The Scariest Article You'll Ever Read About Your Ladyparts
By Jen Matlack
We open up about four hush-hush conditions -- from peeing your pants to
ridiculously heavy periods -- that millions of women are suffering from in
silence. Maybe even you.
This is tough to admit, but here goes: I'm 39, and I pee myself on a regular
basis. No kidding; it's true. Since I gave birth three years ago (and
practically pushed my brains out of my ears in the process), I pee my pants
whenever I sneeze, cough, or laugh. It's annoying and demoralizing — once I
soaked myself when a cat hair got stuck in my throat and triggered a coughing
fury. Um, my toddler's the one who belongs in Pull-Ups, not me.
Not too long ago, though, a study came out that made me feel less like an
anomaly (and a freak!). Research published in the journal Obstetrics &
Gynecology found that as many as one in three women have one or more
embarrassing "down there" issues, such as stress urinary incontinence (hand in
the air, frantically waving — that's me!) and prolapse. And the study
participants weren't just grandmothers (or even moms) either: Women with these
troublesome issues can be in their 30s or even younger.
In fact, millions of women have a "down there" dilemma. Yes, millions.
Unfortunately — though perhaps understandably — many of them keep these
problems to themselves. "As much as women share with each other about personal
issues, they still may consider pelvic disorders to be too taboo to talk about
with their friends, their sisters, even their doctors," says Lauri J. Romanzi,
M.D., a clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Cornell
University in Ithaca, NY, and the author of Plumbing and Renovations.
After all, what woman wants to reveal that she wets — or (gasp!) poops —
herself? But breaking the silence is the first step toward getting help for
these humiliating, often debilitating, but treatable conditions.
At the risk of embarrassment, I've decided to get the conversation started,
because, well, I don't want to wet my pants forever! Here, four awkward
questions you might be afraid to ask — and the reassuring answers that will
improve your life (and restore your dignity).