Ellen, 51

'I was too ashamed to tell my husband about my bladder weakness. Then I gained some perspective.'

As an active primary school teacher with two young kids, I’m on-the-go morning ‘til night! I had my kids just over a year apart and everything was going well, though I was a bit shocked to realize, after the second birth, that I was leaking urine and I was scared it might happen during sex.

During the summer, I took some of my students to a camp for able-bodied and disabled students. One of my co-workers was Amy, a 23-year-old who is energetic, beautiful, friendly… and paraplegic. One day we were chatting, and she mentioned her fiancé would be coming down to stay for a romantic weekend.

She confided that she was looking forward to having sex, which surprised me, as I knew Amy was incontinent. She had no sensation in her legs and was often prone to “Unexpected Leaks”.

The following conversation made me feel rather small. Amy went on to say that she and her fiancé often had sex in the shower. “My doctor recommended it to get over the embarrassment”, she said. “We were so in love, and we fancied each other so much that we found a way to have sex”. She confessed that talking about the subject was awkward at first, but they are now totally at ease with each other. "I couldn’t marry him if I didn’t feel relaxed", she confided.

After talking to her, I went to my doctor who told me my problem was common but it was unlikely that I would experience leakage during sex. He explained that my friend’s issue was more to do with her paralysis than her bladder. He gave me a series of exercises and recommended bladder weakness products. I stuck to the exercises religiously and, after 3 months the results were obvious. Now, if I suddenly pick up something heavy, or laugh really hard, I use purpose-made pads to catch any spots.

My husband was actually relieved to hear my lack of interest in sex was because of bladder weakness and not me cheating on him. Now our sex life is better than before, thanks to my awareness of my pelvic floor muscles. My husband and I particularly enjoy ‘practicing’ the clenching exercises!’

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