We sat down with Jude community members Cara, Natalie and Nicola to talk about all things bladder health — from their first time experiencing leaks, to seeking treatment, and how incontinence has affected their day to day lives.
You started having bladder leaks when you had your first son. Was it something you were expecting?
It caught me by surprise, I wasn’t really warned. I had all my kids by cesarian and I guess I had that naivete that because I had a c-section, incontinence wouldn’t really affect me even though other moms around me were all experiencing bladder leaks.
How did you feel when you first started experiencing bladder leaks?
I tried to mask it because it wasn’t that bad. I noticed it when I was more active, like when I was rushing for the train, but when I was at home with the kids it wasn’t as bad. I remember one day when I went back to work I was so embarrassed because I had to go to M&S and buy a change of underwear. It’s not spoken about, and if you do mention it it’s taken as a joke and made fun of.
How was your experience like getting treatment?
I did nothing for years, but after I had my second child I went to the doctor. My GP was quite patronising and the message I got was that there’s really nothing much they could do, and my experience was just normal for a woman who had two children. I even went to a private doctor a couple of years ago for a routine Well Woman Check and that was still the message I received.
You’re really into playing sports, did bladder leaks get into the way of that?
I mean, it was just horrendous. It really affected my life. I was 32 with a toddler and a baby and wanted to get back into sports because I love it. But I was weeing every time I ran, lunged, or stretched. Whether there’s a pad soaking it up or not, it’s still an uncomfortable feeling. If you're running and are wet between your legs it just feels crap.
Did it affect your life outside of sports at all?
I remember, actually at the beginning, I’d go to lift my children up and if I lift them in a certain way I’d leak a bit. So now I’ve got wet knickers and I don’t have a pad in, so I need to go and get changed. Or if I’m out at a soft play place with them now I’m wet until I get home.
What would your advice be for women in the same position?
Go and see your GP and push for treatment, don’t let them fob you off. Because treatment is out there and it can totally transform your life. And connect with other women who have experienced incontinence and bond over how crappy it can be, but realising it’s really common and not embarrassing. So yeah, connect with people and seek treatment.
When did you start experiencing bladder leaks?
It's something I've suffered with since my early twenties. I think I was about 20 or 21 at the time and I started to notice that I kept going to the loo really often. So I'd sort of come back from the loo, sit down and think “hold on a minute, I think I need a wee again”. And so I'd go back and then this kind of escalated to getting up in the night and then I've just kind of put up with it for ages. If I sneezed or coughed a little bit of leakage would happen, and I didn't tell anyone because I was too embarrassed.
Were bladder leaks affecting your day to day life?
Oh yeah! When my daughter was about 18 months old we went on a day trip and I'd had a fizzy drink before I left. And as soon as we got there, I was literally busting and because it was the pandemic there weren't any toilets open. So I had to pee into one of my daughter's nappies in the back of the car. And I was like, ‘I really cannot go on like this.’
Have you managed to find a treatment that helps?
I had some really great advice from not only Jude but also a fantastic doctor. Just by talking about how to manage symptoms (like reducing caffeine, not drinking fizzy water, carbonated drinks, etc.) and other lifestyle changes, I've had a 95-99% reduction in my symptoms.
Poor bladder health shouldn’t be a “normal” part of childbirth ageing, that’s why we created Jude’s Bladder Strength Supplements — clinically proven to improve bladder control and decrease urgency. Try today for better nights and happier days!