Alice’s experience is part professional, part personal. Working in the field for many years she has hands-on experience in treating and coaching women to manage incontinence.
Yet, it was only when she fell pregnant, gave birth to her son Milton, and experienced bladder weakness herself (first when sneezing, then while dancing at a friend’s wedding), that she realised the full importance of a treatment program. She now encourages women to approach their GP or continence physio as soon as they realise it might be an issue.
“A few drops here and there turn into a few drops most days, and then a few drops most days turns into wearing a pad, and wearing one pad a day turns into two pads a day, and we see some women and men who won’t leave the house anymore,” she says of her experience at work. “They feel like they can’t go out and socialise with their friends, they’re worried they smell of urine. It really is impacting their quality of life.”
Personally, Alice was acutely aware of the impact the issue could have had on her mental health.
“I love running, that’s what keeps me sane. Especially postnatally, that was my big thing to make sure I didn’t get postnatal depression – I had to make sure I could exercise. If I was wetting myself, I’d lose my outlet. Mentally, I would have struggled a lot more.”
“It’s the follow-on effect,” she points out. “A little bit of wee, you can brush it off and laugh about it. But it leads to other issues.”
From her experience, and from dealing with the issue professionally, Alice sees a shift in the way people are talking about incontinence – especially among the younger generation.
“There’s that idea that they’re not going to just accept it,” she says. “Previously, you would have just accepted it and put a pad in. These days, a lot more people are going, ‘No, I’m not going to put up with something. I want to be able to run, so I’m going to make this better.’ Now you can do something about it, and fix it.”