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Shawna Wagner works as a Talent Acquisition Leader and has 15 years of experience working in human resources. She says her passion for building relationships and connecting people to opportunities motivates her to excel in her field. Shawna and her family have always loved being physically active for health, with hiking and running being her favorite sports. She has participated in 5K and 10K races and just finished participating in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day For The Cure walk. She plans to run again soon in the Chicago half marathon. Shawna lives with her family in Minnesota.
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I really started to notice my bladder issue after the birth of my second daughter which was 14 years ago.
My bladder leaked when I did high-impact activities such as running or circuit training. It also leaked when I did activities with my daughters such as volleyball and tennis.
Absolutely! I have two very vivid moments that I remember. The first happened about 4 years ago during a family vacation to Banff, Canada, when we went horseback riding in the mountains. I had no idea that riding would be a "trigger" for my bladder leakage. I have to say, it was probably my most embarrassing event because it was so noticeable since I wore blue jeans. The second major incident happened fairly recently. It was the tipping point for me to seek treatment. While running was a trigger for my bladder leakage, I could manage it by running early in the morning, not drinking any liquids, and, of course, always wearing a pad. Last October I competed in a 10-mile race. I felt great on race day and was so excited to participate — but by mile two of the race, I was completely soaked. What I didn't anticipate is that drinking extra water the day before the race would cause major bladder leakage during the race. I completed the race but promised myself I would seek treatment for this issue.
It really only impacted my physical activity and fitness choices. It also affected the types of activities I could engage in with my daughters and backyard activities such as playing on the swingset. I had to wear pads, and I didn't feel confident when interacting with others.
I really don't know. I was one of those women who "dealt" with it and it took me years to bring this issue to my physician. There is no doubt it is embarrassing but I think, in hindsight, I'm more embarrassed that I lived with it for as long as I did. I knew there were treatment options available and it took me far too long to pursue them. I will never get those years back I didn't play with my daughters. I believe that life is short and you should live every day to its fullest. After many years of not doing things because of bladder control problems, I am active again and it feels great!
I wanted a permanent solution, not just another way to "deal" with the issue. Because of that, I chose to have a minimally-invasive sling procedure. A sling procedure involves placing a support near the bladder; this can usually solve stress incontinence. It is a long term solution for people whose bladder conditions can't be fixed through more traditional treatments.
It's wonderful. There are very few days that go by that I don't think how happy I am that I finally took charge of this issue. I now have the ability to choose what time of day I want to exercise. It's awesome! And the fact that I have no limitations to my activity is equally awesome! I will be participating in my first half marathon in September and that would have never been possible without the treatment I had.
Don't be afraid to talk to your physicians about your symptoms. Also educate yourself about the treatment options. Unfortunately, many physicians may still recommend using a pad but I believe women today deserve treatment options beyond what our grandmothers had as a choice.
Content last updated October 05, 2011.