What’s In Your Gym Bag? Pee-Proof Undies and a Sword
by Ilissa Jae Ducoat, LPC, FT
“Alright, team! A hundred jumping jacks. Go!”
Being over the age of forty, one wouldn’t necessarily think this to be a menacing statement made by my karate instructor, unless of course, you are one of the elite members of my cohort of women who experience discreet (or blatant) bladder leakage during exercise. Jumping is just a no-no unless you’re taking the necessary precautions:
My chosen exercise is martial arts, and I walk onto the mat fully geared in my gi, protective undergarments, and boxing gloves, carrying my sword. I close my eyes, and one more time before lining up, make my last request:
Bladder Goddess, hear my plea! I have made the sacrifice of abstaining from liquids for the last four hours. I don your battle armor, adorned with teeny little flowers. I ask for your protection from drips, drops, streams, or floods. May I be wet with only sweat at the end of this hour! Please, dear Goddess, bestow dryness upon me!
Sometimes, it works. It really depends on the types of exercises we do and how hard I exert myself during others. I work out regularly, and I still frequently have bladder issues. I am planning on upping my game and focusing on exercises that strengthen my pelvic floor. I am one of the lucky women who are able to do this.
Many women have a chronic condition that leaves them with ongoing urinary incontinence. Additional exercises, physical therapy, and medications are options before having to try the surgical route. Whichever method you choose, remember you are not alone. You are in the sisterhood of the pee-pee pants, and, if you’re lucky like me, you can share a glance with another woman during class and both of you will know exactly what is happening to each other at that moment.
If you’re unlucky like me, then you will run into one of your very nice male classmates in the grocery store, hoping he doesn’t notice the package of Poise pads in the cart while you chit chat about the upcoming weather.
Stay dry, ladies!
Ilissa Jae Ducoat is a licensed professional counselor and a Fellow in Thanatology. She is also a mother, wife, daughter, friend, niece, aunt, and writer. Ilissa experienced a series of personal losses that helped carve out the path she’s taking toward helping others through their grief journey. In addition to her career as a therapist, Ilissa uses her writing to create a more comfortable space for grieving and mental health challenges in our society. Through validation, connection, and education, she believes we can improve how we support each other and won’t get off her soapbox until we’re there.