Have you seen the latest Tena Lady ad? A group of women doing a bounce fitness class on mini trampolines, smiling, having fun and happily declaring that they’ve just had an “oops moment”. They’re peeing themselves as they work out. It has to be seen to be believed, so you can watch it below.
Every time I see an ad like this I am filled with sadness and anger towards an industry that should know better, an industry that claims to serve women but continually misinforms and misguides them, an industry that makes money from the normalization of leaking, convincing women on a daily basis, that incontinence is a normal outcome of childbirth (or even simply of being female) and something to accept, shrug off and simply mask with a pad.
They’ve even created a marketing campaign to further normalize incontinence, branding it an “Oops moment”. Since when was it okay for women’s health to suffer as a result of an advertising campaign?
Oh, wait… #smashthepatriarchy
The “Oops moment” messaging is dangerous and damaging on so many levels.
If you need to wear a pad to do any type of exercise, your body is telling you it is not ready to do that exercise right now. Leaking is a red flag, it’s your body letting you know that something is not okay, that it can’t cope with what you’re asking it to do. You need to back up and build the foundations first. So that you can. And if you keep asking it to do that thing regardless, before it’s ready, you will cause greater issues in the long term.
Trampolining does NOT strengthen your pelvic floor. The high impact and repetitive bouncing create a downward force through your pelvic organs and muscles, and if you are leaking, those structures are not strong enough to cope with this pressure. This can cause long-term damage and even more issues such as pelvic organ prolapse. High impact exercise is simply not right for you if you leak when you do it.
Pads are not a solution to the problem. It’s like the plaster for the pelvic floor. Yes, the pad will stop your underwear from getting wet, but it does nothing to address the lack of optimal function and strength that is causing the issue.
To the manufacturers of incontinence pads
I’m calling you to reconsider your marketing and messaging towards women. Yes, your companies provide a wealth of truly valuable products and services for short term recovery or healing, for seniors and care facilities, but healthy adult women deserve better than “oops moment”. They deserve to be given the right information, that they don’t have to simply put up with leaking, as your message suggests.
To the fitness professional handing out incontinence pads at the beginning of each class
You may not realize just how damaging your actions are to the women in your class. Fitness instructors aren’t giving their clients enough guidance on how to properly train and recover after having children, they are simply adding to the problem of normalization.
What can you do to be the change your industry needs to see?
Speak to your clients, start the conversation, educate them, point them in the direction of a women’s health physiotherapist and tell them that your class isn’t suitable for them right now. You have a responsibility to serve your female clients properly, giving them a pad and laughing about incontinence is a huge disservice.
To the mother who has already accepted a life of leaking
It is never too late to make a difference and address these symptoms. That’s why we made the MUTU System programme. You DO NOT need to put up with leaking. It is not normal for you to pee yourself and you deserve so much better. You can do exercises again, without the embarrassment and inconvenience of leaking. You can see a qualified specialist women’s health physiotherapist who will be able to help you. If you live in the UK, in some areas you can even self-refer. These specialists are trained to help women to strengthen their pelvic floor and STOP relying on pads. If you feel like it’s been too long, there are ways of building that connection with those muscles again. If your fitness instructor is giving you a pad before class or asking you to ‘empty your bladder beforehand’, turn around and walk out.
We want to help you strengthen your core and pelvic floor, and feel confident and sexy again. You can follow MUTU System at home, to stop unwanted leaks, end any feelings of confusion or shame about your body, and regain control and confidence in how it looks, works and feels.
And to find an instructor you can trust, why not see if there is a MUTU Pro near you to help you feel confident and comfortable laughing as hard as you want to. MUTU Pro’s are certified and comprehensively trained in the MUTU System program. They’ll ensure you’re truly benefitting from your workouts and modify your exercises based on your individual needs.