The United States of Pantswetters: “How peeing my pants has made me a better person”
Urinary incontinence is a wide spread problem, but why can’t we talk more openly about it then? Get a chance to learn from the founder of theusofpee.com and wider community.
Ok. Here we go.
This story has been taking me about half a year to write. I knew I wanted to write about it for ages but, it felt like it’s such a vital part of my personal life that I was always hesitant to actually publicly ‘come out’ with it.
But, right now is the PERFECT moment because, as of May 23rd 2015, I am completely off medication.
I can still NOT believe that I can say that.
Most of you reading this will still have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about. So, without further ado, here’s the story.
I have been peeing my pants since 1991.
We all start our lives with peeing our pants while being babies. I took it to another level though, with my mum thinking that I was just too lazy to go to the toilet up until I was sixteen.
It became a family habit to bring an extra pair of pants and underwear.
I think I had an extra wardrobe in elementary school with all the clothes I borrowed. Especially that purple pyjama was super comfy.
Something that I’m super thankful for is that I have never been bullied when I actually happen to pee my pants again. Of course, I became super skillful at hiding my wet pants throughout the years, but especially at a younger age I had never had a negative reaction when classmates discovered.
I am so very grateful for the supporting and extremely loveable people that have been in my life and helped me with dealing with situations in a hilarious way.
Looking back at it now, I can definitely fill a book with all the situations that I got in for peeing my pants. My God, there are so many..
Here are the amazing benefits that come with incontinence;
- I got to buy new pants quite often (to mums frustration I never brought the ‘first pee kit’ that she always carried in her bag when I was little);
- I can spot a toilet from miles away (something to put on my resumé, for sure);
- When losing all our luggage on a family trip, my mum, of course, had an extra pair of pants and underwear for me in her bag — ‘gotta love dem fresh underwear!’;
- I got to go to the toilet in the weirdest places; anything that is within a reach of 10 metres did the job;
- You will never get a phobia against public toilets, they are your beacon of hope. And last but not least;
- Going on a safari? No problem, plenty of space between the elephants, lions and zebra’s (there’s about 7 “lake Annet’s” in Tanzania and Kenia)
‘The Ultimate Pantswetter’ will come to a store near you soon.
A more fancy word to say that you pee your pants often is the word incontinence.
There are quite a lot of different types of incontinence, mine being;
urge & stress incontinence.
Symptoms (with medication)
- Peeing your pants when going from cold to hot & back;
- Not recognising the urge to go to the toilet and feeling it waaaay too late (which means you have about 5 seconds to go when you feel you actually have to);
- Extreme intolerance to anything that has caffeine;
- When under stress, stabs in the stomach that make you want to go to the toilet when you really don’t need to; and
- Intolerance to alcohol, which results in peeing your pants when you really, really don’t want to (think; crazy parties and Carnaval)— especially the next morning, which is a nice bonus to an already terrible hangover.
But hey! These are all a thing of the past now. On June 10th, I had my last session at the physiotherapist and am completely off medication since
But HOW, you ask?!
- By finally going to the hospital to tell them that my medication didn’t do the job and probably wasn’t that healthy to take every day for multiple years;
- By crying my eyes out when hearing that they wanted to take me off my medication (imagine you’re floating in a boat on open sea and somebody is telling you they’re taking your boat away) —probably the most retarded comparison ever, but whatever;
- By having about 328 desperate phone calls to my parents, sister and best friend on what to do next;
- By gathering courage, and start going to a pelvic floor specialist;
- By being absolutely shit-scared to do all the pee measuring stuff at work;
- By being comforted by some of the most wonderful colleagues at VBAT and finally;
- By recognising the problem.
In short, the diagnosis was that I always have been tense in my upper legs and butt (who needs squats when you have incontinence?!). I did not drink enough water or any type of liquid throughout the day, and did not recognise the signal that my brains gave me to tell me that I should probably go to a toilet in the near future. And to top those wonderful life qualities off, I am blessed with weak pelvic floor muscles.
After realising that I am always tightening up my muscles, I learned to relax them and with the help of a few wonderful days on which I measured all my liquid intake and toilet use during a period of 24 and 48 hours, I realised that my bladder was fine and I just needed to drink more and stop feeling stressed about going to the toilet.
Geez, not a massive problem at all, right?!
Well, luckily not anymore. And that’s why I wanted to write this story down. This has been a problem that has dominated my life in many ways and has challenged me throughout all those 23 years. But, as a side effect, it has made me a better person. (Man! I sound like such a grown-up..)
I have become more understanding to other people because of it and I noticed that telling this story about myself has helped others to open up about their life problems as well, which I am extremely grateful for.
So, here it is. Out in the open.
The story of an ex-incontinent almost 24-year-old girl.*
*2016 edit: Unfortunately, all my symptoms have returned and I’ll be going back for a second opinion at an academic hospital at the end of September.
This story was published in support of ‘The United States of Pants Wetters’.
I would like to thank the most amazing, extremely talented and always loving Nora Kanutte for helping me built the website that I envisioned back when I was being re-diagnosed in December. I love you, Nora. You ROCK!