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Since when did incontinence become fashionable?

21 June, 2013

I want to show you something truly reprehensible. Click on this link and watch a YouTube video with a bronzed TV type interviewing a bunch of very fit looking women – asking them “Do you pee when you do Crossfit?”  Initially the girls are reluctant to talk about it but then momentum builds and before we know it seems hilarious, only natural and yes almost fashionable to be doing it. And what’s more it’s sort of endorsed by a FEMALE GYNAECOLOGIST – yes shouty capitals are necessary here to make the point that her endorsement of this being acceptable is wrong, disgusting, outrageous and truly lacking in her duty of care as a medical practitioner.

It is very apt that I came across this video via an email from our Women’s Health Network in Queensland in this particular week – on the cusp of World Continence Awareness Week.  Yes from 24th June until 30th June is the week that all of those dedicated health professionals who spend day and night educating women, men and children about the principles of continence promotion really up the ante and speak to their local bowls club, hand out brochures in shopping malls and generally try and spread the word about Continence Promotion.

Now I am outraged by this video, as are many of my Continence and Women’s Health Physio friends worldwide. We have a sort of club and this Twitter club is identified by (hashtag) #pelvicmafia. It started about 12 months ago when quite a few of us were on Twitter chatting, sharing and commenting on the good and bad things going on in the world of pelvic floor dysfunction. (Twitter does not have to be what the latest celebrity is doing or not doing – it is a wonderful medium for sharing journal articles and networking with like-minded colleagues world wide). We live in Australia, USA, Canada, Great Britain and lots of other places – most of us have never met face to face and yet have shared lots of laughs and information and feel we know quite a lot about each other just via Twitter. I have even had a chat to a Twitter mate when sitting beside my daughter at 2.30am after she had an emergency appendectomy – and I tell you I felt a lot better after she wished us both well all the way from the USA! We even have a T-shirt which one of the more industrious girls has had made especially for us all with #pelvicmafia stenciled on. We are all very dedicated to the pelvic floor cause and feel that videos such as these are sending a terrible message to women and men who are exercising. It is NOT ok to push yourself to the point of leaking.

Part of the charter of anyone working in the area of Continence Promotion is to bring continence out of the cupboard and make people feel comfortable in approaching someone to get help with their continence problem. But what this video does is make it seem sort of quirky and cute to be leaking urine when performing Crossfit. If you are leaking when you do Crossfit then you need to modify the programme– the weight you are lifting is too heavy and the forces too great down your vagina – which as I have said before is a hernia portal– an opportunity for the pelvic organs to prolapse down.

So what should we do? Condemn the message in this video, spread the word about ‘pelvic floor-safe exercising’ and encourage those who have continence issues to get help especially next week World Continence Awareness Week.

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Go #pelvicmafia!

For assistance in Australia if you have a Continence issue then contact the Continence Foundation of Australia Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 and the lovely CFA trained responders will point you in the right direction.

  1. Sue, Thank you SO much for posting this video. I am shocked that women think this is OK! We just have to keep on educating, and I’m so grateful for #pelvicmafia!

  2. Reblogged this on Proaxis Therapy Pelvic PT and commented:
    Sue Croft excellently documents a common misconception about urinary leaking during exercise. Check it out, and let us know what your thoughts are!

  3. The world really needs to be educated about incontinence.
    As much as dealing with incontinence is a hassle, much of the stress usually comes from embarrassment instead of inconvenience. Thankfully, there are incontinence products these days that provide as many options as possible to help sufferers manage the condition.

    • Yes Chelsea. Continence products are life savers for many men and women and allow them to train their bladders to hold on longer without embarrassment or anxiety. They also allow users to still exercise for cardiovascular fitness, maintain (safely)strong muscles and help with bone density maintenance. Indeed we are lucky in the first world to have access to them – that’s the sad thing about the women of Africa who have fistulas due to the trauma of childbirth. If you want to know more about this the CFA QLD Branch are having a fund raiser on August 31 where Dr Judith Goh will be letting us know about her amazing work repairing fistulas in Africa. Spread the word!

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