Sheryl Underwood recently teamed up with Depend in an effort to help people struggling with incontinence. The comedienne and Talk co-host can relate: she has suffered from bladder leakage for over a decade. She shared her story with ESSENCE.com.
In my 30’s I had fibroids. There are old wives tales that every one tells you. Drink corn water, it will shrink the fibroid. Stop eating this, stop eating that, it will shrink the fibroid. It wasn’t happening for me. Embolization was not going to work for me and I had been on medication to put me through menopause and that wasn’t working either. I had three really big fibroids. They were between a pool ball and a grapefruit. Then I had 12 clusters. My uterus was exploding.
My doctor, a Kappa brother, said, ‘Okay. I am going to reconstruct your uterus and clean it out. This is the time for you to have a baby.’ Well, I wasn’t in a relationship with a man who wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and wanted to have a baby with me and that was just not what was a good fit for me at that time. When my fibroids came back in my 40’s I had to decide what I was going to do. Partial hysterectomy was on the table for me. Once I had a partial hysterectomy, my bladder dropped and that was when I started suffering from bladder leakage.
Here I am a hot, young comic making movies. I got Beauty Shop, hosting Comic View. I’m touring all over the country. I’m doing big things. When you’re a female doing stand-up comedy, you’ve got to be as secure and confident as the fellas.
Here I was taping Laughapalooza doing political humor; campaigning for President Obama. And my bladder is leaking. I’m still dating. My husband died when I was in my 20’s so I am still dating. I live in Los Angeles so I am on the freeway. I got a nice Bentley convertible with the mustard seats and I am not going to mess up my mustard seats. My bladder is leaking.
I knew I had to find a solution. I wanted a garment that matched my personality; that matched my swag. That’s when I started wearing Depend. It sounds crazy because it’s something we associate with older people. I wasn’t going to run from this. Most people would feel a kind of concern, especially African-American women. You’re at church, getting your praise on. You don’t want to have to worry. Most people would be ashamed. I’m not because this is now a regular part of my life.
How did I get through this? First, I was prayed up. I knew that God had something bigger and better for me in my life. Second, I had a great father that always taught me that I was fine; I was cute. So I was confident within myself.
I let the world know I could manage this.
Join Sheryl in the Underwareness initiative, a social movement and charitable cause. For every photo or video shared on social media using #Underwareness or #DropYourPants, Depend will donate $1 to charity.
As told to Yolanda Sangweni