As fifty creeps ever closer my body continues to change in ways I never expected, both emotionally and physically. My back rebels when I spend too much time in the garden. My patience is thin, but my belly is not. Sentimental commercials bring me to tears, while a dirty glass left near the sink brings on a 30-minute tirade to anyone within earshot. It’s not fun. As a woman in the throes of perimenopause with two children and several pounds to lose, I also experience stress incontinence. Experiencing leaks is a lousy part of getting older, but at least with a little work this one is correctable.
Treatments Options for Stress Incontinence
A quick Google search reveals more than a million results offering treatment options. These include Kegel exercises, devices to capture urine, electrical stimulation, hormonal creams to restore vaginal tissue, surgery, and, of course, the traditional thick pads to capture leaks. Most of these sites agree that stress incontinence is due to weak pelvic floor muscles brought on by childbirth, pregnancy, obesity, and menopause. However, there are a wide variety of methods and devices available to strengthen those muscles. Most include some form of vaginal cone that you can insert to strengthen the pelvic floor. I even found an egg made of jade that you insert for at least two hours three times a week. However, I’m a bit squeamish when it comes to inserting objects into my body, which is why Carin is the perfect solution.
What Makes Carin Different
Carin began in 2015 by creating washable protective underwear for women with mild incontinence, eliminating the need for thick pads. “We designed Carin to be a non-invasive solution,” says Julia Veldhuijzen van Zanten, the company’s creative lead and co-founder. “We wanted it to be a positive experience for women. The underwear doesn’t look like something you would find in a hospital. Rather it’s pretty and fits in with your daily life.” But they didn’t stop at just offering protection. They also offer women a solution to manage and, eventually, eliminate leaks. Included with the underwear is a sensor and app to monitor leaks and an exercise program designed to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. The whole process requires a commitment of only 10 minutes a day for four to six weeks. Within four weeks 80 percent of women noticed an improvement.
Ready to Begin
Now it’s time for me to begin. I have underwear, a sensor, and directions to get me started. First I unplug the sensor from the charger, attach it to the top front of the underwear, and load up the app to my phone. Technology and I don’t always get along so I was pleased to see how easy it all was to set up. The underwear is made from microfiber, the same used in sportswear so it dries quickly and feels comfortable. During the day I keep track of how much I drink and spend 10 minutes doing the exercises, usually after my regular workout.
Over the next four weeks I will follow the exercises on the app, log my liquid intake, and monitor my progress. The app sends gentle reminders just in case I forget. It’s also time to embrace a healthier lifestyle, maybe drop a few pounds in the process. I don’t like counting calories or following rigid diet plans. Instead I’ll follow the “Vegan Before 6” plan by Mark Bittman, a food writer for the New York Times. During the day I eat a plant-based diet – lots of steel-cut oats, smoothies, whole grain salads full of vegetables, soups, nuts, and fresh fruit. In the evening I can fix whatever I want for the whole family, adding cheese, fish, and, occasionally, chicken. The Internet is full of great recipes. I know it won’t be easy – I really like cookies – but it’s only 30 days. Anything is possible for 30 days, right? I can’t wait to share my progress at the end of March. If you’d like to join me, please let me know in the Comments section. I’d love the company. Have a great month!