After winning Celebrity Big Brother, Ulrika Jonsson has used her prominence in the media to bring out into the open one of the final taboos regarding women's health – the problem of incontinence. Having already attracted much attention in the media for her frank discussion of the subject, we caught up with the TV star to find out why she has lent her name to such a surprising health campaign…
"My experience of light adult incontinence is post-pregnancy and the result of having a ten-pound baby. I had a couple of months after Malcolm was born of having a sensitive bladder and leakage after going to the loo. For me it was enough to wear pads and do pelvic floor exercise. But the feeling I had was that nobody's talking about it so it must just be me or this is just a by-product of having a big baby so just shut up and live with it, like women live with so many conditions. You just don't mention it.
"But had this problem persisted or deteriorated, the big question is, would I have gone to a GP without knowing about this campaign… And I'm not convinced I would have done, because I'd not heard mention of this subject and I only brought it up with my friends when I became associated with this campaign - I mentioned it to half a dozen mums and not one had not had experience of it. We were able to giggle about it and that was quite relieving. It was a huge sense of comfort. I was like, bloody hell, I'm 41, why have we not discussed this before?
"But of course I've met through this campaign several women who have had some truly sad experiences of feeling alone, not seeking help and when they do, not feeling that they're heard and they just have to get on with it. Yet it affects their self esteem, their relationships and their sex life. That’s why I've lent my name to the campaign - 70 per cent of people who seek help can be helped. There's that feeling that you're supposed to be in control – but the whole thing about incontinence is that you're not in control. And even I thought it was something you just had to put up with. You don't."
Ulrika is supporting the Sense & Sensitivity campaign, put together by Always Envive and Wellbeing Of Women. You can get more information on help to treat the condition with advice and support from experts at www.alwaysenvive.co.uk