WHEN embarrassing bladder troubles stopped rugby-playing mum-of-two Claire Cartwright from taking part in the sport she loved she decided it was time to tackle the problem head on.
Forty-three-year-old Claire had suffered with bladder weakness since being a teenager but the problem worsened with the birth of her two sons and, despite months of pelvic floor exercises, began having more and more impact on her life.
She explained: “It got increasingly worse to the point where I would leak if I coughed, sneezed or made any sudden movement. I would never play with my children outside if it meant running or jumping and would never run for a bus or train.
“I tried several sports including netball, gym and jogging but never stuck at it as I got frustrated with the leakage and the uncomfortable feeling that with every step I was took I could not control my bladder.”
But when Claire, who lives in Solihull with her family, took up rugby with the Silhillians Sirens, she found a hobby she didn’t want to give up and decided that surgery might be the answer to her problem.
She met with Consultant Gynaecologist Mr Gurminder Matharu at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull and after assessment, decided that a TVT procedure would be the most suitable treatment.
“The thought of having to suffer any longer wasn’t an option for me, I wanted it sorted ASAP and surgery was my best option,” said Claire, a senior analyst at an environmental testing laboratory.
Now back in training and looking forward to the start of the rugby season Claire said: “For many years I accepted the problem as something that happened to some women after having children. I felt ashamed and felt it was my fault as I probably hadn’t done enough pelvic floor exercises when I was pregnant.
“I didn’t talk about it with anyone else but now I am sure there are many women out there having exactly the same feelings and I want to tell them there is no need to suffer in silence.
“Yes it is embarrassing but I am sharing my story in the hope that other women will find the courage to talk about it and get help – I only wish I had done it years ago.”
Any women wishing to join the Silhillians Sirens should contact firstname.lastname@example.org