“I've had an issue with stress urinary incontinence since my first child was born 18 years ago,” Beador tells PEOPLE
Shannon Beador has never shied away from talking about her personal life — in fact, she’s made a career out of opening up about topics some might deem taboo, including weight gain, infidelity and divorce. Now, she’s adding bladder incontinence (defined as a loss of bladder control) to the list.
After giving birth to three kids and going through menopause, the Real Housewives of Orange County star, 55, admits her pelvic floor was weakened.
“I’ve had an issue with stress urinary incontinence since my first child was born 18 years ago,” Beador tells PEOPLE. “I have a good one incident a week. You laugh about it after but when it’s happening it’s not so funny.”
“I’ve just been masking it for 18 years trying to figure out how to navigate through,” the reality star says. For Beador, certain exercises like jogging will trigger leakage. “It’s progressively gotten worse because of childbirth and now I’m in menopause. Your muscles weaken as you age so your pelvic floor is going to weaken too.”
Beador partnered with INNOVO — which helps treat bladder incontinence by “strengthening and retraining the pelvic floor muscles through pain-free muscle stimulation,” according to a press release — to promote their noninvasive solution.
“I’m just so excited to let people know it’s okay to talk about but this and that there finally is something out there that actually cures the problem,” the mom of three tells PEOPLE. “You put a pair of shorts on and you wear them for 30 minutes a day, five days a week for three months … It’s really simple and easy.”
Beador says talking about the problem helped friends and family open up about the uncomfortable subject matter: “The conversation turns into, ‘Oh that happened to you too?’ … So then it’s like we’re a little sorority of stress urinary incontinence gals.”
RELATED VIDEO: ‘RHOC’: Shannon Beador Rushes to the ER After Kelly Dodd Hits Her on the Head with Mallet
Along with weak public floor muscles, a leaky bladder can be caused by a Urinary Tract Infection, diuretic medications, caffeine and alcohol consumption, constipation or neuromuscular problems, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Suggested treatment options include losing weight, managing fluid intake and learning to control the urge to empty the bladder by increasing the time span between urinations.