* Prices may differ from that shown
I first heard of stress incontinence when I was in my early twenties. My place of work had invited in staff from a Well Woman Clinic to speak to female members of staff about specifically female health issues.
We were told about the importance of pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. As a young woman I found the idea of suddenly losing bladder control to be ridiculous - it was the sort of thing that would never happen to me - the kind of thing you say when you are young and invincible - but I did take on board the concept of pelvic floor exercises and started to do them regularly.
Ten years later I experienced stress incontinence for the very first time and I finally understood how upsetting and distressing this condition can be.
I was returning from registering my daughter's birth with my husband when all of a sudden I completely lost control of my bladder. We were walking down a busy high street when it happened and I knew it was something that is fairly commonplace after giving birth, but I was mortified - even though I don't think anyone actually noticed but me.
This is the only time in my lifetime when I have completely lost control of my bladder without any other incident, and as I had only given birth a week before I wasn't too concerned once I had cleaned up and got over my blushes. At the age of 32 I still felt pretty invincible and I just reminded myself of the importance of pelvic floor exercises and carried on regardless.
However I think that incident marked a turning point for me - and stress incontinence became a factor in my life when I had a cold - coughing and sneezing could trigger slight loss of control and while this lack of bladder control was nothing like as dramatic as what had happened just after my daughter's birth, it was still quite embarrassing.
Back then, there was still a lot of sniggering at "incontinence pads" - perhaps because people rarely saw them in stores. People didn't talk about stress incontinence much and when they did it was in whispers. It seemed, to be frank, that wetting yourself was one of the last taboos.
~~Enter Tena Lady~~
It's funny how brand names creep up on you and how a product can somehow make a problem somehow seem less of a big deal.
I remember the first time I saw Tena Lady products launch although I can't remember when. What I do recall was an aggressive advertising campaign which saw free samples included in womens' magazines and television advertising.
Tena decided to approach an embarrassing problem head on and as a result instead of having to sidle up to the pharmacist to ask for the embarrassingly titled "incontinence pads", you could just pick up a packet of Tena Lady and chuck it in your basket at the supermarket.
Having long got over the embarrassment I felt as a young teenager about buying sanitary products, I felt no shame in picking up a similarly styled pack of Tena Lady for inopportune moments.
Supermarkets have followed with their own brand products, and the ubiquitous Always brand of sanitary protection have entered the market but it is to Tena's credit that for most women of a certain age they are most likely to think of the brand name Tena Lady if they require something to protect them from stress incontinence.
The Tena Lady range goes from the Mini Magic and Ultra Mini pantyliner range up to the Maxi range which is a product better for those who suffer complete loss of bladder control - and probably would be advisable for new mothers too. The range also includes disposable pants and a selection of products for men. When I have a bad cough to contend with my pad of choice is Tena Lady Normal however.
In the days when it was still taboo to discuss incontinence in adults, there was a myth which seemed to suggest incontinence pads were similar in style to nappies - upping the embarrassment factor further in those who were afflicted and also upping the hilarity factor amongst those who felt they would never be thus afflicted.
Of course technology is what has made it possible for women to wear pads which are similar in both size and style to a regular sanitary towel - certainly any woman over the age of 40 will remember how thick sanitary towels were in the 70s and 80s in comparison to the wafer thin towels on offer today.
This is due to the development of absorbent granules used in the production of these products and materials which draw the moisture away from the outer layer into what is frequently called a "lock away core", which makes wearing these products far more comfortable than those from the past.
Tena Lady Normal comes packaged in an outer wrapper and looks like most sanitary towels although it is certainly thicker than a product such as Always Ultra. The product doesn't have wings but is self adhesive is designed to fit comfortably next to the female form.
A couple of weeks ago I got the start of the very bad bronchial infection, meaning I was coughing and sneezing with alarming regularity.
As previously mentioned, a side effect of all this coughing and spluttering was loss of bladder control. I have experienced this for some time now but as I get older, it seems to be getting progressively worse. As a result, I have Tena Lady pads in the house for this eventuality.
I have to say that you cannot compare wearing a Tena Lady Normal pad to a wafer thin Always Ultra sanitary towel - I find the Tena Lady pads are significantly thicker and whilst they are discreet, you are more aware of them being there.
The adhesive is decent enough - it's not the strongest I have encountered in feminine hygiene products but it keeps the pad in place.
The Tena Lady Normal pad is designed for occasional bladder leakage so they are ideal if coughing has an unexpected side effect. They are certainly far more effective at absorbing urine than a regular sanitary towel and I find them more comfortable too - in my experience sanitary towels struggle to absorb urine as effectively and as a result feel rather unpleasant next to the skin.
Another reason I far prefer to wear a Tena Lady pad as opposed to an ordinary sanitary towel is I feel the Tena Lady product is better designed to help disguise any odours. Currently Tena Lady Normal products feature a "Fresh Odour Control" feature which definitely minimises any embarrassing smells. Obviously you do need to change the pads fairly regularly too in order to keep odours to a minimum but I do feel Tena have designed their product with a great deal of thought.
Disposal is straightforward - these are not to be flushed down the toilet but should be wrapped in either some tissue or the plastic outer cover it came in and disposed in the bin. I personally don't feel the need to wrap them up in a plastic bag before putting them in the bin as they don't give off the same sort of aroma you get on a baby's nappy in my experience. If you were using a more substantial Tena product you may feel differently however.
I appreciate some younger people reading this will probably be horrified at the mere suggestion of loss of bladder control, however it really is a staggeringly common condition and it affects people across the age spectrum.
Tena have a range of products to cater for almost every degree of incontinence and it is to their credit that they have managed to break down the taboo that purchasing such products had in the past. Knowing that something which is discreet and effective is easily available to pick up in the supermarket takes away the possibility of getting red faced and tongue tied discussing your problem at the pharmacy.
I can only hope that continued pelvic floor exercises will mean my problem remains related to coughing, sneezing or laughing for the foreseeable future, but it is reassuring to know that there are solutions easily available to purchase to help me get over my "embarrassing problem" as discreetly and effectively as possible.
TENA Lady Normal Duo Pack 2 x 12 Towels is created by Tena / TENA Lady Normal Duo Pack 2 x 12 Towels is a very popular product / You can now buy TENA Lady Normal Duo Pack 2 x 12 Towels from us / TENA Lady Normal Duo Pack 2 x 12 Towels has been well received since its launch by Tena.