I have mixed feelings about aging. On one hand, getting older means I'm moving toward my goal of living a long and happy life and watching my children and their children (and maybe my children's children's children) grow up. On the other hand, I'm not always at peace with my aging body. In my head, I know that people don't live to a ripe old age and not experience such joys as saggy boobs (sigh), age spots, pops and cracks when I move, and the occasional “moment” where sneezing, exercise, or laughing make me pee my pants a little. Okay, sometimes more than a little. I'm putting some real talk out here today about how I manage running with light bladder leakage. Light bladder leakage is a real thing that real women experience. And, I am getting older and my body takes every opportunity it can to remind me of that.
This post was sponsored by Poise®. All opinions are mine and are not indicative of the opinions of Poise. Light bladder leakage is a real thing that real women deal with and I'm pleased to share how Poise products help.
Running gets me in to that “alone with my thoughts” head space
Running was something I learned to enjoy later in life. I was an exercise avoider until I was in my late thirties, when I decided I liked running, for a variety of different reasons. I'm fairly uncoordinated and team sports stress me out. Too many flashbacks of being the last kid picked for kickball in the fourth grade, I guess. I'm coordinated enough to put one foot in front of the other and move and although I can run with other people, it's something I can do by myself. I like the way running gets me into that “alone with my thoughts” head space. I do my best thinking and problem solving when I'm running and some of my best ideas – including the “I think I'll start a blog” one back in 2014 – came to me during a run.
Running at 52 is different from running at 37. I'm slower. I don't feel like a loser when I take a walk break during a long run. Things hurt more. One of the things I struggled with, starting in my late forties, is balancing staying hydrated enough for longer runs in hot weather (I live in San Antonio and it's hot and humid here most of the year) and being able to schedule longer runs without worrying about bathroom stops or whether I was going to pee my pants or leak urine during a long run. Running is jarring and if you run longer distances, pretty much all of your body parts, including your bladder, get bounced around. We're past the days where people think women who run long distances are going to damage their reproductive organs (thank goodness!) but it does trigger light bladder leakage in me and a few other women I've talked to about the issue.
Babies and aging can mess with your pelvic floor
Age and having a baby weaken your pelvic floor, and while Kegels do help some, they don't make light bladder leakage go away. In a perfect world, but this isn't a perfect world. Real women my age (and of all ages) experience light bladder leakage and while it's definitely not high on my thrill-o-meter, it doesn't stop me from living my life or doing what I want to do, and I want to run absurdly long distances and challenge my body.
Running keeps me healthy, both physically and mentally. It allows me to eat ice cream and drink wine (not at the same time but if that sounds good to you, go for it) and still zip my jeans and it's just something I do that makes me me. I recently told someone I was doing a “challenge” race at Disney World, which means a 10K on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday for a whopping total of 19.3 miles. She said “I don't know why you're still doing that. A few miles, maybe, but that's just extreme.”
“At your age.” Just no. Don't ever start a sentence like this.
Now. She didn't say “At your age” at any point during the conversation, but she might as well have. My answer was “Because I still can” and as long as I still can, I still will. I might have to accept a slower pace and I might have to be okay with being passed by a woman pushing a double stroller. That second thing is actually hard to get over but here we are. I might have to stretch more and give myself extra days between runs but as long as I can still put one foot in front of the other and move forward, I will keep doing what makes me happy.
I do rely on Poise® products to make my runs more comfortable. I don't always leak urine during a run, but I like the peace of mind Poise gives me. And, if you're reading this thinking “Why is she going all TMI up in here?” then just stop and think. This is a real thing. This is something that happens to a LOT of women. Maybe it's indelicate and embarrassing to bring it out in the open but it shouldn't be. Light bladder leakage is something that happens to women, whether it be from aging, childbirth, or a combination of both.
1 in 3 women experience light bladder leakage. Yep.
Do you know that one in three women experience this? Yep…they do. Is it fun? Nope. Is it embarrassing? Well…peeing your pants as an adult might not be something you want to announce on social media (unless you're me) but the more we get all weird and self-conscious and whispery about it, the more we'll be hesitant to reach out to each other or talk to each other about something that is TOTALLY NORMAL. We all want to feel like we belong and that people “get us” so if you're wondering if you're the only one who pees their pants when they sneeze, jump on a trampoline or during exercise, trust me, you are not, and that's what this conversation is all about.
I generally turn up my nose at clichés like “50 is the new 40” but in reality, 20-something me never imagined 50-something me would be running half marathons, traveling all over the world, and getting in the bouncy castle with her eight-year-old son. And, by the way, if you don't think light bladder leakage is a reality for you, just get in a bouncy castle and you might change your tune. And, if you think talking about products geared to help women with bladder leakage is embarrassing or indelicate, I promise there are more embarrassing things, like peeing your pants in a bouncy castle and having a group of second-graders witness it. Ahem.
Running and other exercise are part of my self-care and using Poise products help me get the most out of that as I can. We hear a lot of chatter online about self-care but self-care isn't always a spa day or a girl's night out. Self-care is whatever you need it to be to…well, take care of you. Self-care can be prioritizing that time to work out, read a book, telling your partner “you figure out dinner tonight”, saying no to something you don't have the bandwidth to do…you get to figure out what self-care means for you.
Poise offers a variety of products to keep you comfortable and help you deal with light bladder leakage in whatever way works for you. You don’t have to deal with using period products that just don’t work well and aren’t designed for bladder leaks or not doing things that make you happy. They have a lineup of stuff that really works and you can pick and choose based on what's going on with your own body.
Check out what's available from Poise:
You have choices in Poise products. There's even an absorbency guide on their website so you can get an idea of what level of absorbency you might need. They also have a product selector you can use on the website – click “Get Started” on the homepage to figure out the right product for you! For everyday, I like the Poise MicroLiners. For longer runs (for me, that means anything more than five miles) I have started using the new Poise Ultra Thin Active Collection™ because the wings keep them comfortably in place – a lifesaver on longer runs. I'm training for a November half marathon and I'm determined to improve my time over my last half in early April. I know I mentioned slowing down and being okay with that but I can still set goals, right?
Bladder leaks are not a fun part of being a woman…they're just not. But, Bladder leaks also don't need to be limiting or stop you from doing what makes you feel amazing. Knowing what products might work is one thing but the reassurance that “Nope, it's not just me” is priceless.
Running with light bladder leakage is possible. If running isn't your thing, then you will still want to do whatever your thing is without limiting yourself due to light bladder leakage. Stay you. Stay amazing. Get a sample at poise.com or find Poise at a store near you!