How to Deal with LBL at Work

Getting that gotta-go feeling can be a real challenge at work. When I was expecting my first baby, I consulted for a fast growing company. This meant being housed in a temporary trailer until the construction of our new office building was complete. The bigger my belly grew, the more often I needed to use the restroom. Unfortunately, the workspace layout made it impossible for me to be discrete. To get to a restroom, I had to walk the entire length of the attached research garage filled with men working on the nuts and bolts of automotive design.

I dreaded the long walk down the center of that massive garage. The guys never said a word, but they had to be placing bets about how many times a day I'd walk by. Entering my last trimester, I didn't walk; I practically had to run to get there on time. How embarrassing!

I wasn't the only one dealing with discomfort. While I was managing a pregnancy, my office mate Cathy (20 years my senior) was going through menopause. What a pair we were! I don’t know which of us took that long walk to the restroom more often.

While it helps to see the humor in life, it isn't always funny. Many women find it embarrassing having to leave in the middle of a long meeting, or end a conference call abruptly. A good friend of mine told me, "I got into the office early. Someone told a funny joke. I laughed, leaked, and realized I didn't have a pad on. There was no time to go home before my first meeting, so I just had to deal with it." 

For the emotional side of things, it may help to know that you're not alone. One in three women experiences light bladder leakage, and there are things you can do. Here are three:

1. Visit a qualified medical expert. Every woman's body is different, and there are a wide variety of contributing factors that lead to LBL, including unlikely things like smoking, and chronic coughs. Get advice specific to your body so you can discover the best treatment plan for you.

2. When LBL interferes with your ability to get work done, have a candid talk with those who work with you. Once you get over the initial discomfort, you're likely to receive support and find some solutions that will allow you to get on with your day in a way that will better work for you.

3. Remember you're not alone. Many women in the workplace experience LBL too. Give yourself the advice you would give a good girlfriend. It will help you stay resourceful so that LBL won't stop you from being active and involved both at work and in your personal life. What about you?

How do you overcome those awkward LBL moments at work?

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