The women who bravely confess what it's like regularly wetting themselves in public
For many women having to let a stream of wee flow in the corner of Poundland or sit in a puddle of pee at the local mother and baby music group are all-too familiar scenarios.
While women who have given birth are a third more likely to develop urinary incontinence, the NHS says it can also be caused by taking certain medications, such as some antidepressants, or drinking too much caffeine and alcohol.
Being overweight or obese can also heighten the risk because it can weaken pelvic floor muscles.
Here, Sun Online speaks to four women who bravely confess to wetting themselves in public.
'All around me was a wet puddle'
Former DJ Catrina Davies, 37, gave birth to daughter, Zoe, six months ago. They live in Rhoose, Wales.
Catrina says: "Since I gave birth I've had some real emergencies. I was torn when Zoe came out, and went two months without doing any 'Kegels' or pelvic floor exercises.
Once on a train, I was waiting for the toilet but the person inside couldn’t open the door.
I was doing the hand between the legs – what I call the 'no, no, no!' – dance: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Finally the door opened. My bum hit the loo seat just in time, but I'd lost a few drops down my leg.
Another time I was at a music class with other mums and babies when we got half way through and I desperately needed to go.
But the other mums had their babies so nobody could look after my daughter.
I had to go – all around me was a wet puddle. I cried from embarrassment.
Fortunately the other mums completely understood. In the end we all laughed about it.
Once, I was coming home from doing the shopping. We live on the third floor. I got my baby into our flat first, then went back down for the buggy.
On the way up I needed to pee, but by the time I got in I felt the all too familiar dribble running down my leg.
My jeans were drenched – it was a proper stream of wee.
I drink lots of water but I’m convinced it’s sugary and non-alcoholic drinks that cause it. Even at the pub, while I have a soft drink, I’ll sit near the loo. When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go."
'I went into a corner Poundland and soaked my trousers'
Spanish teacher Vanesa Domene, 37, lives with her partner. They have an eleven-month-old son and live in Colchester
Vanesa says: "I ended up getting torn when I gave birth and stayed in hospital for a week. I had attended pre-natal yoga classes and the importance of pelvic floor exercises was drummed into me.
The midwife said the same afterwards. But because I had stitches it wasn't possible to start them.
For three months I had a big problem with controlling my pee. The last thing I wanted to do was wear an uncomfortable sanitary towel.
Even though I was advised to I ignored it, assuming I could control it myself.
On my first trip into town without the baby I was queuing to pay in Poundland when the need to pee came over me.
The sensation was overwhelming, the queue wasn’t moving and I couldn’t wait any longer.
I went to a corner in the shop and the pee streamed down my leg, soaking my trousers. I couldn't control it mid-flow.
I was so embarrassed, I dropped my basket and ran out of the shop. Fortunately it was raining so I could hide the fact my trousers were wet.
It was the most awful moment of all my life. I’ve never been to that Poundland again.
For the next three months I had no choice but to wear a big lumpy sanitary towel in case I got caught out.
I didn't stop doing the pelvic exercises from that day on. I also did yoga to tighten-up down below."
'I have to insert a vibrator-sized machine inside me'
Marina White, 38, is a full-time mum and lives in West London
Marina says: "The first time I wet myself I got really upset. It also annoyed me because no one talked to me about the fact this this can happen after you give birth.
The birth was fine and I didn’t tear. But I should have been told that unlike your tummy muscles the vaginal floor doesn’t just ping back into shape either.
I look after my body and keep trim but there are so many things I can’t do in case I wet myself.
If I jump while using a skipping rope it happens. It’s the same if I sneeze – it happens. Likewise if I cough – the wet sensation in my knickers takes over.
Once I was at the gym wearing light-coloured leggings and I wet myself. I was mortified. I had to do the walk of shame home with a wet patch around my privates.
I didn’t have a jumper or top to cover it either. I only had the leggings, trainers and a crop top on.
I just made sure I got home quickly and prayed no one saw me – it was obvious what had happened.
Then another time I was wearing a dress and it just leaked out. I couldn’t sit down all day. I was terrified that a damp patch would stain my dress.
I have found some Kegel exercises on YouTube to help me strengthen my vagina muscles. I’ve been really disciplined about doing them and it does help.
I've also bought a pelvic toner. You insert the vibrator-size machine into the vagina and squeeze on it.
It gives feedback on whether you are doing it properly – I am determined to control this."
HOW CAN YOU EXERCISE YOUR PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES?
The pelvic floor muscles are located between your legs, and run from the pubic bone at the front to the base of your spine.
They are shaped like a sling and hold all your pelvic organs in place.
In a woman, that includes the womb, vagina, bowel and bladder.
As a result, the muscles play a key role in your need to pee – giving you control over when you urinate.
As a person ages their pelvic floor muscles naturally weaken, and women who have had kids are more likely to have weaker pelvic floors as a result of childbirth.
The weaker your pelvic floor the greater your risk of incontinence and the worse your sex life is likely to be.
To strengthen your pelvic floor, it is important to workout the muscles each day.
You can feel your pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop the flow of urine when you pee.
To strengthen your muscles, experts recommend:
– Sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10 to 15 times in a row
– Do not hold your breath or tighten your stomach, buttock or thigh muscles at the same time
– Once you are used to the exercise, try holding each squeeze for a few seconds
– Each week add more squeezes to your daily routine
– Within a few months you should notice results, enjoying greater sensitivity during sex
'I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy'
Cleaner Bridgette McDermott, 34, has three children aged 14, 12 and 13 months. They live with her partner in Coleville, Leicestershire
Bridgette says: "I’ve had no bladder control for the last 12 years and it has made my life hell. Even when I’ve been to the loo and I’ve properly finished, I’ll still get wee dribbling out.
I started wetting myself after I had my second child. I suffered a prolapsed womb and had surgery to sort it out, but the pain afterwards was horrendous.
If I'd have known what was going to happen I wouldn't have gone through with it. The only positive was getting a tighter 'designer vagina' at the same time.
After the op I was given pelvic floor exercises but with two young kids it was hard to remember to keep them up.
Two years later, things began to loosen up down below. If I coughed or sneezed I’d dribble.
After giving birth for the third time the urge to go is constant – it means I have to live my life very differently. If I go trampolining with the kids I always wear a sanitary towel.
Skipping and jumping are out of the question too.
I can go to the loo and have a wee but even when I don’t feel the need to go it keeps trickling out: I'm going to see my GP again.
I end up with wet knickers so often that I have resorted to carrying a spare pair with me.
When I go to bed with my partner I wear large comfy undies in case I have an accident.
It’s embarrassing – I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy."
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