Women hear the same messages over and over again from brands and celebrities:“Be confident!” “Love the skin you’re in!” “Confidence is the new ‘sexy.’” These are great on paper, but in reality women are bombarded with reasons to feel less than confident in their own bodies. When it comes down to it, women are taught to be ashamed and embarrassed about very normal human things. We’re taught to be conscious of our weight, our skin, how we smell, even naturally grown body hair is seen as taboo for women in Western culture. As we age, our confidence can also begin to falter as our physical appearance changes. Women who are entering menopause or have already been through it can suffer from dry skin and hair, weight gain, and other “signs of youth” beginning to fade. To add to all of those wonderful changes (and those are just physical!) women are more likely to experience light bladder leaks as we age. With that being said, there are certainly steps women can take to try to boost self-esteem, even with light bladder leaks.
What are Light Bladder Leaks?
So what are these light bladder leaks? That’s a complicated question. There are actually several kinds of urinary incontinence, and while they all end in accidental leaks, the causes and triggers of the leaks can vary. Overflow Incontinence - Overflow Incontinence occurs because the bladder doesn’t empty properly and leads to a buildup of urine. People that have this type of incontinence may find that it’s hard to start going and when they do the flow is slow and not very strong. The leaks occur as small dribbles after using the bathroom, even all day! Overflow Incontinence is caused by a weakened or damaged pelvic floor not being able to properly contract the bladder. Urge Incontinence - Urge Incontinence is sometimes referred to as Overactive Bladder (OAB) because it describes pretty much what’s going on - an overactive bladder. The bladder contracts to release urine, even when it isn’t full, giving the urge to “go” which may not always be satisfied in time, resulting in a leak. You should see a doctor if you’re suffering from OAB, as it could be a sign of a larger health issue like a UTI or bladder cancer. Stress Urinary Incontinence - Stress Urinary Incontinence or SUI is when pressure or “stress” placed on the bladder or urinary tract causes a leak. The triggering force can vary from person to person - running, coughing, sneezing, lifting, or even laughing can trigger leaks when diagnosed with SUI. Stress incontinence is caused by a weakened or damaged pelvic floor, much like Overflow Incontinence, with the difference being that the muscles are too weak to STOP the urine, not too weak to contract the bladder. While both men and women can develop any kind of urinary incontinence, statistically speaking, more women are impacted for several reasons, from physical to hormonal. In addition, women of all ages can develop light bladder leaks, it is not a problem exclusive to mothers, grandmothers, and menopausal women.
Why We Need Confidence
Why does confidence make such a big difference? Is it really that important to feel good about ourselves? Both science and involved mothers say yes. There are five identified reasons according to Psychology Today why self-confidence is important:Less Fear and Anxiety - low self-esteem individuals are used to being fraught with cycles of over-thinking and mulling over bad memories and perceived mistakes, which is referred to as rumination. Rumination is linked to both anxiety and depression, so the more confident you are in your choices the less likely you are to have this feeling of rumination, lessening your chances of developing mental illness as a result. Greater Motivation - the article explains that confidence should basically be thought of as a goal, and you’ve probably accomplished a lot of goals in your life, both big and small. Whether it was a high school basketball game win or graduating with honors, you took time and effort- and probably a couple of setbacks- to achieve it. Look at self-doubt and questioning the same way, and the demeaning questions we ask, like “what if I fail?” can be seen in a new light. More Resilience - self-confidence means that when setbacks and failures do come about in life (and they will!) you learn from them with coping mechanisms, skills, and healthy self-development. This also leads to a much broader world as the fear of failure is no longer seen as a crippling excuse to try something new. Improved Relationships - when you’re confident in yourself you’re actually less likely to focus on yourself. The article explains that confident people are less likely to experience that “are they all looking at me?” feeling or constant self-comparison. It also goes on to suggest that confident people tend to be more in the moment, making them more empathetic and aware of changing emotions in others. Authentic Self - confidence allows for our authentic self to shine through because it allows us to utilize our strengths in a positive way and see our strengths as an opportunity to grow. Low self-esteem or low self-confidence can lead to negative consequences if left untreated. As mentioned before, low self-esteem has been linked to both anxiety and depression which have physical symptoms like fatigue, weight gain or loss, and excessive sleep. People with low-self esteem have also been found to have a tendency towards drugs, theft, and prostitution. So, yeah, feeling good about yourself really is that important.
Fake it Until You Make it: Some Confidence Tips
So, now it’s no secret that it’s important to feel confident, but many women find it difficult to feel confident, especially when they have light bladder leaks. In fact, a study released from Dove called the Global Beauty and Confidence Report revealed that “nearly all women (85%) and girls (79%) said they opt out of important life activities - such as trying out for a team or club, and engaging with family or loved ones - when they don't feel good about the way they look.” That being said, here are some tips from the Huffington Post to give you an instant confidence boost:
Another great way to feel confident all day, even if you have leaks, is with Revive®. Revive is a reusable bladder support device made for women with Stress Urinary Incontinence to reduce leaks for up to 12 hours a day. The device is inserted and removed like a tampon and is made out of soft, flexible silicone for all-day comfort. Available over-the-counter at retailers nationwide!