Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA

“Give a woman a fish and feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish and feed her for a lifetime. Teach a woman to cycle and she will realize fishing is stupid and boring.” – Desmond Tutu, South African Cleric 

Outfit Details:
GT Mountain Bike, Helmet, Water BottleGlovesWindbreaker 1, Windbreaker 2Bike Shorts, Athletic Shorts 1, Athletic Shorts 2, Nike Leggings, Bike Shoes, Bike Sunnies, Shell 1, Shell 2

It’s my belief that women at Midlife & Beyond are the Perfect Storm! We are the only demographic in history to have wisdom and life experience, mindfulness and empathy, and health and vitality, all at the same time. But as we age, and experience things like menopause, there are conditions that we may have that can prevent us from living our lives to their fullest, whether they be physical or emotional. What’s wonderful is that women at Midlife & Beyond are secure enough to talk about these issues and help one another find solutions!

Today’s post is dedicated to women around the world dealing with an issue that’s been around forever yet we haven’t found a way to normalize it into our daily conversation: bladder leaks. If there is one thing I’m ALWAYS up for, it’s an opportunity to partner with Procter & Gamble and the Always Discreet team to talk about sensitive issues and show that there’s no stopping a woman intent on Mastering Modern Midlife!

So what’s with the bike?! Well, when the Always Discreet team came to me for a spring partnership, an idea immediately popped into my mind. In a few weeks, I’m turning 58. As I get older, I find myself more adventurous and willing to try new things. I was a long distance runner for most of my life. That was until my knees blew out in my early 40’s. Since that time I’ve been testing out new forms of exercise. My latest adventure is mountain biking. My belief is you’re never too old to try out new things. And, you’re never too old to think young. Age is a state of mind. Aging … not so much. With aging comes all kinds of physiological changes including hormonal fluctuations that can lead to bladder sensitivity and bladder leaks.

Fitness and vitality are so important to healthy aging! I thought about women who may shy away from heading to the fitness center, yoga class, or just enjoying a bike ride because … well, most women wear leggings, lycra or spandex during these activities. If they have bladder leaks, perhaps there’s some worry about how they’d look with bladder control panties on and they likely don’t dare try those activities without them. My goal is to put an end to that worry and show that the Always Discreet design is just that … always discreet!

Did you know that as many as 1 out of every 3 women are dealing with a sensitive bladder? As women cross the 40-year mark, that number jumps to 40 percent! That’s a lot of women! Did you also know that studies show most of these women don’t share this information with their own doctor? Another shocking statistic is that only 1 out of 6 women are using products like Always Discreet that are specifically designed for bladder leaks. The remaining women are using products designed for period protection and are unhappy with the results. Of course, they are!! The latest in bladder leak protection is vastly different from absorbent pads for period protection. The Always Discreet pads have a super absorbent core that transforms liquid into a gel making the experience much more pleasant. They’re designed with the woman who’s wearing them in mind. They’re not only light and comfortable but aesthetically pleasing as well. They can be purchased on Walmartright here.

As I’ve shared in my prior posts (here and here), bladder leaks aren’t something I deal with today although I did face that issue when I had my children almost 3 decades ago. Sensitive bladder and bladder leaks are due to physiological changes and hormonal fluctuations which are a normal part of life! The truth is that more than 40 million American women of all ages experience bladder leaks. That’s an overwhelming number of women of which the majority are staying silent about the issue. I was delighted to read a recent blog post from a young mother I deeply admire, Aicha of Tales and Turbans. She’s one of the few young women brave enough to share her recent postpartum experience including the need for bladder leak underwear. Aicha recently had her second child in her 20’s. In her post, she shares: “You will probably have accidents, which makes you feel like you’re back in middle school. So make sure you stock up on granny panties, adult underwear, and even diapers because I definitely had some close calls (I put a towel down everywhere I sat or lay down because I was afraid to make a mess).” Bravo, Aicha!

If enough of us take this conversation out in the open, we can erase the taboo together. We can also let women know the latest designs by Always Discreet are far from “granny panties” or traditional adult diapers. The new technology is not only highly effective for bladder leaks, but the innovative designs are also lightweight and pretty, allowing a woman to feel like a woman no matter what’s happening with her physiology.  Products like Always Discreet make it easier than ever before to continue your daily activities without anyone knowing you’re wearing special underwear for bladder leaks. And, they’re for any age! Whether you’re in your 20’s with your first child or in your 60’s dealing with bladder leaks due to aging.

There’s a current perception that wearing bladder leak underwear isn’t cool. Says who?! I say being cool is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with age or your undies. I decided to blow that perception out of the water. Why not take Always Discreet with me while I’m doing some off-road mountain biking? If you think about it, mountain bikers wear padded bike shorts. Could you really tell the difference if I was wearing padded bike shorts or short shorts with Always Discreet underneath? The only way to be sure was to take them out on the road and do a test run.

I decided to hit the road and head south to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. There are all kinds of wonderful vistas to mountain bike in the South Bay. I had heard about some single track trails hidden away and truth be told, I was a little hesitant to try them out. A few weeks ago to celebrate my upcoming 58th birthday, I headed to Dick’s Sporting Goods to purchase a fierce and fabulous mountain bike. As luck would have it, the awesome Gary Turner Laguna Pro model in my favorite colors was on sale for 30% off! My top pick combined both form and function. In other words, it’s not only badass in its technology, but it also happened to fulfill my personal aesthetic requirements. You will not find a better value on an entry level/intermediate mountain bike! I love this bike! I picked up a protective helmet, water bottle, and ordered some biking gloves by Pearl Izumi online. The piece de resistance was a fabulous find at REI, a neon green windbreaker from Pearl Izumi. If I was going to reinvent myself as a badass biker, I had to look the part!  These things would come in handy as this time, I was headed off-road to put Always Discreet to the ultimate test of form and function!

I began by slipping on a pair of compression shorts by Pearl Izumi. They have a healthy dose of padding in the tush. Adding a biking shell, I strapped on my bike shoes and a pair of Terminator-style bike shades and hoped I looked Fierce! I hopped on my bike and hit the trails. Temperatures started climbing and the sweat quickly began to pour. Mountain biking is a new experience for me. It’s also fierce and empowering. This particular trail was in the woods on a steep slope. It was rugged, jagged, and hilly terrain. It was also surrounded by some of the most beautiful wildflowers from this season’s spectacular Superbloom. The perfect backdrop: Fierce & Feminine! Mountain biking is definitely not for sissies. Neither is menopause! I find as I get older, I definitely get fiercer and more fearless. The bike path was not only dusty and covered in brush and wildflowers, but it also had its share of puddles from the recent rains which CGO met head-on in a couple of spills. If you don’t like to get muddy, stick to the roads!

It was time to transition into a pair of lycra shorts by Lululemon with the Always Discreet underwear beneath. Now, you probably don’t think about wearing a pair of short shorts with padded underwear but I was on a mission to dispel a myth. I have to admit that even I was surprised by the result. I bet you can’t tell the difference as I sure couldn’t! In all honesty, the Always panties felt lighter and more comfortable than the bulkier padding of the cushioned bike shorts. The panties are designed with the woman who’s wearing them in mind. They make a woman feel beautiful regardless of her physiological issues.

The Always Team did extensive research by talking to women with sensitive bladders. What they found is shocking and you can learn more here. One out of three women say that bladder leaks affect their ability to travel, visit friends, or exercise. Women tend to shy away from activities where they could experience bladder leaks. Exercise is definitely one of those activities. But take it from CGO … not anymore! Exercise is one of the most important activities for our health and wellbeing, especially as we get older. And a bike is one of the best fitness machines ever invented. There’s no reason to sacrifice working out when there are products like Always Discreet readily available. With the latest advancements in technology and design, the Always panties are barely detectable under the clingiest lycra and shortest bike shorts. You may not want to take the pounding and thrills of off-road mountain biking, but I’m here to let you know that if you want to … you can!

I’ve found that you can wear Always Discreet under absolutely anything and no one will be able to tell. I’ve worn them with bike shorts, yoga leggings, and leather pants with no issues at all! As women, we must not let normal physiological changes like bladder leaks and bladder sensitivity stop us from living life. In the end, it’s up to us…it’s our choice. To bust taboos and erase stigmas, we must band together in a collective voice. Empathy requires vulnerability. Vulnerability requires courage. Sensitive issues deserve sensitive conversations. I’m ready for the conversation. Will you join me?

My philosophy is simple. You can be Always Discreet and be Always Fierce! Get on your bikes and ride!

A great big THANK YOU to P&G for sponsoring this post and to purchase Always Discreet at Walmart, click here!

28 comments

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Hi Catherine:
I’m a male diagnosed with weak pelvic muscles and I have urinary leakage.
I have to keep an active lifestyle and then I have to wear always discreet boutique too.
For me it was so hard to accept wearing women’s protective underwear.
They look so feminine for me but they’re very discreet and absorbent.
Urinary leaks and bad odours are more embarrassing.
Now I wear always discreet boutique instead of my regular underwear.

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Thank you for sharing. I would imagine it’s difficult to talk about in our culture as a man. I appreciate your courage in vulnerability. Grateful you have a product that works.

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This is a great piece Catherine–bladder leakage after having children and especially post-menopause is a REAL issue for so many of us! There are not many great options out there to help with this issue except for some very expensive radio frequency treatments and lasers. Unfortunately, they are not covered by insurance and not affordable for most. Always discreet pads are really great…I actually wear them every time I exercise 🙂

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Thank you so much for sharing. I should introduce you to the Always team! Let me know and I’ll make that happen.

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When I hit 50 I put on 12 pounds. Which, for my size (5’2″ normal weight 95 lbs) was a ton. Everything below the waist went dry as the Sahara. I’ve always had chronic bladder infections now they’re worse. Plus occasional leakage. A lot of midlife is awesome. Some of it, not so much. The thought of wearing padded underwear, I’ll be honest as always, makes me want to jump off the ledge. But, I’m sure they’re in my future. Thank you for trying to take some of the stigma away. Aging is not for the faint of heart.

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What an absolutely beautiful comment. Thank you for bringing courage and vulnerability to a sensitive conversation. I understand the weight gain. I also experienced that last year as I hit menopause. I gain weight easily now…much more easily than I ever have. And I hear you on the padded underwear if you haven’t tried them. They’re actually quite lovely in my experience.

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Have you ever tried Vagifem? Inserts that have a very concentrated amount of Estrogen and safer than regular hormonal replacement therapy, which is taken orally and has more side effects. It relieves the dryness and helps with the bladder infections as well. Also, there are medications for bladder leakage that are pretty good. I eventually had surgery, which helped, but I still take medication. None of this stuff is fun, but there are things that can make a difference.

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Thank you for sharing, Lisa. Are they over the counter?

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Oh my goodness! I love mountain biking!! So glad you’ve started, I always feel like I can fly when I’m on my bike!
Catherine, I’ve always loved how real you are. Thank you so much for being an advocate for women and the issues we sometimes face!

Go girl!
Sending hugs!
Serena West
Serena Fine Art

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Of course you can fly!!! You are a hero and inspiration to me.

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What an awesome piece!!! Love how relevant you make it to where we are in life. I am someone who completely understands what leakage is like and it’s not fun. The more we talk about these issues, the more comfortable we become as women, and as a society. Xx

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Thank you for joining the conversation and sharing your experience. I do believe it’s time we break taboos together!

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Great post Catherine!
Although I currently have no issue with bladder leaks , it’s good to know that there is a product that obviously works so well and is effective should I ever have a concern! I’m sure that it will help many women and I see no reason to ever feel embarrassed about it!
Mary-Anne Cribbs

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Thank you, sister. I appreciate you sharing your experience. I know many women will face this issue at some point in time and I hope to play a role in making them feel as comfortable as possible and as educated as I can on the topic.

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Great message Catherine. I love how you combine life and lifestyle in one package that affects everyone. Keep the coming

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You are absolutely wonderful. Thank you for joining in an important conversation with many more to come!

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What a great post and photos!! Isn’t it fun to try new things!!

And what a fantastic topic to share. No need to be embarrassed about this, as like you said, so many women suffer from bladder leaks. Great to know there is a wonderful product out there for this!!

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It’s so important to talk about it and approach the subject in a unique and fun way. Why not make it fun and fierce?

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I love this post! and the photos! Ever since I had my kiddos I’ve had a weak bladder and when I have to go, I have to go. I haven’t tried Always Discreet because I think I’ve not wanted to admit that it may be time for some extra protection but you’re post has convinced me to give them a try! Thanks for sharing and for demonstrating that a little bladder leak doesn’t have to stop you from having a full active life!

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What a beautiful and vulnerable share. I would expect nothing less from the ultimate Midlife Rebel! Thank you for your open and honest words. Please keep me posted if you do give Always a try.

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Thanks for always sharing educational, illuminating information. Your prose is always so sincere, honest. Will be certain to share with my network of gal pals. XO

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I greatly appreciate you!!!

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Great post Catherine! Many women of all ages especially women in mid life deal with bladder leaks that can be caused by natural changes in our bodies, UTI’s , over active bladder, Interstitial Cystitis and more. It’s so helpful to know we are not alone and there are solutions to this issue. Life is to be enjoyed and we should not let bladder leaks hold us back! Thanks for sharing this important information!

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I know this is a big and deeply personal issue for you. Having had my first UTI in years, I remembered just how debilitating and painful it is. It’s so important to bring these conversations out in the open.

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Great post, Catherine! I don’t have this problem yet but it’s nice to know there is something out there. I do a lot of yoga so it’s nice you could wear these and no one would know. Love all your pretty pictures too!

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Yes, one I’m wearing them and one is bike shorts. I definitely couldn’t tell the difference. So nice to realize we have the power to break taboo simply by having a conversation.

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Great post Catherine. I am a cyclist and I love to work out. I will be honest. I have had times while on the treadmill after work and a little pee pee slips out and I have to run to the bathroom to let it “all out” so that it doesn’t happen again. It is so frustrating. Luckily, it does not happen too often but it does from time to time. I am going to check out these Discreet pads for those times when I cannot take a chance. I love these photos!!! So good 🙂

Cheers,
Karen ~ Wear With Passion xo

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You are always so delightfully refreshing in your candor sister. Thank you for sharing as I think many of us can relate to that experience.

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