Upstairs on the round table, the birthday girl was dancing to ‘Kala Chashma’. She suddenly bent down to take a bottle of mineral water kept for the guests and poured it on herself. It was a relatively chilly evening; She was not exactly known to be a Mandakini fan and till now her dance moves were more hip hop than cabaret. Of course, women understood this. The combination of post-baby bladder and vigorous movements creates many oops moments. Most women have been there at some point in their adult lives, we never thought of putting away water bottles to hide the fact.
Urinary incontinence affects one in four women and yet we never talk about it, not even among ourselves. After my first child, instead of reaching for a tissue every time I sneezed, I’d cross my legs and then cross my fingers hoping I’d be accident-free. Jumping Jack turned to satanic rituals to invoke the Wet Demon. Realizing that I was alone with an unhappy 80-year-old body, I would lounge around and avoid activities that could trigger a leak.
Illustration credit: Chad Crow
It was only when a pregnant friend was rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section that we started talking about incontinence in our group. My pregnant friend thought her shorts were wet because she was peeing in her pants and accepted it as one of those things that happens. She didn’t discuss this with her doctor or her friends, and it turned out that she was leaking amniotic fluid instead.
That was enough for me to go to my gynaecologist. 33 million Kegel exercises and a few months later, I emerged with a bladder that I had trained the way of a pet that could sit, roll over, and mix commands by hand.
While men seem perfectly comfortable turning to a tree and urinating in public view or participating in the fart competition held in Surat last year, we spend our lives pretending we don’t even sweat . The problem with secrecy in such scenarios is that it often leads to suffering in silence.
It was only when I started poking my nose in other people’s bladders that I realized that most of my friends, especially those who have children, suffer from urinary incontinence. Always going to the bathroom right before a long drive. Another wears sanitary pads when she goes to her Zumba classes.
So why are we so clingy? For the same reasons we wrap sanitary pad packets in newspapers and why advertisements use a blue colored liquid to depict menstrual blood instead of red. It is a feeling of heightened shame.
One would think that doctors would be above these notions, but when I called my wonderful gynecologist, Dr. Nozar Sheriar, who can rightly claim he knows me inside out, he referred a colleague to , who used to wear pads every time he went to play tennis. And finally surgery was done after a decade of agony.
However, most women do not need surgery. Depending on the type of incontinence (broadly divided into stress, urge and mixed incontinence), there are a number of things that can help relieve a bladder infection, including doing pelvic floor exercises, losing weight, bladder training, diet changes and even topical estrogen applications. But first you need to go to the doctor and talk about it.
‘I would estimate that 50% of women have experienced this issue at some stage or the other. This can happen during a UTI, but for most, it occurs after childbirth. People don’t realize it’s a medical condition, they think it’s a normal part of childbearing and ageing,’ he says.
Then he asks me, ‘I hope you’re doing your kegel?’
Realizing that I’d neglected my pelvic floor muscles for the past few months, I immediately began to cringe as I wrote down her advice to use mental tags to remind someone. ‘Link it to something in your daily routine so you don’t forget.’
I nod, resolving to associate my Kegels with other mildly unpleasant occurrences, like waiting at a traffic light, or when a co-worker is making me teary-eyed every time someone switches on one of our amazing news channels. does.
That evening, I go out for a walk with a friend and when I tell her about my new routine, she offers a cheesy encouragement. A famous actress who was known in her time as a man-magnet, she had such efficient pelvic floor muscles that all she could do was light a cigarette after she was done.
We both break with our own hypothesis that the poor lady must have suffered with incontinence problems like us, tried to exercise and got some added bonus.
Friends, Indians and countrymen, give me your ears. Speak up and ask around. Talk to your doctor, your friends, and even your mother-in-law who may be suffering and has no one to talk to. Get help if your bladder feels like it has enough holes in it to double as a tea strainer. You are not the only one there; Many of us have been in the same leaking boat at one point or another.
And let me end with a t-shirt slogan I once saw, ‘Knowing you’re not alone is like peeing in your pants, others may notice it, but only you feel its warmth. can do.’
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