Real Life | The incontinence truth

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In the wake of presenter Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh bravely revealing her struggle with incontinence in our latest issue of Woman’s Way, more women are openly discussing their own hardship with the condition.

Irish women suffering from incontinence is nothing new. It’s just that no one openly discussed the health issue. That is until now.

Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh recently revealed her own daily struggle with the condition in our latest issue of Woman’s Way, urging women to finally speak up about it.

Known as pelvic floor weakness, this condition causes urine leakages. It is primarily caused by pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, being overweight or as a result of a hysterectomy.

Shockingly, more than 70 per cent of women surveyed for a recent study said they have experienced an accidental leakage from everyday activities, such as walking, running, exercising, laughing, coughing or sneezing.

Indeed, Ní Chofaigh says that she did most of her exercise in the morning in case she had accidents and had to wear a pad afterwards. She also had to restrict her coffee and water intake after lunch. Actress Kate Winslet also experienced pelvic floor weakness following the birth of her third child.

For other women, it can cause severe anxiety. This is especially true in social situations where they have to seek out the nearest toilet in case of accidents.

There is medication available to take away that sense of urgency around urination, while you can also do special exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Medical professionals advise surgery as a last resort and prefer exercise, physiotherapy or neuro-muscular stimulation.

Almost 90 per cent of Irish women surveyed said they would use a clinically proven, non-invasive solution to prevent pelvic-floor weakness from occurring.