Guest post from Joanna Murphy and Ro McGettigan, an Irish Olympic runner and founder “Believe I Am,” a company dedicated to bringing sports psychology to the everyday athlete in real, tangible ways. She shares why Believe I Am recently released Performance Undies as part of their apparel line.
Sista, sister. It’s time to share some secrets on important women-only issues. Let’s rationalize why we collaborated with Dear Kate’s to make high tech underwear for high performance. It had nothing to do with slapping our logo on some sweet stylish panties. Instead, we wanted to bring awareness to, and shed light on, some feminine issues that the billion dollar sportswear industry fails to address. Are you ready to hear our reasons for making superhero undies that basically solve the (female) world’s problems? Tune in, and sit tight, as we divulge the real facts about some “women’s only issues.”
We are all about equality for women which is why we are also all about serving our #sistersinsport and the issues that we face as females. Why should our “embarrassing” issues be kept so secret and hidden that when we experience them, we want to hide and quickly Google what is happening to us, only to find out that “Yes you are a normal woman”? Enough of the shunning and secrets! Let’s air the truth, expose the issues, and not feel so weird, self-conscious or ashamed. Let’s normalize our issues and prevent them for impeding us or halting our ambitions. Hey, that’s what a sisterhood is supposed to be: sharing concerns and experiences in order to help a sister out.
We aren’t just talking about that time of the month. Some, 30-40% of women have problems with urine leakage while exercising. In normal circumstances, your nerves, ligaments, and pelvic floor muscles work together to support your bladder and keep it locked down below so nothing leaks out, but things like pregnancy, menopause, and other situations cause these muscles not to work properly. Crikey!
“That” Time of the Month
We all know it well. That special week when we feel like being immobilized in the infant position with a mountain of chocolate in front of us. And while rationally we know that getting out for our run will actually help us out, the options just aren’t great – suffering through the diaper feeling of a pad or digging through the drawer for undies ugly enough to handle the possibility of stains that tampons bring on. Well, lined performance underwear not only helps “catch” drips that might escape, but the material is stain-releasing as well. No more hand washing or adding to landfills – throw them in with your dirty laundry and any residual will come right out in the wash! These functional and feel-good underthings are a great fit (pun intended) for the high school runner, adding a confidence boost knowing that she’ll be secure down below while racing during her period. Plus, with all the new research showing how mantras boost performance the “strong” visual cue that Believe I Am added to the Dear Kate performance undies adds a little “oomph” to your stride. Never fear racing while menstruating again. Period.
Editor’s Note: It’s not just runners who benefit! Think of all those basketball and soccer players who have to wear white uniform shorts for home games. I vividly remember a number of occasions where teammates experienced an embarrassing leak in the middle of a game and had to be pulled off the court or field by male coaches, in front of stands full of peers.
Pregnant runners and new moms have a lot more to worry about than just the new addition to the family! Being pregnant changes things (everything) and can add some tricky challenges to that daily 5-mile route. Stress incontinence is a common complaint among pregnant women, as well as women who recently gave birth. Those who give birth vaginally are more likely to have the problem than women who deliver by cesarean section. That said, even some moms who avoid labor altogether and have a scheduled csection continue to have stress incontinence after delivery. Many times the extra pressure created from, you know, carrying around another human being, makes it harder to hold it, especially when running! Couple that run with a good friend who makes you laugh and….well, those capris just weren’t built for that! Some women who develop stress incontinence during pregnancy find it goes away soon after delivery, but for others, it can persist in varying degrees for several months or longer. Performance underwear that comes with a built-in liner to protect against leaks is a great option for these women and a great way to continue doing something you love, even as your body goes through changes with the demands and effects of pregnancy and birth.
A woman’s body goes through many hormonal changes as she approaches and goes through menopause. These changes often increase the urge to urinate. Also, the muscles that “hold it in” often weaken with age. Studies show that women who have reached menopause experience incontinence in similar numbers regardless of the number of pregnancies they had. We all know that estrogen is responsible for vaginal health, but you may not know that it is also partially responsible for bladder health as well as keeping the pelvic muscles in good condition. As estrogen fades, so does it’s ability to keep those muscles in check. This can cause stress incontinence as well as “urge incontinence,” when the pelvic muscles squeeze at the wrong time…essentially those muscles are losing their coordination. Exercises to develop pelvic floor muscles like Kegel Exercises can help this, but lined performance underwear also provides you with peace of mind, knowing that you’re covered “in case…” Plus, when they are pretty, soft and breathable, there’s no need for language like “granny panties.”
A lesserknown side effect of food allergies is the body’s inability to signal when it’s time to go, until the last second, when it’s often too late! According to the USDA, the eight top allergens (dairy products, eggs, fish and shellfish, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and wheat) can trigger an allergic reaction which induces the body to release inflammatory chemicals like histamine from mast cells. And, guess what? The bladder lining also contains mast cells. They are capable of releasing large amounts of histamine and other inflammatory substances, which can irritate the bladder. Couple that with a tempo run or hill repeats and you might be in trouble! Lined performance underwear that helps protect against leaks are a great option for this situation as well, providing protection against leaks while also adding a soft, breathable base layer under tights. Don’t let any kind of food allergy wet your appetite again!
From the above list you can see that there are a whole range of “things that happen on the run” that can plague a female runner…enough to make a woman occasionally feel as if she’s trapped inside a choose your adventure book! Given the overwhelming evidence, we thought performance undies were pretty badly needed. So, we teamed up with Dear Kate, a hot startup that makes soft, pretty, made-inNYC underthings exactly for issues like these! Our collaboration included performance undies with the Believe I Am “Strong” visual cue providing a positive, performance-boosting mantra to focus on while pushing yourself to reach your goals, in spite of your female issues. Whether you’re on your period, running post-pregnancy, menopausal or facing food allergies, with the right undies and the right mindset, you’ll be makin’ even superman jealous by floating like a butterfly!
Become Super You!
1) The Oregonian Online, “Exercise-induced urinary incontinence (leaking urine while running) it’s more common than you think, and treatable” by Kelly Barten
2) Voices for PFD
3) BabyCenter: “Portpartum Urinary Incontinence”
4) Discovery Health: “10 Common Perimenopausal Symptoms”
5) WebMD: “Menopause and Bladder Control”
6) WellBladder: “Bladder Symptoms and Gluten Sensitivity”:
7) Runner’s World: “Can You Talk Yourself Out of Exhaustion?”