With one in three women experiencing some form of bladder weakness, TV presenter, Carol Smillie was inspired to launch her ‘Pretty Clever Pants’ to help.

How did you get involved with designing Pretty Clever Pants?

It started out as a period product more than an incontinence product. All these years and nothing much had changed, even though women now have Shapewear and sports bras. But the one thing they had to deal with all the time wasn’t being dealt with.

The only things available were disposable or really ‘medical looking’ things. You still want to feel girly or like a woman and that’s how it started. My daughters helped me to design them. We did some research. It wasn’t rocket science. I think the simplest things are the best.

It’s the stress incontinence and incontinence market that’s massive. So that’s why we moved into that.

How big a problem is this?

One in three women. They’re not all elderly; a lot of them are in their thirties and forties or they’ve had a baby and didn’t do pelvic floor exercise – because they’re tired and they’re busy. It’s Boots’ (the chemist) fastest growing market.

Do we need to normalise the issue?

People will always feel awkward talking about it. It is embarrassing and it isn’t something that you want to share. However, there is a huge amount of help out there and for the vast majority of younger women it’s fixable by pelvic floor exercise. I just think we need to grow up a bit.

What does the underwear give to women beyond the obvious?

Confidence and security and making them feel that when they’re out and about that they don’t have to panic. You know when your body’s let you down but you don’t want the rest of the world to know. It buys you time to get to a loo or to change your pad.

They’re machine washable, not disposable. You wear them like normal underwear and you treat them that way. They’re extra wide in the gusset to hold a pad and not be seen.

It’s kind of bizarre that pads are wide and knickers aren’t. So we’ve fixed it.

The waterproofing goes all the way up the back so it’s good for when you’re sleeping. There are lots of reasons why women leak: they might have Crohn’s or colitis, sensitive bladders or heavy periods. None of them are their fault. They just want a solution to deal with it with dignity.

It’s not for a whole bladder full just for life’s little leaks.

Pretty Clever Pants designed by Carol Smillie are available for £9.95 at: www.highstreettv.com