One of the things that happens to your body when you are pregnant is that you tinkle more easily while that sweet baby sits on your bladder. That’s common sense: a heavy object sitting on a lighter, thinner object will squish the lighter one…of something like that. But the problem persists even after you have given birth, whether it’s naturally or via C-section. There is no rational explanation for this. Nothing is squeezing your bladder anymore, but suddenly you have lost the fine muscular control over your urethra. So with almost every tightening of your abdominal muscles – sneezing, coughing, farting, laughing, jumping, hitting a golf ball – out trickles some pee. For the rest of your life.
You first notice the problem when a cold has invaded your head. A sneeze isn’t just a sneeze; it’s a minor sprinkling. Little drops come out with each “achoo!” You can stuff some tissue down your pants to sop up the extra moisture and keep your undies dry. But by the time your cold is in full bloom, you have no choice but to wear panty liners so you don’t have a pee spot on your pants. Every contraction of the abdominal muscles somehow tells your urethra to open the flood gates.
You can try to correct this female injustice by crossing your legs when you sneeze or cough. (What you really want to do to is grab your crotch with your hand to hold in the pee, but that’s not polite.) You’ll be out in public and feel a sneeze (or maybe it’s a fart) coming on, and you’ll cross your legs to let it go. Or maybe you’ll feel a fart making its way to the exit, so you’ll lean over on one leg like you are thinking, thus allowing the air to escape but trapping in the pee. (Tricky, huh?)
Aside from posture fixes for the problem, there are exercises you can do to fix the leaking. I found this out when my husband sent me to a urologist. She proceeded to stick her fingers in my hoo-ha to “show” me where some invisible muscles were that helped control the urethra.
“Do you feel that?” she asked, as she pressed on my urethra-controlling muscle.
“Uh, yeah?” I replied.
“Now contract your vagina and think hard about squeezing that interior muscle. Go ahead and try it.”
So I did, and I began squeezing the fingers of a female physician who had half her hand in my pleasure palace.
“Yes, like that. Good!”
Rolling my eyes beneath my closed eyelids, I began to think of how else this could benefit me. I thought for a minute that I could use those muscles during sex too, but really, by this time in my life that’s too much work and thought.
For the past eight years I’ve been doing my exercises on and off. For the most part they’ve helped, thought I still cross my legs when I sneeze.
One day I was playing tennis with some of my most fun girlfriends. Our pro Mike feeds us balls while we run different drills every week, so it’s a great time and a lot of work. Late in practice one day, I was up at the net. I missed a good volley, and in frustration I hit the net with my racket, jumped up in the air, and then landed with both legs bent, belting out a scream…and apparently a fair amount of pee. Desperate for the pee to NOT soak through to my tennis skirt, I straddle-walked over to the side of the court, grabbed a hand full of tissue, and proceeded to dart behind the tarp lining the back wall where I stuffed the tissue down my pants. I emerged and all the women laughed at me, knowing exactly what had happened. Mike, on the other hand, remained confused until I enlightened him. He did have a wife, after all, and surely wasn’t in the dark about these things.
On a weekend getaway to a friend’s country house, the five of us were in our favorite place: the screened in porch. We eat and drink there. We dance there. We stay up late laughing and talking there. One evening, Meri was sitting on the hanging swing. Ali Said something funny, and Meri busted out laughing. Then she stopped, eyes wide, and said “Oops. I peed.” She stood up, and there on the pillow was a little wet spot. And off she went to change her pants.
The Golf Pee…err Tee
While playing golf in my par three league, the ladies in my foursome took along roadies. The bartender, who has a generous pour anyway, gave us large Styrofoam cups, so I said, “Just make it a double so it lasts me a while.” I thought I was asking for two mojitos. Apparently I requested a mojito with twice the alcohol. Who knew???
By hole four, I was toasted. Three holes in a row, I leaked a little pee when I hit the ball. We were telling all kinds of funny stories and laughing up a storm, and there was quite a bit of dripping going.
“Do any of you have some Kleenex?” I asked, hopeful I would find something to shove down my pants to absorb some of the dampness.
* Crickets…. *
So I pulled my clubs through the rest of the course walking bow legged until my tennis skirt dried. No harm, no foul.