If we can talk about discharge and blood, why not urine?
August 12, 2019 8:44 AM   Subscribe

The internet's gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter on incontinence.
Many women also tell me they are too embarrassed to buy incontinence pads because it makes them think of “diapers” and that is what “old women” need. And there is nothing worse in our patriarchal society than being an “old woman.” Women get diminished and men, distinguished. I’m always fascinated by the lack of public discussion about incontinence."

"I don’t buy “societal squeamishness” about urine as as reason. Women’s magazines produce articles with great regularity on vaginal mayhem (sigh) and there is an increasing number of articles on menstrual products (yeah!)."

Earlier from Dr. Gunter: How to choose the right incontinence pad
posted by spamandkimchi (28 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite


 
Yay! Thank you for posting - she is the BEST and I had no idea that the difference in pads was so great (bonus: learned about incontinence rings too)! Thanks!
posted by esoteric things at 9:17 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


This is a subject close to my heart (and other body parts!) as a middle-aged woman who has recently started running. I actually feel like there's been a spate of articles about it, though. Maybe some of the taboo is lifting.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:21 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Example: 72% of women leak when they run, but they don't tell a soul currently on the main page of the Runner's World website.

I could swear I've seen other ones.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:25 AM on August 12 [9 favorites]


One of the "period undies" brands--Thinx, I believe--makes undies for this too. I wonder if they approached the differences in products with as much information and care.
posted by crush at 9:46 AM on August 12 [2 favorites]


(Come for the snark and the patriarchy smack down, stay for the science).

Choosing the right protection matters as when the pad can adequately hold the urine, some will leak back onto the skin, which can cause irritation and itching. These symptoms may even be mistaken for a yeast infection. This contact with urine, when chronic, can lead to skin breakdown.


Every time I read something by her I come away with new information. She's awesome. Jen Gunter should be required reading for men because of her evidence-based "here's how this stuff works for women, and no it's not gross to talk about -- smarten up" message.

Side note: If you are in Canada (or you *cough* appear to be in Canada -- I think it's region-limited), you'll be able to watch Jensplaining, a ten-part series she's doing on CBC Gem starting August 23.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:53 AM on August 12 [19 favorites]


Thanks for a great resource! I face some of these problems and needed good information.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:11 AM on August 12


I'm post-menopausal, this is great information, Gunter is a hero. thank you.

PSA, a significant percentage of urinary incontinence in people of all ages(i.e., bed-wetting, frequency, ability to laugh freely) is caused by even mild constipation. I've lost the link to the doctor's site who has more info, but game-changer for me. in terms of sleeping through the night and not having to change my pants so often. Srsly, so many reasons to miss the estrogen.
posted by theora55 at 10:11 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Oh my god. The existence of incontinence rings just BLEW MY MIND.
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:13 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


The thing about incontenance pads being better at absorbing means they also work better as menstrual pads too. Specifically Always brand. As a bonus, I have been buying them for years and mentally challenging everyone in Target to huff my nuts about it so when my time comes I won't have any issue.

Also I know Dr Gunter won't believe this but the extra absorbacy pulls the fluid out faster. It sounds hard to believe but I've tested it. It takes fewer days to be over.
posted by bleep at 10:14 AM on August 12 [10 favorites]


Which I say not as a derail away from the topic of incontinance (which my phone has no idea how to spell and neither do I) but just to share that people should buy what they need and everyone in target can kiss your butt.
posted by bleep at 10:23 AM on August 12 [7 favorites]


I’m always fascinated by the lack of public discussion about incontinence

Clearly, she has not met my mom (85 yrs old) and her friends. They tell me that the fact that I had such large babies (8 lbs 14 oz, 10 lbs 5 oz) means it's just a matter of time before I arrange for regular deliveries from Amazon.

In the meantime, I get by by avoiding unnecessarily jarring activities (I learned years ago that trampolines are off limits) and clenching muscles when overcome by laughter. It's the surprise sneezes that do me in.
posted by she's not there at 10:27 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Also discovered that stopping all sugar intact GREATLY reduced the leaky pee phenomena.
posted by Mesaverdian at 11:21 AM on August 12


I also didn't know that kegel exercises were for bladder control until way after I learned about the Better Orgasms Now purpose. And Kegel (pelvic floor) exercises are for everyone, regardless of your genitalia.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:21 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


(Oh hey, Summer’s Eve. Fuck off. And no, I’m not sorry. When you tell women that “feminine freshness” is some standard or elusive goal you are the actual fucking patriarchy. Prove me wrong and produce a men’s scrotal wash called Puppy Paws. I’ll wait).
QFT

It has been really enlightening to see my girlfriend's reaction to activities that might take my nose close to her genital area. She's incredibly uncomfortable with the idea that I might think she smells gross.
posted by hanov3r at 11:27 AM on August 12 [10 favorites]


And Kegel (pelvic floor) exercises are for everyone, regardless of your genitalia.

They are great for lots of people, just not those of us with conditions that are worsened by Kegels.
posted by corey flood at 11:33 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


Gunter: Women’s magazines produce articles with great regularity on vaginal mayhem (sigh) and there is an increasing number of articles on menstrual products (yeah!)."

Women's magazines are staffed by women too young for this to be an issue and have been for at least the past 15 years. (And the discourse about other formerly "private" issues has increased tremendously in the same time period.) Furthermore, poor industry standards for maternity leave wash a lot of us out once we have children, especially more than one.

— a former magazine staffer
posted by purpleclover at 12:17 PM on August 12 [18 favorites]


It has been really enlightening to see my girlfriend's reaction to activities that might take my nose close to her genital area. She's incredibly uncomfortable with the idea that I might think she smells gross.

Years ago a young woman at a party asked me the "poll" she asked every woman - what thought went through my mind at the exact moment that a man was about to go down on me? She added that nearly everyone she asked reported that their thought was a brief fleeting worry of how they smelled or tasted.

I was very pleased to report that in my case, the thought that went through my head was usually something like an Austin-Powers-esque "YEAH, baby!" And I am forever grateful that I somehow missed out on whatever that conditioning was that would have lead me to be embarrassed.

...I started having occasional leak incidents a few years back when I coughed or sneezed. These days I try to cope by a) peeing a lot, and b) trying to keep my allergies at bay. So far so good...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:19 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


No one ever accepts urine donations...
posted by Windopaene at 1:35 PM on August 12


The Thinx panties for incontinence are called Icon and I fucking love them. I did have a bladder sling put in after my hysterectomy, but I still have leaky days. I hated depends and pads; they chafe in a way that my labia end up swelling and just, no. It's awful.

I haven't had that issue with these panties, even when I've had that "five minutes ago I peed, and now my bladder let go of the last 1/4 teaspoon of it" thing going on.

They will NOT absorb a whole bladder, so I still tend to wear depends on long trips when the bathroom won't be easily accessible. But I can do a whole day of events without worrying about if I smell like pee, if I have pee on my clothes, or what happens if I sneeze.

Also, at like 70 bucks a pair, they are fucking SPENDY and they only guarantee they will last 18mos to a year. But it has been worth it; I've slowly built a whole week + 2 catalogue of them.

My BFF and I call them our pee pee panties. Because they make us stupidly giddy over an incontinence product that is comfortable to wear. (A little sweatier during the summer, but not any sweatier than a depends panty or pad.)

/IncontinenceBlue
posted by headspace at 1:47 PM on August 12 [13 favorites]


There’s a current ad for a brand of incontinence pads in the UK that is really open about normalising incontinence, like lots of women just talking about it, and in the demo part they say “it turns pee into gel”. I thought that was so cool, that they didn’t bother to play the coy “liquid” card (although I did say to my husband I wonder when they’ll start using the actual word “blood” in pad/tampon ads). I can’t find a link, but this is another recent ad for Tena where the actress says “a bit of wee won’t stop me being me” so I agree with ArbitraryandCapricious that the taboos are lifting. And maybe it’s just me and my friends but “don’t make me laugh I’m going to pee myself” is a fairly common knowing joke...
posted by billiebee at 3:07 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


Years ago a young woman at a party asked me the "poll" she asked every woman - what thought went through my mind at the exact moment that a man was about to go down on me?

Hell of an icebreaker.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:16 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Jen Gunter is out there doing God's work, man. (Though this is not yet really an issue for me.)
posted by praemunire at 4:18 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


i don't have the link here but the super positive and strong athlete megsquats has an entire video about involuntary pee while lifting heavy weights which is basically "this happens to a lot of athletes, let's talk"
posted by zippy at 6:54 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I still remember when I was twenty-something and Tiny Tim was in town and gossip has it that he was buying those things at the local supermarket. Little did we think about the problems of the old. We were young. No longer.
posted by kozad at 7:10 PM on August 12


found the megsquats video, why do girls pee when they lift?
posted by zippy at 12:11 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Jen Gunter answered a question I had about this topic on twitter, and while asking questions about incontinence on the public twitters was something I had to think pretty hard about first, she was nothing but gracious and helpful. There's a new thing being advertised on facebook -- a kind of smart kegel trainer -- that I'm curious about her opinion of, as well. I just need to find a link to it and then screw up the emotional courage to ask her about it.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:05 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


And Kegel (pelvic floor) exercises are for everyone, regardless of your genitalia.

They are great for lots of people, just not those of us with conditions that are worsened by Kegels.
posted by corey flood


Sing it! I never knew this until doing pelvic floor physical therapy (which SUCKED, but did teach me some things). Some people need to relax those muscles instead of tensing them.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:59 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


About 14 years ago I went to a meet-up of folks who participate on an internet travel discussion board. For an ice-breaker we were invited to tell funny travel stories. I shared the story of how I was taking the train from Florence to Venice and discovered just a minute before it left that I had mistakenly gotten on the train heading to Rome. I grabbed by bags and made a run for the right train and as I was running, I was peeing my pants. I got on the correct train and had to dig through my bag for a clean dry outfit. It was horrible at the time but very soon after I though it was absolutely hysterical. Not one person in the room laughed. Everyone (especially the men) looked horrified.
posted by Plafield at 1:01 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


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