Is Incontinence The Hot New Health Category?
Written by Erin Feher
Photograph via Knix
Most brand-new moms know the hazards of an unexpected sneeze or a legitimate belly laugh. Postpartum incontinence is real, but it’s really not something lots of women like to talk about. There’s just something about that “i” word that brings to mind bulky diaper packs sold next to the denture cream. But now a handful of companies are looking to change the face of incontinence and make products that appeal to the broad range of women—many of them young—who are dealing with it. From leak-proof undies in all the styles (think high-rise, boy short, and even thong) to slender, chemical-free bladder-leak pads, to blue-tooth-connected pelvic floor trainers for improving bladder control, new products are popping up all over the place. The biggest clue that the incontinence market is aiming squarely at millennials? It even has its own acronym: LBL—a.k.a. light bladder leakage.
According to a recent survey done by Cora, which offers redesigned bladder leak pads along with its organic period care kits, 76% of women have experienced LBL, and 42% of women aged 30 to 50 deal with leaks at least once a week. But many of these women are far too embarrassed to seek out products specifically designed for incontinence. “It was disheartening to hear that shame was preventing them from purchasing bladder products. But it’s understandable if you look at the antiquated, anachronistic products and packaging currently available for urinary incontinence,” says Cora’s founder, Molly Hayward.
But, thankfully, it looks like a revolution is afoot in the incontinence aisle, and we are here for for it. Below we’ve rounded up the newest, most modern LBL-fighting products on the market. So, go ahead and laugh with reckless abandon.
Knix Leakprooof Undies
These high-tech undies come in half a dozen different colors and styles (including high-rise, thong, and boyshort) and absorb up to 3 tablespoons of liquid. Founder Joanna Griffiths launched her now-thriving company with a crowdfunding campaign back in 2013 with the mission to create a line of underwear “designed to help women deal with little leaks.”
The Elvie Trainer
This blue-tooth-connected Kegel trainer strengthens your pelvic floor, which results in better bladder control and faster postnatal recovery. It connects to an app on your phone, which will lead you through workouts and track your progress. It promises less leaks in as little as four weeks.
Cora Ultra Thin Bladder Liners
When Cora found out that most women were opting to use period pads for LBL (rather than risk the embarrassment of shopping the incontinence aisle) they designed an LBL-specific pad that boasts the same exceptional design as their other products: 100% organic cotton, an innovative channel design, and pretty packaging, of course.
From the folks at Thinx, Speax is a line of undies designed specifically for bladder leak protection. The tech is moisture-eliminating, odor-resistant, and keeps you dry all day. Each pair features four ultra-thin layers of absorbency technology, anti-odor treatment that naturally neutralizes and eliminates smells, and absorbs up to 8 teaspoons (depending on the style).
This brand was one of the early players in the high-style absorbent underwear game. They developed their technology to handle light to medium bladder leakage, then rolled out dozens of styles, including plus sizes, activewear, and even a men’s version. Fannypants also offers washable bamboo pads that can snap into its undies for extra protection.
For more on this topic, check out our article on things you should know about your pelvic floor before, during, and after giving birth.
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Thank you for bringing attention to such an important topic! As a pelvic floor therapist and owner of the Functional Pelvis in NYC and Paris, we believe knowledge is power! Thank you for being a part of the change!