Health & Fitness Carol Smillie on one of health's long-standing taboos

14:06  28 october  2017
14:06  28 october  2017 Source:   Netdoctor (UK)

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Carol Smillie on one of health ' s long - standing taboos . The TV personality chats about childbirth, incontinence and her latest off-screen project. More from Women's health . 20 articles. These supplements may help your menopause symptoms. Dry and damaged hair?

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Carol Smillie on one of health's long-standing taboos © Colin Davey / Getty Carol Smillie on one of health's long-standing taboos Many of us remember her as presenter of hit DIY programme Chaning Rooms, but these days Carol Smillie has turned her hand to one of health's major ongoing taboos: female leakage and incontinence.

It's estimated that up to one in three women have sensitive bladders and experience embarrassing leaks of some kind at some point in their lives – something that Carol is trying to tackle with the creation of Pretty Clever Pants, a concept she has been working on since 2011. 

"Women leak for a multitude of reasons, not all of them periods, but nobody wants to talk about it – and that's really why I started Pretty Clever Pants (PCP). The idea came about when I was on holiday with my two teenage daughters. They were having a conversation about being at someone's house on a sleepover when their period was due, and how they would prevent any embarrassing 'accidents'. I was already looking for something to get my teeth into outside of TV, and this was my lightbulb moment. A quick Google showed me that there was very little in the way of useful products for teenage girls other than traditional disposable sanitary pads and tampons…"

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Now in its sixth year, Carol has shifted the focus of her product – discreet, stylish underwear that uses triple-layer waterproof protection to provide all day comfort and support – to the 40+ market, many of whom suffer from pelvic floor weakness following childbirth.

"One in three women will leak after having children – you carry on for the next 10 years or so and everything is fine and then one day you join a gym, go for a run or do something else that puts a bit of stress on your body and all of a sudden it's 'holey moley what's that?!'. It happened to me when I decided to get on the trampoline with the kids one day. Obviously its fixable and I'm fine now but it was a shocking moment and you don't really want to share it with people – it is embarrassing."

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But why does something so common come as such surprise to so many women? It's all down to the fact that we don't talk about issues like incontinence and leakage, and Carol says that needs to change.

"When I came out of hospital with my kids I was pretty much unaware of [the possibility of leakage]. I remember being told about pelvic floor exercises but beyond that I don't remember anything. It's simply not pushed hard enough when new mother leave hospital –it's all about breastfeeding.

a woman holding a phone © Provided by National magazine company ltd (Hearst UK) "However, another message that needs to be put out there is that this is not a major medical issue if you don't let it become that, so take control. Nobody wants to feel humiliated or incapacitated or medical in any way… I want women to treat our product as you would spanx or a sports bra – they're there to make your life easier and still feel feminine. The whole point of this was that they look pretty, they don't feel crackly, they're washable and extra wide in the gusset so that if you wear a pad or a liner (which we always advise) and use them as a back-up then you needn't ever worry."

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With a new shape of knickers coming out – including lace embellishments and tummy control – and trials of PCP in other countries, it sounds like Carol has a lot on her plate. Does that mean no Changing Rooms reunion anytime soon?

"Changing pants more like! It's really exciting stuff and who knows where it's gonna go. I'm giddy with the opportunity because you think of something but to make it happen is a long hard slog, and the biggest obstacle we've had every step of the way is education. If I had one message to give to women it would be to do your pelvic floor exercises! They're so easy and can be done while you're sitting at the traffic lights, at your desk… it's really not difficult, but you have to put the work in to make it better."

If you are suffering with any of the issues discussed above, seek advice from your GP about the options available.

Related: How to Get Lady Gaga's Back, Julianne Hough's Abs, JLo's Booty, Jennifer Aniston's Arms and More! (Provided by The Insider)

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