Does your Plumbing Leak?

If you’re a man – then you’re not allowed to read this blog.  None of my kids are allowed to read it either. If you choose to disobey this directive, then I cannot be held responsible for the feelings of horror and/or disgust that may ensue. You have been warned.

Today I want to talk about something nobody ever talked about to ME when I was approaching adulthood/womanhood and possible parenthood. Leakage. I want to know why in heck nobody ever told me that having babies – or even just growing up (and outward), could and most probably WOULD result in faulty pipes?!

Because I am the granddaughter of a plumber, I shall now revert to using appropriate plumbing terminology.  You can rest easy about discussing YOUR leaky pipes here because Im related to a trained professional. *Assumes plumber persona..serious face, clears throat,  cough cough no, dont do that! Coughing is BAD for pipes!*

Lets talk about leakage. What is it?  It’s when your tap drips, dribbles – or just plain ole gushes when you dont want it to. As in when it’s not actually turned on. Ladies in the house, you know what I’m talking about?

*You sneeze. Oh no…. You make a quick exit.

*You laugh a little too loud, a little too much. Dammit!…Dash from the room.

*Your kid bamboozles you into joining them on the trampoline. Bad. Idea. You jump. Stuff dribbles down your leg.  Quick, get off the trampoline.

*The stupid instructor wants everyone to do enthusiastic Jumping Jacks! ‘Come on now, you can do it! Higher! Faster!’ But you’re not stupid. Hell no. You know what can happen during a jump. A leap. A hop. Pipes burst. No, not doing it. The stupid instructor singles you out, ‘Yoohoo, you’re not jumping!’ No kidding lady. Talk to the hand. Actually, better yet, talk to my a** as I walk out of this stupid cardio class. And go to the bathroom.

This leakage occurs for a number of different factors that affect the inner tubing of the appropriate pipes. Reasons like –

*You’ve got an elephant baby growing in your uterus and its pushing on your bladder.

*You’ve pushed an elephant baby out of your lady parts and now they’re just tired and don’t want to be flexed and fit and toned and on guard all the time.

*You’re fat.  (Because you’ve devoted your body, life and soul to the well-being of those elephants and it requires that you drown your exhaustion in lots of cake and ice cream so you can extract SOME small measure of happiness in an otherwise miserable existence.) And your excessive fatness means your piping is stressed. And tired.

*You are young and too sporty. You do too much exercise.  – I’m not making this up! Honest! I did some exhaustive research so I could offer you all this very scientifically helpful blog. Here’s a direct quote from a very clever medical professional. “Women in high-impact sports are at highest risk — parachuters, gymnasts, runners. In these sports, you’re hitting the ground hard, which can damage pelvic muscles and connective tissue that support the bladder.” See ladies? More evidence that it just sucks to be a woman. You’ll pee your pants if you’re too fat. AND you’ll pee your pants if you aren’t too fat. Remember that next time you covet an elite athlete’s skin and bones. (I’m really sad about this leaky fact. I mean, damn, I was totally planning on taking up parachuting this year. There goes another dream down the toilet.)

*You are old. And its even worse if you’re menopausal. More dreary leaky medical facts,  “About 25% to 45% of women suffer from urinary incontinence, defined as leakage at least once in the past year. The rates of urinary incontinence increase with age: 20%-30% of young women , 30%-40% of middle-aged women, and up to 50% of older women suffer from urinary incontinence.” The things I have to look forward to as I approach the precipice of forty…

If nothing else, I want you to read this blog and take heart in the fact that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You’re not the only one with plumbing issues. So what can we do about it? (Thank goodness for Google. How did anybody get expert medical advice before the internet was invented? The mind boggles. The plumbing gurgles.)

Google Medicine tells us about Kegels. You all know what those are – squeeze your lady parts exercise which is vaguely reminiscent of something sexual goddesses in an Arabian Nights pleasure house do to send people into paroxysms of excitement. ( I may or may not have read about this supposed practise in a bodice-ripping Mills and Boon romance. Hmm.) Kegels requires lots of concentration, especially if you’re just starting out. If you see a woman sitting very still with a tensed, deeply focused expression on her face and a kind of twitchiness about her? She’s probably a Kegels-newbie. Don’t disturb her. I can’t personally vouch for the success rate of Kegels because like all my good intentions – I put them on my List of Very Important Things to Do. And then forget to do most of them. Let’s be honest,contracting your lady part muscles is a lot like HARD WORK. It’s right up there with DO 50 SIT-UPS EVERY MORNING.  Laugh with me now derisively, Ha, ha, ha…who has time or energy to do 50 situps when they have to prep school lunch boxes, do laundry at 5am so kids can have clean uniforms to wear and etc etc. Maybe if you’re a Kegels devotee you do them all the time without even thinking about it. Heck, maybe you get paroxysms of delight while youre kegelling. Good for you! I’m thinking though, that for most of us women – we’re all doing some kegels while reading ( or in my case, while writing) this blog. For the very first time this week. Just cos seeing the word reminded us we should be doing them. Everybody – squeeze, hold, release! Repeat!

Some men are under the mistaken assumption that women do Kegels because they want to ensure peak sexual fulfillment for and with their partners. Ha. Ha. Ha. Maybe thats true for some amazing women who star in Sex and the City fantasies. But most of the women I’ve ever discussed plumbing issues with would agree with me when I say – Sorry guys, we really don’t care about your sexual enjoyment/ fulfillment. No. We care about whether or not we’re going to pee our pants the next time we laugh. Sneeze. Jump when a cockroach runs out at us.  Or if we run after the ice cream truck.

There’s various other things women can do to try to improve their plumbing. But some of them sound kinda freaky to me. Like electrical stimulation using a probe device. Yeah, like you want to get your vagina zapped. (Okay, maybe some women like that idea…to each their own!) And there’s a traditional Chinese therapy using an egg. (Don’t ask. Google it if you’re brave enough.)

For me, “gentle” (translation, “lazy people”) exercise always results in better plumbing. A few years ago, I did a 100km team  relay in Samoa with a group of six women. When I first started “training” (staggering) for the event, I couldnt even power walk 100m without an accident. I’m most proudest of the fact that I ran/walked/stumbled kajillions of km over mountains and rabid-dog-infested roads without having a plumbing malfunction once. Now THAT’S epic! THAT’s an achievement I want written on my headstone.

Its not easy for a man to ‘get it’. Not even a man as enlightened and well-trained and domesticated as the Hot Man. I started (trying) to get some regular exercise into my life a few weeks back. This morning I announced excitedly to the love of my life,  “Babe, guess what?!”

What?

“Today I went for a run and didnt have a problem. No leaks, no nothing! Isnt that awesome!?”

He didnt look excited for me. Or about me. He looked like he just stepped in something nasty. “Do you really have to share that with me?”

“Duh, of course I do. You’re my best friend and its a sign of fabulous progress and Im super excited about it. Besides, who else can I tell?”

He looked pained. “I wish you didnt tell me. I wish I didnt have to hear that.” He made a hasty exit. But then he poked his head back in the room for a second with a devious smile on his face. “I’ve got an idea, why dont you blog about it? Tell your blogger world friends. I bet theres lots of women who would LOVE to chat about it.” Then he guffawed. Because the man thinks his wife would NEVER blog about something as embarassing as leaky plumbing.

Oh Hot Man… Challenge accepted!

Ladies – let this be a welcoming space for sharing Leaky Plumbing-ness. And if it hasnt happened to you (yet), then go chase an ice-cream truck and leave the rest of us to commiserate in peace. And laugh (carefully) as we hope for the day when you too have plumbing issues.

Oh, and if you want to read more about plumbing then here’s a useful link.  

http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/features/incontinence-womans-little-secret

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23 comments

  1. Bahaha love this blog Lani, wanted you to know you are not alone in your leg crossing exercises. The joys of womanhood, may we always celebrate openly the greatness of being able to hold life in our womb. Love that you took the challenge from your hubby, and caned it!

    1. I love how you express that ‘may we always celebrate openly the greatness…’ You wouldnt happen to be a writer too would you Fee!? My husband is horrified ( of course) and regretting his part in this blog expose, LOL

  2. hahaha. I think its very bold of you and nice to see someone of our ethnicity speak openly of issues such as this. And I have had my share honestly. I’m really not ashamed to say so, I mean, we are cursed as women with these kinds of defects but hey… sorry about it. *shoulder shruggs* It really does suck being a woman sometimes though. I’ve had to find out (ON MY OWN) about a lot of female issues because (being samoan) you know how they are with sexuality issues and everything related. Most of the time, I was so scared (embarrassed more like it) to ask about any issue I was having, because I wasn’t ever prepared or aware of anything or either that, I might be considered to be cheeky or they themselves know not much either.. I mean aside from what to do when having intercourse or about your period (not too much detail on that either but I learned that being in middle school in Hawaii) but you’re right..I wish I was told as well. About not just what you made relevant but everything else as well. I’ve had my share of accidents, feeling like I pissed myself and wondering if its showing through my pants and whatnot. Sometimes, If I notice the pattern and I’m out and about, I’ll wear a panty liner. That was my best solution. lol. Because yes, I don’t necessarily have time to go exercising or anything like that but I intend on doing something about it eventually. And I FULLY INTEND on NOT making that mistake for my daughter when she grows up, I want her to be prepared with all the “do’s and don’ts” and the “how to’s” and all of that. Thank you for sharing this. It’s nice to see someone be open for once about something like this.

    1. This is exactly why i blogged this – thank you so much for sharing your experience and insight! I think that some topics are even more ‘taboo’ for us Pacific women and I hope that by writing about them in this way ( with a whole lot of honesty and a bit of humor) that it can get us taking about it. When it first happened with me, i had no clue what the heck was wrong with me, or how to handle it. And I DEFN wasnt about to go asking anybody! That was before me and google got to be friends and so finding info about this was something that I was hugely embarassed about. I too want to make sure my daughter doesnt encounter the same feelings etc.

  3. Lol very interesting blog. I had 2 children and I guess I know what you mean. My leackage is very minimal doesn’t really affect my everyday life but im glad you blogged about it. Alot of woman go through this and its good to know they r not alone. And I must admit I did a few sets of kegels 😉 Thanks for the reminder

  4. My commiserations Lani!! After having my first daughter, i thought i’d play indoor netball to ‘get in shape’ (what was I thinking…round is a shape after all!)…and lo and behold, I discovered what nobody ever told me…that there’d be plumbing problems…cue smuggling/hiding tena lady pads in between cans of spaghetti and kids nappies! Then when I tried to be ‘responsible’ and do kegels, one day i must’ve over kegel’d and without warning in the middle of the night, my ‘birth canal’ decides to spaz out after a day of over-stimulation LMFAO!! Damned if i do and damned if I don’t! The price of motherhood 🙂 Am looking forward to the day when I don’t have to worry about a plumbing problem during bootcamp 🙂

  5. According to my Crossfit Trainer, most women who’ve had a baby pee during jumping jacks and also during jump rope. If I go to the potty, I don’t…otherwise, yep!! I am a leaky goddess. It’s just dreadful. Almost as dreadful as throwing a barbell over my head. 🙂

    1. I want to see you accidentally throw a barbell over your head Jenny – at least that makes you sound very powerful and strong, kinda like you ‘dont know your own strength’! LOL #LeakyGoddess shd be a hashtag…Perfect

  6. bahahahahaha funny – more power to the Kegelers lol and a glass up hopefully to no more leaky pipes!

    1. Ohmiheck, Mona, you just know I hadnt done any for a few years…until i wrote this, LOL. Everytime i come back to read the comments, it makes me do some more though….maybe, just maybe I will become a pro.

  7. I laughed at and love this post. You made something so… odd… to talk about funny, light-hearted and not to mention world-wide. LOL! It’s nice to know that someone I admire and respect so much has commoners problems. hahaha xoxo
    p.s kalofae ia Hot Man.

    1. You have a looooooong way to go before you need to be crossing your legs and worrying about this stuff Laura – live it up and party while you can – let the wild laughter and unrestrained star jumps begin!

  8. Such a great topic that no one ever discusses. My plumbing rarely leaks unless something’s wrong (the dreaded UTI), but other things tend to leak in the vicinity and I dont know why! It’s frustrating. Before a period, leakage, after, leakage, during, leakage….its so annoying. If I knew it was this hard to have a vagina with self lubrication I’d have tried to get a refund. (Ha, if such a thing were possible)

  9. I didn’t know about this – that’s it – I am never having kids! Nobody tells you about this stuff, having menstruation was traumatic enough. I thought I was dying then…and now this to look forward to? PS. I am over 30 too…No thanks, keeping my plumbing tight!

    1. YES! Im glad that my post can alert at least ONE person out there – my blatherings would not have been for nothing! LOL And all the best with keeping the “plumbing tight”, #LoveIt

  10. OMG I chuckled (lightly) while reading this particular blog. I usually lol reading your blogs but I was forewarned of leaky pipes. I have a friend who first noticed this ( 3 yrs older) and asked me about it. I pretended I knew what she was talking about but didn’t experience it until after my third child ( a year later). Now after my fourth child (just turned 1 last month), I dread doing jumping-jacks during Zumba. Thank The Lord for whoever invented panty liners. Protective but thin enough in a very hot climate like American Samoa, not to be uncomfortable. I never exercise without putting one on. And yes, thank you google and prenatal books to learn about Kegel. Not too long ago my mom whose over sixty mentioned how her pipes leaks and I had to advice her on Kegel exercise. She just looked at me weirdly….guess translating it into Tongan just came out wrong. Would be nice to see how anyone can explain Kegel in Samoan or Tongan….seriously.

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