Picture it: you’re at the beach wearing your cutest bathingsuit when your pollen-sensitive sniffer catches wind of something that makes you erupt in sneezes that come out in such quick succession and with such force it’s shocking they aren’t little ninja throwing stars. One sneeze, you can manage. But three? Four? Crossing your legs — even if your reaction time is stellar — may not be enough to stop your bladder from betraying you.
I’ve been pretty frank about my occasional bladder leakage. Because — hello! — it’s normal for a woman who’s birthed two rather large babies (and who frequently finds herself doubled-over in deep belly laughs) to pee her pants a little every now and then. THIS IS NOT EMBARRASSING. It’s just a fact of life.
However, it’s not enough of a problem for me (yet) that I need much more than an occasional Poise Pad in a given week. So when a new product, called Impressa, became available in Canada recently, I knew I wasn’t the right person to test it. I enlisted someone who wears a Poise Pad every day, and who admitted to me over the holidays that she had to “upgrade” to Depend Silhouette Active Fit briefs whenever she has a bad cough — lest she need to change her underwear and pants multiple times a day.
Because Impressa is completely different than anything you’ve ever used for bladder leakage. It’s internal, rather than external like a pad. It’s like a tampon in the way it’s inserted, but its special design means that it stops leaks before they happen. Outside of the casing, which is used to help insert Impressa with ease, the product itself looks like two white cotton pyramids stacked on top of each other.
Make no mistake: Impressa is NOT absorbing your leaks. It’s supporting your urethra to prevent them altogether. (So don’t go thinking you can double dip and use this as a tampon, too, if you have your period. In fact, to be clear: please don’t.)
You can get Impressa over-the-counter at your pharmacy or grocery store. No need to ask the pharmacist for help! (Bonus: the box looks more like tampons than anything else, so if you’re still feeling a bit shy about your bladder leakage, this should help you stay under the radar.)
The first thing you need to do is figure out your size. Impressa offers three sizes, and it may take some trial and error to determine which fits your personal needs best. My tester received a multi-pack — which contained sizes one through three, good for light through medium and high support — and after a few days she figured out that she wears a size two. She assures me that “you’ll know” when you’ve found the right size.
The next thing you need to know is that you can wear a single Impressa support, which goes into your vagina like a tampon, for up to eight hours. If you’re concerned about toxic shock syndrome (TSS), you’ll be glad to hear that there’s currently no association between TSS and the use of Impressa; the risk is considered to be no greater than it is for other non-absorbent vaginal devices.
Once inserted, Impressa lifts and supports the urethra. And it’s this added support that helps prevent urine from leaking. But you can totally still go pee! When YOU choose; not when your body chooses for you. Impressa supports but doesn’t block your urethra, so feel free to go potty as you normally would.
You might be wondering: can I wear Impressa every day? Yes. Absolutely. You can use Impressa bladder supports as much as you can afford to. At around $15.99-18.99 per 10-pack, though, many of you will probably find yourself “saving” Impressa for special occasions.
My tester said that when she considered the cost, she would choose Impressa over a pad for swimming as well as dressier events. Hands down. Because there’s no comparison. They’re more comfortable than pads in her experience. And you’d never choose a pad for swimming anyway! Most impressively, she found the supports just as effective as Depend briefs — but without any of the extra bulk that comes with all that extra protection (even if the Active Fit is super thin).
Beach days will never be the same…
DISCLAIMER: I was compensated for this post, as was my tester (because, come on — I told her she had to put something in her vagina! Several times!); but as always, all opinions about the product are our own.