Seriously… I peed myself

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. 

“Urinary incontinence affects women twice as often as men”

Menopause is a major part of every woman’s life and yet it seems that finding support is a challenge for many of us. 

Sometimes hormonal changes within us create embarrassing issues. Many of us have been taught to regard our “women’s troubles” as shameful. Many of us have been taught that we should keep quiet about problems that might be considered private. 

Unfortunately, keeping our struggles a secret only serves to perpetuate the same stigma for women moving forward. It is time to rise up and get loud, ladies. It’s not okay that we should go through this alone. It’s not acceptable that such a major medical event is ignored and dismissed largely by those who should be supportive.

It’s time we speak up and challenge the status quo because it is only by demanding change that we will begin to see a change.

Written By:

Jennifer Vander Zalm

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