Aging, Menopause


Many years ago, ladies carried pretty handkerchiefs like these.

And just a few years ago, I heard a not-so-pretty revelation at a women only dinner party.  Six ladies all fessed up to the same problem:  When they sneezed, sometimes they leaked!

So I fessed up too.

The first time this sneezing and leaking happened to me, I was shocked.  Mortified.   Horrified.


Kegels.  That’s what the websites told me to do.

So I did kegels… for a while.  But doing kegels gets old, just like ironing handkerchiefs must have gotten old since not many women carry hankies anymore.

Then I had a false alarm with pelvic floor prolapse.  Yikes!  More research informed me that kegels are key to maintaining pelvic floor stability.

So I started doing kegels again.  Lots of them.  Kegels, kegels, kegels…

And now I sneeze with confidence.

Give kegels a try!


Any other kegel stories out there?  Do fess up.

More About Kegels:  Many medical websites provide info on kegels.  Here’s a how-to guide from the Mayo Clinic.  Of course, check with your doctor whenever you have a medical concern.

Photo:  The handkerchiefs above belonged to my mom and my mother-in-law.  Google “antique” or” vintage handkerchiefs” to see more hankies of yesteryear such as these on the site of Sharon’s Antiques.

P.S.  Sorry about the creases.  I should have gotten out the iron…

28 thoughts on “ACHOO!”

  1. Every year for Christmas I bought my Grandmother a new set of handkerchiefs. Always white. My Grandmother probably didn’t know what kegels were, and if she did would not speak of them. She was a lady who didn’t have lady parts. hehe.

    My Mom, however, told me she leaks. I talked to her about the kegels and she said she felt very weird doing them and that she would blush as she did. She also said she would never do them around anyone because she thought they would know what she was doing.

    Back to handkerchiefs. I’ve always wanted to buy some because they are so dainty and feminine. I, however, am not. One day. 🙂


    1. Your mom is cute! And in honor of your grandmother, go buy yourself some pretty handkerchiefs (although a friend told me that they are very hard to find nowadays.)


  2. So reminded me of a quote i read this morning:

    Friendship is that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis


  3. kegels as you are driving in the car works great! i had no warning of this menopausal condition. of all the issues of menopause this one makes me feel the oldest!
    your hankies are beautiful. i must say, though, i am glad we don’t use them anymore. yeah for kleenex. but they sure are dainty and pretty.
    p.s. tmi for your one male reader…cliff?????!!!!!!


    1. Nah, men can and do kegels too. I brought the best of Mom’s hankies back when I cleaned out her apartment. I don’t remember her ever using them. Perhaps she used them only when she was dressed up.


    2. Car is good! So are movies, church, meetings, plane rides, grocery lines. One of the sites I consulted said to do them when you are walking too, which always seems harder to me.

      It would be cool to have some male readers and get some more male input! Let’s spread the word.


  4. My husband still carries a handkerchief when wearing a suit. I appreciate so much at weddings and funerals. Wonder if my sons carry on that tradition.


      1. My dad carried a handkerchief every single day, and he was a doctor, so they can’t be that gross. I only remember this because I always used to get to iron them for him when I was little, which I loved 🙂 (Unfortunately I grew out of my fondness for ironing)


  5. I’m so glad you didn’t iron those handkerchiefs. I used to iron mine and all my linen napkins (sometimes I still do when I’m working over a problem in a story I’m writing) but usually I just take them off the clothes line and fold them up. And that works just fine.
    I was reading Sandy’s comment (just above mine) and remembered an elderly uncle who was a traveling salesman. He carried one handkerchief for show (in his breast pocket) and one to use. At night, when he got back to his hotel, he would wash out the one he’d used with shampoo and smooth it up onto the bathroom mirror to dry. The next morning, it had dried and looked as if it had been starched and ironed. I’ve astonished visiting grandchildren with this old-fashioned piece of practical wisdom.


    1. What a wonderful story about your uncle. Wow. Who would guess that would work.

      I learned to iron by ironing my dad’s handkerchiefs. I loved how they were square and you could iron them flat, fold and iron. and I guess fold and iron one more time or maybe two more times? Good memories. I can still smell that steam on the cotton.


    1. I remember reading years ago that when doctors first started telling women to do kegels for incontinence issues, the women would return saying they helped their romantic lives too. I’m not surprised the kegels did so, but I am surprised the women were willing to tell that to their almost always male doctors!


  6. Do you think they would help for activities besides sneezing? I cannot go to an exercise class (I love Zumba classes) without leaking. Even if I use the restroom right before the class starts. It is so frustrating!


    1. Give them a try. While I know I need to be careful about giving medical advice, from everything I’ve read, they are the first line of defense with this problem. Read the websites and make sure you are doing them correctly and enough. Good luck!


  7. I remember doing kegels everyday when I was pregnant..
    It does get old fast, it’s not so exciting.. but it helped me when I decided to associate it with an activity. Like when I was working, I would do kegels when I was making copies or answering emails 😉 It is pretty amazing, it’s just like working out, you can do so many more after a while.


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