TV presenter Nadia Sawalha has made frank confessions about her struggles with incontinence as she launches a new awareness campaign, even revealing she once wet herself moments before appearing live on TV.
The 54-year-old former EastEnders actor said her bladder problems began after the birth of her children in 2002 and 2007.
Her problems came to a head when she had an accident during a Loose Women taping that was visible to the audience, she told the Daily Mirror.
Read more: Sawalha says she feels like a bad mum
She said: “A crew member went head over heels backstage, I burst out laughing and just gushed.
‘I was wearing gold trousers and everyone on the front row saw.
“When we went on air, the girls said: ‘Nadia wet herself!’”
Sawalha is now fronting the ‘Let’s Pee Honest’ campaign, which seeks to smash the stigma around bladder weakness.
She described the problem of incontinence as “insidious” and said she would wear pads in situations where she knew she’d be at risk.
“In the end I stopped running because I’d be looking for a loo every five minutes,” she added.
“I’d only wear dark colours on my bottom half if I was doing Loose Women.
“I’d think: ‘What if I have a big laugh on the show and have a trickle?’”
After speaking up about her own struggles, Sawalha is now urging other women to talk with more honesty about bladder weakness.
She said: “We need to get to the same place we’re at with the menopause, and be able to talk openly about it.
“You don’t have to accept bladder weakness for the rest of your life.”
Read more: Sawalha accidentally calls Coleen Nolan fat
Sawalha rose to fame as criminal Annie Palmer in EastEnders, appearing on the show between 1997 and 1999.
The star was one of the original hosts of Loose Women in 1999, but left the show in 2002 in order to have her first child.
She returned as a regular panellist in 2013.