Urinary incontinence. If you’ve been pregnant, then you’ve experienced that flush of wet warmth in your pants after a sneeze, a good giggle, or whilst exercising. For many, it can be shame inducing. But for me, it’s just part of life.
I’ve had a secret for a very long time. I’m incontinence. Urinary incontinence to be precise. I leak. I wet my pants. Not huge gushing leaks. Little leaks. But they can be smelly. They can be uncomfortable. And they can be embarrassing. It can happen when I laugh. When I cough. When I sneeze. It may happen when exercising. When I drink too much. When I’m not close enough to the toilet to make it in time.
It is thought that 40% of women will suffer from urinary incontinence at some point in their life. Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause all increase the risk of suffering from involuntary urination. Undoubtedly, my bladder weakened during pregnancy and leaking was far more common in the fourth trimester. But I leaked long before that. My neurological condition means that I’m never entirely sure if I need the bathroom and when I do, I can’t always control it as I would like. This has been the case for as long as I can remember. I have sought medical advice. Worked on my pelvic floor muscles. Seen physiotherapists. I still leak.
I use to be ashamed. It made me nervous to exercise in public. I would be scared to wear a playsuit or jumpsuit in case I couldn’t get it off quick enough. As I’ve grown, I’ve overcome most of these insecurities. There is something about age that just makes you accept your body and it’s flaw or inconsistencies.
I created tactics for dealing with my incontinence. I carry spare pants with me. Wear panty liners (although they have a tendency to give me thrush which only exacerbates the issue). I pee every hour on the hour at work – even if I didn’t need to, just to make sure my bladder was continually emptied. I limit my caffeine intake. At times, I’ve limited my fluid intake – which is a stupid and dangerous idea. I don’t recommend that.
More recently, I’ve been trying out period pants. And my gosh, they are a revelation.
Modibodi period and leak-proof underwear
Modibodi specialise in underwear designed to prevent leaks. Whether you’re experiencing a period, incontinence, perspiration or lactation, Modibodi have a product for you. Their pants, activewear, swimsuits and camisoles come in six absorbency levels and span an impressive size range of UK size 4 through to size 26.
The heavy flow period and leak proof option
I’ve been wearing the sensual hi-waist bikini for a month or two now. It has a heavy-overnight flow, absorbing around 4 teaspoons or 20ml of fluid. I’ve been wearing this style for overnight period wear but also for long days out walking on the moors when toilets are scarce and the weather is too bracing for frequent pee breaks.
The hi-waist bikini brief sits comfortably above the hipbone and features a deep, stretch-lace band with a scallop edge. The brief is made mostly from bamboo with a viscose stretch. The brief includes Modibodi’s trademarked Modifier Technology of a 3mm thick gusset of bamboo to wick away moisture, merino wool to absorb and trap the fluid, and a waterproof underlay to prevent any leaking. The gusset is slim and discrete and I haven’t experienced any leaking when experiencing bouts of incontinence or whilst on my period.
I’m wearing a size 18/2XL in this style and they are a comfortably loose fit on me. I’m typically between a 16-18 with my hips being my largest point. This would suggest that these are very true to size.
For moderate incontinence or period flow
I’ve also been wearing the seamfree boy leg brief which is a moderate to heavy flow option, suitable for absorbing around three teaspoons or 15ml of fluid. I’ve been wearing this style for shorter periods of exercising – particularly for my yoga practice.
I find the nylon/spandex blend perfect for exercising. It keeps me cool and the brief stays beautifully in position whilst practicing yoga. The briefs are fitted with the same technology as the hi-waist bikini and is perfect for absorbing those small leaks I experience when bending over repeatedly.
Again, I’m wearing a size 18/2XL. However, these are definitely a little more snug in fit than the hi-waist. This means they fit me perfectly but, if you’re between two sizes, I would definitely suggest sizing to the larger for comfort of wear.
Modibodi also offer period and leak-proof swimwear. They offer both bikini and swimsuit options and I’ve been trying out their swimwear one piece. The swimsuit is a black one piece with double spaghetti straps and a simple, athletic design. It has a mid rise leg and a scoop neck. It comes with removable foam cups for added breast-support and has a nice, easy stretch to it.
The swimsuit is designed for light to moderate flow but, I haven’t been able to test it out when experiencing a period due to lockdown 2.0 closing our precious pools. I have, however, tested it for incontinence and didn’t experience any obvious leaks and there was no residual odour when leaving the pool.
I’m wearing the size 18/2XL which is the largest size they make the swimsuit in. It is a fairly good fit, stretching up my long torso (I’m 5ft10 and often struggle with the length of swimsuits). The torso can be shortened by adjusting the straps so that the suit sits higher on the chest. My 36H breasts fit comfortably into the breast lining and the suit skims my body nicely without restriction. This suggests that the swimsuit is very true to size.
With both the pants and the swimwear, I’m amazed at how discrete and comfortble they are. I’ve always found sanitary towels and panty liners terribly uncomfortable. They chaffe, move about, feel damp, and are generally uncomfortable. They also have a tendency to give me thrush. I’ve tried reusable pads too – but sadly found them bulky and difficult to secure.
The modibodi pants do none of these things. In fact, they are as comfortable as ordinary pants – just absorbent too. Having tried them, I can safely say I won’t be going back to sanitary towels!
The products featured in this post have been provided by Modibodi for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions expressed remain true to my own findings.