This athletic pad has you covered. (And yes, this is for real.)
Hand any woman over the age of 30 a jump rope and you have two camps: Those that have not had children and those that have. The childless start jumping happily away. But those that have had children pause. Why? Because we know that by the 9th or 10th jump, we’re totally going to pee.
Seriously, athletic incontinence is a real thing. Go on any all-female group run and women are bound to start talking about it. In fact, us ladies are more apt to talk to other female athletes and joke about needing frequent bathroom breaks than we are to talk to our own doctors.
“It’s very embarrassing,” said Janette Gaw, MD, FACS, FASCRS. Board-certified colorectal surgeon. “For women who have had kids, their pelvic muscles aren’t as strong.”
One option is to get up the nerve to talk to your doctor, but there are plenty of horror stories out there. From doctors who simply recommended more kegels to those that suggested women wear Depends while running a marathon (OMG, chafing), docs don’t always get it.
“It’s a stress incontinence,” explained Dr. Gaw. “You sneeze, you run…” and, well, you can guess what happens. A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics found that, among 106 female athletes, almost 42 percent had experienced urinary incontinence and it had affected their performance, and 95 percent of those had not talked to her doctor about it. There are treatments out there, such as physical therapy and biofeedback therapy, and in more severe cases, such as urge incontinence, there are medications and even sacral nerve stimulation, which is often a last resort.
But what about those of us who aren’t quite ready to pursue treatment- or who maybe feel they don’t leak enough, or have enough of a problem, to warrant a visit to a specialist?
Enter Brooke Solis, mother of five, athlete, founder and CEO of JustGoGirl. She noticed when she engaged in high-impact activities, like CrossFit, she would leak.
“When I used traditional incontinence pads to get through a hard workout, I was self-conscious about the giant bulge that I was sure was visible in the back of my tight-fitting workout pants. I wanted to create a pad that is durable, discreet, and comfortable enough to use every day.” What she created was a pad that is uniquely shaped, absorbent (up to half a cup) and only 1.5 cm thick. Most importantly, it’s invisible under the tightest athletic apparel. The pad has a back shape that is thin and long, like a thong- because, as Solis points out, in a regular incontinence pad, who needs all of that bulk in the back?
Does it work? As a self-professed leaky lady (I birthed three 10-pound babies), I took a JustGo Pad™ for a test run, a good steady 6-mile tempo run. While the sample did not come with orientation directions, or picture instructions, Solis assured me that when you order packs of the pads, those are included, (after laughing heartily over my orientation issues). This meant I had the pad on backwards for my entire run. But even while backwards it was discreet and I did not feel like it was visible, and it had very soft edges, meaning no chaffing. At the end of my run I did a few jumping jacks to really test the pad, and it certainly did its job.
Since Solis launched her product she says she has received so many emails “from customers that say, ‘I thought I was the only one, I thought it was just me,’” Solis shared. “We’re so good about talking to each other about so many issues—except this one.” With the launch of the JustGo Pad™, Solis has started the conversation. Which we think is great, because no one should miss out on long runs, group workout classes, or even a turn in the bouncy house just because of a little leak.
This article was edited on February 15, 2014 to reflect the differences between stress and urge incontinence.