Most Women Pee Themselves (and That’s OK)

You know what might seem super-embarrassing
but is actually super-normal especially for women and girls? Leaking a little bit of pee
in your pants. Or skirts or jeans or shorts or jorts or skorts. Or overalls! Not long ago I received a request from Stuff
Mom Never Told You viewer to talk about bladder leaks because as she wrote, ‘One topic that
is still taboo is the fact that some perfectly fit women have bladder leaks when they do
certain activities. I am one of these and it is a quite annoying and stressful problem.
The shame and fear of being judged does not allow me to talk about this to other other
people.’ Bladder leaks, or temporary incontinence, is something that effects up to half of all
adults with vaginas not to mention twenty percent of female college athletes and plenty
of younger girls as well. Guys, yes, it happens to you too but women are twice as likely to
experience this. So vagina-havers let count this as along with menstruation as just one
of the bonuses of this plumbing. Quick anatomy lesson. Our bladders are actually muscles
and when it is time for us to go our brain signals the bladder to contract thus forcing
the urine into the urethra, that pipeline into the outside world usually in the form
of toilet or perhaps behind a dumpster if you’re at a music festival and the line for
the port-a-potty is just too long and you can’t wait. Before the urine can make it’s
grand exit or entrance depending on which way you look at it, the sphincter muscles
surrounding the urethra must also relax thus letting it flow, let it flow, let the urine
flow into the world. That of course is the best case scenario of peeing works but there
are also plenty of times when some urine can sneak past those sphincter guards. The most
common way that this happens is through something called stress incontinence and we’re talking
stress in terms of physical stress most commonly things like coughing, laughing, sneezing,
exercising, lifting heavy objects, doing things that puts actual physical stress on your bladder,
not stress in the sense of the nervous peeing that I get before say I go on stage or have
a job interview or am just like hanging out with a new friend and I really want her to
like me. Why does this happen so often in women? The three primary culprits of stress
incontinence are pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. With pregnancy obviously you’re
putting a lot of physical strain on the bladder because well, baby. With childbirth the process
often weakens the pelvic floor muscles which breaks down our ability to hold our urine
in. Finally with menopause, doctors think that the reduction in our estrogen levels
might weaken our urethral tissue. But what if none of those three factors apply to you?
There is a genetic basis for this as well, some people might simply inherit weaker pelvic
muscles. There are all sorts of reasons even beyond this why stress incontinence and different
kinds of incontinence happens. But the good news is if you experience stress incontinence
there is one effective remedy that you can do anywhere and it will cost you nothing!
Kegel exercises. All you have to do is squeeze and hold your pelvic floor muscles for about
ten seconds, release and repeat. If you’re not sure what your pelvic floor muscles are,
pretend that you have to go to the bathroom really, really, really bad but you can’t,
so you squeeze. Doctors might also recommend other behavioral changes such as bladder retraining
which involves timing when you go to the bathroom, dietary changes, quitting smoking, losing
weight, changing medications that could be causing that kind of bladder leakage, all
the way up to more intensive treatments for more intensive kinds of incontinence. And
if you do experience bladder leaks I hope that this video relieved some of the mental
stress involved with stress incontinence.