A fitness instructor has shared a candid account of her struggles with bladder weakness despite only being in her 40s.

When Gemma Cooke, from Bristol, first had a ‘little accident’ while exercising on a trampoline, she was shocked.

Enjoying an active lifestyle and in great physical shape thanks to her job, the 45-year-old never expected to suffer incontinence at such a young age.

Unfortunately, such incidents kept occurring on a weekly basis – including when she was teaching classes or even sneezing leaving Gemma at a loss for what to do.

She would limit her water intake over fears drinking too much would cause another incident, and wore a pad to avoid embarrassment.

When Gemma Cooke, 45, from Bristol, first had a 'little accident' while exercising on a trampoline, she was shocked

When Gemma Cooke, 45, from Bristol, first had a ‘little accident’ while exercising on a trampoline, she was shocked

Enjoying an active lifestyle and in great physical shape thanks to her job as a fitness instructor, she never expected to suffer incontinence problems at such a young age

Enjoying an active lifestyle and in great physical shape thanks to her job as a fitness instructor, she never expected to suffer incontinence problems at such a young age

‘I was noticing when I was on the mini trampoline that, if I bounced in the evening, I was having a little bit of an accident there,’ said Gemma, who runs The Bounce Fit Method rebounding fitness classes in Bristol.

‘Also other things, like if I’d sneeze sometimes or even if I tripped.

‘I just wanted to nip that in the bud before I got older [or] it got any worse.

‘I haven’t had any kids or anything, so I just knew that it was something I needed to sort out.

‘I would worry that I was drinking too much water throughout the day, and I was then going to have an accident on the rebounder in front of everybody.

‘It did kind of knock my confidence.’

What is urinary incontinence? 

Urinary incontinence is the unintentional passing of urine. 

It’s a common problem thought to affect millions of people.

The NHS advises seeing a GP to discuss ways of managing the problem.

Pregnancy, obesity and ageing increase the risk of urinary incontinence.

Treatments including losing weight and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol.

Pelvic floor exercises are also advised to strengthen the muscles around the bladder.

Surgery may also be recommended to reduce pressure on the bladder.

Gemma took various measures to limit potentially embarrassing outcomes, including buying ‘all the devices under the sun’ aimed at incontinence – but says nothing worked.

She said: ‘I just found them [these methods] a bit time-consuming.

‘I wanted something that I knew I could go somewhere and get some treatment where I had some professional advice from somebody as well.’

At her wits’ end, she decided to give one more product a try and it had a powerful effect.

The fitness instructor was walking past Bodyset physiotherapy clinic in Bristol when she spotted a PelviPower chair, which is designed to strengthen pelvic muscles.

The device works by sending repetitive and pain-free magnetic impulses to strengthen and stimulate the pelvic floor and surrounding muscular system.

The brand estimates that one minute spent on the chair is the equivalent of 25,000 pelvic floor exercises.

Eager to see if this would help, Gemma booked to see a women’s health specialist via Bodyset – which is home to a network of more than 30 private clinics across the UK – amid a feeling the treatment was ‘too good to be true’.

She said: ‘I just thought it was a really good thing to do.

‘My first appointment was a women’s health specialist physio appointment and I didn’t really know what to expect.

‘I went straight onto the PelviPower afterwards and just felt really, really good.

‘I felt good because I knew that I was making steps to get it sorted.

‘It was not painful, not in the slightest.’

Unfortunately, these incidents kept occurring on a weekly basis – including while she was teaching classes or just when sneezing, leaving Gemma at a loss for what to do

Unfortunately, these incidents kept occurring on a weekly basis – including while she was teaching classes or just when sneezing, leaving Gemma at a loss for what to do

She would even limit her water intake, worrying that this would cause another incident and wore a pad to avoid embarrassment

She would even limit her water intake, worrying that this would cause another incident and wore a pad to avoid embarrassment

'I was noticing when I was on the mini trampoline that, if I bounced in the evening, I was having a little bit of an accident there,' said Gemma, who runs The Bounce Fit Method rebounding fitness classes in Bristol

‘I was noticing when I was on the mini trampoline that, if I bounced in the evening, I was having a little bit of an accident there,’ said Gemma, who runs The Bounce Fit Method rebounding fitness classes in Bristol

The fitness buff detected ‘massive improvements’ after just a few sessions.

She said: ‘It took probably five or six sessions to notice it.

‘I was on my rebounder and I taught a class in the evening, and had had a lot of water throughout that day.

‘Where normally I would have some leakage, there was nothing, it was absolutely fine.’

She has since had 10 sessions and has noticed a massive improvement – rarely having accidents since, and only then when she has had a lot of water.

More recently, Gemma went for a hike in the mountains and, despite stumbling a few times, she had no issues with incontinence – something she describes as ‘amazing’.

Having often felt embarrassed by the issue throughout her experience, she is now advising other women to speak up.

She added: ‘What I would say to women that are suffering in silence is, it can be sorted.

‘Get yourself to Bodyset, book yourself in with a women’s health physio and then get on the PelviPower, and get some sessions booked in – because you’ll just feel so much more confident.’

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