EVB Sport meets Jacq Emkes NHS England Patient Advocate Excellence In Continence Care ( EICC)

EVB Sport meets Jacq Emkes NHS England Patient Advocate Excellence In Continence Care ( EICC)

At EVB Sport we celebrate women, real women who want to make a change to their lives and become the best they can be! From women who want to simply get back out side and go for that walk in the park to women who have enormous goals to achieve and have overcome huge obstacles. Our mission is to help women to get their self-confidence back! We want to look after you and support you each step of the way. All journeys big or small are important to us and we want to help you get there! Each week we will share inspiring stories from all walks of life. Some you will relate to and some will simply inspire you!


6 years ago Jacq’s life was just like anyone else. She was a teacher who loved her job and sport. Unfortunately when her hysterectomy took a bad turn Jacq’s life was turned upside down. However instead of falling apart she has shown her true strength in campaigning relentlessly for all women who face continence issues. From that dark place she has worked hard to become the voice of continence in the House of Commons. We can’t help be inspired by her. Here’s Jacq’s story in her own words.

Jacq Emkes  

I see my life as BC AC …Before Catheters After Catheters…or it could be Before Continence after Continence or perhaps Before EVB and after EVB…whatever…here’s my story.

Incontinence is a rubbish word so Continence is my alternative.

It is important to explain that leaking bladder is a symptom not a diagnosis, let us be clear about that.

BC – before catheters

I used to think ‘continence’ was a description for old people, unable to control their bladders and leaking urine in their care homes. My granny, smelly, damp and sitting on a plastic armchair. I just thought that was normal. Uh oh…not true

I used to be a teacher. I used to run with my dogs before school every day. I used to be the only one in my family to run! I used to ski, to go to aerobic classes. My favourite always was a step class, hot sweaty and heart rate up high.

In my AC – after continence world I have set up a Twitter account and tried to raise awareness of continence issues. I am a patient advocate or champion, for the #ItsPersonal campaign which aims to break the stigma and taboos around continence issues. Twitter is such a powerful tool, and a by complete fluke I came upon @GussettGrippers a comedienne physio called Elaine Miller at the Edinburgh Festival. She was tweeting about EVB Sport and so I looked up the online store.

Life after catheters

  • After an injury to my ureter during gynaecologic surgery I had to undergo 3 bladder re-implantation/reconstruction surgeries over 2010 to 2015, along with loss of right kidney, donated to an unknown patient
  • After sepsis causing spinal issues leading to spinal surgery two fusions
  • After 30 General Anaesthetics I lost count

All this resulted in loss of ability to fully empty my bladder.

Urodynamics proved reflux and residuals meant that risk of UTIs was high. Hence CISC was recommended by my surgeon. That is using a disposable catheter which enabled me to empty my bladder fully, cleanly and effectively.

Unfortunately I could no longer run, ski go to aerobic classes, quite apart from my spinal issues my pojacq-1or bladder was not up to it, emptying at whim or just with a cough or a sneeze. As it was difficult to know if it was full I had to make sure I was fully covered just in case.  During this time I had also sometimes used catheters attached to bags, these are called ‘indwelling catheters’ and more recently I had a catheter from my abdomen which empties my bladder. This is without a bag at the moment so I just empty bladder via a tap. As you can imagine these catheters are just added lumps and bumps to hide in an exercise class. The EVB shorts have enough stretch to cover those up too. It seems to work fine and although I have to adjust the catheters a bit in between exercises, moving from crab to mermaid to child positions can get a bit tangled! EVB has helped keep my various hoses in place. The look on my fellow Pilates’ faces when one catheter popped out was a sight to behold, but EVB has the space to keep it all in and not really show. It just needs adjusting from time to time, a jiggle wiggle and its back in place.

My amazing Physiotherapist got me doing Pilates to strengthen my back improve my core and build up some sort of pelvic floor. I soon joined a local Pilates group and felt relatively ‘normal’! However, having a weak bladder, hopeless core and pelvic floor at basement level meant there have been a few ‘moments’

I was using just my usual baggy tracksuit and t-shirt to protect my decency but once I saw and tried the EVB Sport capris I felt more like the others in the group wearing their groovy trousers. Looking svelte and fit, the EVB discretely seemed to hold all my ‘bits’ in place and no one needed to know! For once I felt just ‘normal’! Certainly the support helped my spine no end.

The EVB Sport range has offered me the support and the ability to do more spinal strengthening movements withoutjacq-2 causing more pain or stress. The elasticity helps with movement. Black covers up any embarrassment and I feel l look the same as everyone else.

The EVB Sport range has improved my confidence and self-esteem. No one else in the class would know. In fact, yesterday I had them on back to front…not a murmur …just one of the class!

I recommend EVB Sport to all my friends. No embarrassment and no need to cover up in quite the same way as I did before all this.

To summarise how EVB Sport makes me feel.


Very normal looking

Black for bladder

Black as anyone with bladder issues will tell you is absolutely essential…anything just might show up!


  • Jan
    Posted at 21:41h, 16 November Reply

    This is Jacq: honest and open; fun and inspirational; continuing life with more energy than most.

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