You wake up in the morning ready to seize the day. But before you have a chance to finish your first cup of coffee, you’re hit with one annoying challenge after another. In the middle of the morning meeting, someone cracks a joke. You laugh out loud… and leak. As tempting as it is to run and hide, people are counting on you, so you roll up your sleeves and respond to every demand, tackle every problem, while praying your dampened pants dry before anyone notices. By the end of the day you’re exhausted, but you did it! Everything is under control. You sing the Wonder Woman theme song to yourself. Then it comes to a screeching halt when you catch a faint whiff of odor. Oh no! Can anyone else smell that?
Even the most resilient of women can struggle with embarrassment, worry and disappointment when it comes to bladder leakage. If you’ve ever wondered, “Why me?” it may help to know you’re not alone. One in three women experience light bladder leakage, and there are ways to manage it so you can stay active and in charge of your life.
COPING WITH LBL
It doesn’t have to be hard or take massive effort to keep your chin up and your leakage down to a minimum. Sometimes all it takes is a small shift. Here are three useful tips for coping well with LBL:
1) SHIFT FROM COMPARING TO APPRECIATING – When you compare yourself to others it can leave you feeling bitter. You might secretly wish you could trade lives with that woman in white silk shorts doing high-impact aerobics at your gym, but in all likelihood she has struggles that you know nothing about and wouldn’t want to experience. The moment LBL has you comparing yourself, shift your attention onto what you appreciate. Gratitude is a shortcut to happiness and self-worth. Ask yourself, “What do I appreciate about the way I manage my challenges?” “What am I grateful for about my health, my relationships, and my life?” When you shed light on what there is to appreciate, you might discover that LBL has helped you become a resilient, kinder person with more understanding of other people’s challenges and your own.
2) SHIFT FROM PITY TO COMPASSION – Pity is a feeling that can cling after an embarrassing LBL experience. We’ve all had those “poor me!” moments saying to ourselves, “This is too big a burden for me to bear.” Even though pity may feel comforting at first, the cost is too high. For me, when I pity myself, I end up feeling small and powerless. How about you? When you’re feeling sorry for yourself, give yourself a bit of compassion. It’s distinctly different than pity, filled with acceptance, encouragement, and true comfort. Where pity leaves you feeling pitiful, compassion leaves you feeling accepted, understood, and relieved. It’s easier to deal with LBL, when you can simply accept what happened, without trying to diminish, or pity yourself.
3) SHIFT YOUR ATTENTION FROM PROBLEMS TO SOLUTIONS – Without a doubt, LBL can be a problem. When it shows up in middle of a workday, on the dance floor, or while you’re waiting in line to use the restroom, it’s a problem. What’s important to remember is that focusing on the problem isn’t as helpful as putting your attention on possible solutions. Instead of worrying, get curious about how you might manage or minimize the next leak. Your focus on solutions alerts that part of your brain designed to notice things that you’d otherwise have missed. You’ll start seeing helpful articles, hearing about useful pelvic floor exercises and discovering how other ladies manage LBL in magazines, on the internet, and in conversations. A solution-focus is empowering, putting you in a better position to take charge and live a more vibrant life.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? How do you cope with LBL when you’re feeling discouraged?