Luce Brett: 'We’ve got to de-stigmatise incontinence for everyone'
On Thursday 16th July, journalist and author Luce Brett will join pelvic floor physiotherapist and comedian Elaine Miller to tackle a final women's health taboo: incontinence. We asked Luce why she chose to speak up and what to expect on the day
“Incontinence is completely everyday and normal to the point of almost being boring – and yet it’s this huge taboo.”
Luce Brett became incontinent at the age of 30 after the birth of her first son. Having worked in media regulation and journalism for years, she had always written, but when she wrote about her experiences with incontinence in her blog she realised she was far from alone.
“Suddenly, people I’d never spoken to before began emailing and messaging me with their own stories saying things like ‘I’ve never told anyone this happened…’ sometimes about things they began experiencing 30, 40 years ago.
“The more I found out and the more I spoke to experts in the field, the more cross and upset I felt.
“I realised that I had felt completely lonely and desolate about something that isn’t unusual at all.”
"As a society, we're scared of it."
It became clear to Luce that despite being so common – it affects 1 in 3 women at some point in their lives – women struggle to articulate what's happening to them and there's been "no real, proper, kind, sensible, informed discussion about it.”
So Luce decided to write something for women just like her:
“All I really needed was to know that I wasn't the only person messing it up or finding it difficult,” she says.
“So I've written a book so somebody else can feel like they've met someone who has gone through something similar to them, and that they're not on their own.”
The taboo surrounding incontinence also means that women aren’t getting the help they need, she explains:
"People talk about it one-to-one but I feel as a society, we're scared of it.
“A lot of the time, incontinence can be cured – but lots of people don’t think that, so they don’t get any help.
“It’s not just women who have had babies or have gone through menopause either, it’s younger women and those who do high-impact sport. We’ve got to de-stigmatise it for everyone.”
On Thursday 16th
July, Luce will join pelvic floor physiotherapist, Elaine Miller, for plenty of expert advice but also plenty of laughs.
“Elaine is great – she’s an award-winning comedian and a really funny host. It’s going to be interesting and fun, but also more engaging and political than people think.
“That’s quite a good use of your lunchtime isn’t it?”