My name is Allison and I was only 29 the first time that I ever experienced involuntary urine leakage. I was an avid runner and in the best shape of my life.
me today at age 36
After my first child was born I decided to start boot camp 3 days a week to get back into shape. During the workout we did a lot of jumping movements. I was stretching after class and I looked down and noticed that BOTH sides of my legs were SOAKING wet! I had just peed all over myself! The worst part, I didn’t even realize it until I was deep into the stretch! Who else had seen me? Who noticed? My heart sank. I stood up, walked away without explaining, and never returned to class.
I thought urine leakage only happened to old or overweight people! I was both young AND in shape when I first experienced it!
Even though I never went back to boot camp, I still worked out, but everything changed for me both physically and emotionally. I did less strenuous activity and almost completely stopped running in fear of leaking urine or eventually suffering from my organs falling out of my vagina and having to have that trans-vaginal mesh surgery we've all seen the class action lawsuits for on TV. I started to gain weight.
me the day before 11.004lb. baby was born
A few short years later, I gave birth to a very healthy and beautiful 11.004 lb. baby! The urine leakage became almost debilitating. It began toward the end of my pregnancy and progressed from there. I was in my early 30’s and ultra depressed about what was happening to my body. I stayed up late into the night for months trying to understand what in the world was going on with me. I poured over how I might fix this issue I was facing. Intimacy with my husband changed, and so did I.
I started to research urine leakage to see what solutions were available. In this search, I tried just about everything I could think of including physical therapy. I learned that there are basically no favorable options available for women like myself, especially over the counter! I also learned that leakage affects ONE in THREE of us globally.
With this new information, I knew this was super important to a HUGE number of women and that's when I really started working to develop Yōni.Fit. I will never forget the first time I spoke to a Dr. about this new idea I had. I was so incredibly nervous! Once they validated the concept, I filed for a utility patent in 2015.
I knew the second biggest challenge would be getting through the FDA, so in October of 2015, I attended a free seminar where I met Gina Ferriere, our current Regulatory Project Manager who is helping us with this process! She has 17 years of experience in global regulatory affairs and has been a trusted mentor, partner and friend ever since.
me in September 2015 at the FDA (Gina took this pic)
After the FDA visit I realized another big challenge was raising enough money to turn an idea into a product and take it to market! Thanks to the guidance and support of friends, family and my brother, Ross, for facilitating the funding meetings with our private investors, we have been able to raise enough money to build an incredible team, prove feasibility, finalize our design and work to bring our product, Yōni.Fit, to market!
me with my brother, Ross Watkins
Since inception, Watkins-Conti Products has manufactured our product, developed an internal quality system and conducted a feasibility study with the University of Oklahoma where the Yōni.Fit size small eliminated or significantly reduced urine leakage in 87.6% of women who leaked urine without Yōni.fit in place. Additionally, participants stated that Yōni.Fit is comfortable, easy to use and they want to purchase the product!!
Now, we are finalizing the FDA submission which is the next step to get the product to YOU! Basically I just went from a Mom with a huge problem to a CEO with a solution in a matter of months. It's been a vulnerable journey having to tell all of these business men about my urine leakage issue, but I feel so blessed that I get to do this important work.
Watkins-Conti Products, Board of Directors
I am sharing my story because I want for women like myself to know that we are not alone! I am just like you and we finally have a solution that is non-invasive and doesn’t require a prescription or surgery.
If you have a story about your challenges with urine leakage, I’d love to hear from you! I think the more people that we get to embrace discussing the topic the more likely we are to empower each other and ensure that we are developing solutions for EVERY situation and demographic out there in regard to incontinence. Help me help you!
- Dr. Benjamin Brucker, Assistant Professor of Urology + Gynecology & Obstetrics, NYU