In partnership with our friends at Yarlap
We need to talk about urinary incontinence—a.k.a. peeing when you don't mean to, usually in your pants, often when you jump. Or laugh. Or sneeze. Sigh.
Because here's the deal—it's happening to almost 50% of women—and every single one of those women wants desperately for it to stop.
Let's take a quick look at why it happens.
The pelvic floor is made of a series of muscles, ligaments and tissues that support the organs in your pelvis—your uterus and bladder—as well as your vagina and anus. A number of factors can cause those muscles to become weaker, pregnancy and birth being the primary culprits. But other factors such as genetics, nerve damage or low muscle tone can contribute as well.
As doctor and professor, Linda Brubaker wrote, "No clear single event has been found to be responsible, suggesting that postpartum urinary incontinence arises from a multifactorial physiological insult."
Physiological insult indeed—there is nothing more insulting than stifling a laugh because you're afraid that you are going to pee in your pants if you laugh too hard. And quite frankly, it's insulting that the rates of untreated urinary incontinence are as high as they are. But unfortunately due to the stigma and embarrassment factor, we just don't talk about incontinence enough—and therefore, we are suffering.
We have all been there (even the midwife among us, ahem ):
We're sitting on the exam-table with its cold, worn-out leather unpleasantly sticking to our thighs, stir-ups looming in front of us, while we wear a gown made out of paper towels, and await our friendly but overly-busy and therefore rushed doctor or midwife to come into the room to do our postpartum visit.
They do a quick pelvic exam, tell us "everything looks great, any questions?" But instead of asking the questions that are really bugging us, we just smile say, "I'm good!"
Because I think somewhere along the way we got the idea that this is just how it is: Lady has baby. Lady can't hold her urine anymore. Lady wears pads or diapers for the rest of her life. Then end.
(And as a not-so-side side-note, 25-50% of women who have incontinence also find that their sex lives are negatively impacted, either because they lose the desire to have sex, have difficulty having an orgasm, or because sex hurts.)
Well you know what? No!
Urinary incontinence may not be a life-threatening condition, but it is for sure a life-altering one that can have a profound impact on a woman's quality of life.
Translation: We need to do something about this.
I have spent many hours of my career teaching women how to do Kegels, an exercise meant to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor in order to decrease or stop incontinence, and to improve sexual functioning. Kegels work—when done properly. But that's an issue in and of itself.
This is how I, a seasoned midwife, explain Kegels to someone:
"You know when you have to pee really bad but you can't find a bathroom so you have to sort of clench your vagina so you don't pee? That's a Kegel."
Now I am a good midwife, but quite honestly, that explanation stinks. Because how do you really explain a Kegel using words? In fact even women who get really detailed descriptions of how to do Kegels report not understanding, or simply not doing them because it was too confusing, or they forgot, or they got frustrated, or all of the above.
Enter Yarlap… literally.
Yarlap is an AutoKegel® device that provides women an effective, gentle and easy Kegel workout—automatically. (This takes the term set it and forget it to a whole new level.) It is FDA cleared, evidence based, and most important, it works.
You insert a small probe inside your vagina—it's about the size of your thumb. You'll pick the program that's right for you on the control (which fits in your palm)… and that's it. Seriously. Yarlap takes the guessing game out of doing Kegels because it sends little impulses to your vaginal and surrounding muscles that tone and strengthen them.
It takes about 20 minutes, and they recommend you do it three to five times per week. It's really discreet so multitasking is definitely an option—Kegel and video conference ✔️. Kegel and laundry ✔️. Kegel and Netflix ✔️.
You know that at Motherly we don't ever recommend something unless we've tried it ourselves—so I'll just go ahead and say trust me.
It doesn't hurt to use at all—trust me.
And it works—trust me.
Your can order your Yarlap through your healthcare provider OR you can order it totally on your own here (psst: use code MOTHERLY for $25 off!).
And remember that not-so-side side note about sex? Research has found that women who use a transelectical stimulation device (like Yarlap) to treat urinary incontinence overwhelmingly reported a "remarkable improvement in their sexual life." They experienced less pain with sex, more desire to have sex, and enjoyed sex more while having it.
Translation: Get it girl.
Here's the thing.
We've spent our lives living in a society that quietly yet steadfastly engrains in us the notion that we are less than—that women's health issues are not at the forefront, even when they are consuming our time, resources and emotional energy.
I think we are the generation that changes that.
Am I getting all fired up and impassioned about urinary incontinence? Yes, as a matter of fact I am.
Because ultimately it's about more than being able to do jumping jacks again (although hey, that would be nice). It's about feeling comfortable with and in our bodies, having the support and tools to take our health into our own hands, and feeling empowered to focus our attention on the pieces of our lives that we love.
And also trampolines. Because remember how much fun trampolines are?
Yarlap® with AutoKegel® Technology provides women a gentle and effective Kegel workout. With six clinically proven programs, Yarlap® tones your pelvic floor muscles effortlessly. Yarlap® provides you with the control you deserve.