I’m Lindsay, I’m 38 years old, and this year I have experienced the most embarrassing medical complication of my life: urinary incontinence.
Somewhere in the beginning months of 2022 I started having… trouble.
You know the story. We all joke about it. Can’t laugh, can’t sneeze, there’s no way I could jump on a trampoline. I laughed along with the joke, but I never really got it. Let me tell you, friends, I get it now. Suddenly coughing was like a game of panty roulette. Belly-laughing was out of the question.
Thing was, it wasn’t just these little leaks that were plaguing me. I was struggling with sudden and intense urgency that I’d never had before. You’ve heard of “key in lock syndrome”? Well this was like that phenomenon on steroids. More than once I had to run into the backyard because I knew I wasn’t going to make the distance to the bathroom.
I started to wonder if this was a bigger deal than some inside joke.
That Monday was like any other day. I was doing some errands so I parked my car right out front of the first shop and ran inside, only to realize that I had left my wallet in the car. Back at the car I was hit with the overwhelming need to go. There was no time to locate a bathroom. There was nothing I could do to stop what was already in motion.
I, a fully grown woman, did what anyone wearing real rabbit-fur mukluks would do in that situation. I took off my boots, stood on the road and peed my pants.
It was mortifying. It was terrifying. It was dehumanizing. Worst of all, I had no clue why this was happening to me, and I didn’t know exactly where to turn for help. The pure shock had me stuck, frozen, standing in my soaked and rapidly cooling leggings. I snapped back to reality and assessed my situation.
Did that just actually happen? Did I really…? Why hadn’t there been any warning? Why hadn’t I had more time? The only thing I was certain of was that I wasn’t willing to live my life this way. I needed help.
After consulting with my family doctor over the phone I was instructed to take my problem to the emergency room. After hours of waiting to be seen, a nurse placed me in an examination room where I was given invasive tests and ultimately released without much explanation at all.
It wasn’t until I started digging for more information on my own that I would learn that urinary incontinence is a fairly common, albeit embarrassing, side effect of menopause and that the majority of women don’t feel comfortable asking for help.