someone who does? You're not alone and it’s about time we started to talk more openly to lift the stigma around this subject.

An elderly woman and an elderly man sit at the table and smile. Behind them is a young woman, also smiling.

1 in 3 women in the UK have some form of weak bladder. It´s time to end the stigma.

There’s no shying away from it, it’s not a glamorous subject but it affects so many women later in life, we need to start having conversations about it.

As a woman over 40, you may have already begun to experience some changes in your body that you never thought would happen. You may have found yourself gaining weight more easily, your hair thinning, and your skin drying out. But one change that you may not have expected is urinary incontinence. You may have already experienced a little leakage when you laugh, cough, or sneeze, and it's only getting worse as you get older. Research shows that 1 in 3 women in the UK1 have some form of weak bladder but nobody wants to talk about it, and they continue to suffer in silence. That figure is probably even higher because women put off going to the doctor to discuss their symptoms because they are too embarrassed.

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

 

Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. It can be a mild problem that occurs only occasionally or a more serious problem that occurs frequently and interferes with your daily activities. There are different types of urinary incontinence including stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks during activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising. Urge incontinence occurs when you have a strong, sudden urge to urinate followed by an involuntary leakage of urine.

Green Bladder Diagram

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What causes Urinary Incontinence?

 

There are many possible causes of urinary incontinence/weak bladder. The most common cause is weak muscles around the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). There are several things that can contribute to urinary incontinence as you age. One of the most common causes for older women is menopause. During the menopause, estrogen levels decline, which can cause changes in the urinary tract and lead to incontinence. Pregnancy and childbirth are also major contributing factors, as they can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

 

Fortunately, there are treatments available for urinary incontinence. The first step is to see your doctor, a step that lots of women put off due to embarrassment but it’s an important step to take. Your doctor can determine the cause of your incontinence and rule out any other underlying health conditions. They may also recommend lifestyle changes such as weight loss, quitting smoking, limiting caffeine intake, and avoiding foods that irritate the bladder. If these changes don't help, there are medications available that can relax the bladder muscles or control nerve impulses.

A young woman hugging a middle aged woman.

Getting through your daily life with confidence

 

There are things you can do to help you stay in control and get through your day with confidence.

You may be tempted to just use a sanitary pad because it’s what you are used to and seems less embarrassing when going out to the shops. But they are specifically designed for menstruation and not for any urine leaks. There are products out there, like the new MoliCare range of discreet pads from Hartmann direct, that are specifically made to fit the female body, so you don’t have to worry about them being seen under clothing whilst providing you with discreet protection. They also deliver to your door, so you don’t have to worry about facing someone at the shop counter.

If you are suffering with incontinence, it’s important you use the best products to suit your problem to give you back your confidence.

Wearing an incontinence product does not have to be an uncomfortable experience!

Lifting the stigma around urinary incontinence

A video showing Rachel Peru promoting MoliCare.

For more advice from Rachel, you can visit her Instagram page.

 


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This post is in conjunction with MoliCare® but all thoughts are my own.

 

About the author – Rachel Peru

 

In a world where everything must be constantly optimised – not least one's own body – feeling good about oneself is not always easy. Especially middle-aged women often struggle with self-confidence and self-worth, trying to keep up with the current beauty standards. Having experienced a lack of self-belief and body confidence herself up until her 40s, Rachel Peru knows this struggle very well.

Things changed, however, when Rachel became a curve model at the age of 46. For several years now she shows other women, particularly those in midlife, that they are not invisible in the fashion industry. A passionate advocate for body confidence, Rachel also started her own podcast “Out of the bubble” a few years ago. Speaking with amazing women from different areas of expertise she aims to spread positivity around midlife and show women of all ages that they are beautiful just the way they are – a very important message also for everyone who suffers from bladder weakness or incontinence.

Portrait image of Rachel Peru

Always safe, always confident - with Molicare®

MoliCare® from HARTMANN provides reliable leakage protection and maintains healthy skin with pH-neutral value for effective incontinence management. For light, moderate or severe incontinence.