After a request, my blog entry about a She-P-newbie has been translated in English. The She-P community wants to reach out and poke more women on the back to say: «Hey – there is a solution for women too when it comes to underwater activity, dry suits and pee.» This blog entry is from August 2015 – 1 1/2 year ago. It starts out as a newbie-thing, but I will edit it at the end to include the experience and all the good advice I’ve had from different awesome ladies.

I’m one of those that lasts maximun 70 minutes under water without peeing. And when I say maximum, I really mean maximum. When I’m back on dry land someone always has to help me out of the dry suit PRONTO, or else I will inevitably pee myself. It has been so close, many times, that I can tell you.

One of the nicest thing about a good dive is to surface, put an arm over the SMB, clip away the regulator, pull down the mask and start chatting about the dive.  Slowly paddle towards land without any stress. Just feel the tiredness, the happiness, the salty bliss. This has changed drasticly for me over the past six months. After forty minutes underwater I start feeling the urge to pee. Over fifty minutes it starts to get uncomfortable. If I pass one hour the chatting and slow approach to dry land is a distant mirage.

That’s why I for a long period of time have been contemplating about the She-P. I have been uncertain; is it as good as everybody says it is? Does it work, I mean, for real? Honestly? Or is it just another «The want»?

So, early this summer, at Svestad (outside Oslo, Norway – so: cold water diving) I’d had a super dive. Long enough. Too long, to be honest. Because while my buddies had a slow paddle towards land on glittering sea, I was the idiot cruising high speed towards relief. I hurried up, yelled at some poor folks to get me out of my gear, ran to the loo which, alas, was occupied. Oh. My. God. Imagine the twisting body and legs all over the place.

While waiting I suddenly became aware of a woman, calm and relaxed, fixing something in her suit. We startet talking, although I don’t understand how I was able to, and she understood what was going on with me jumping up and down. She nodded down to what she was doing: Connecting some kind of hose to another. Long story short: She gave me the final kick in the ass. I had to get the gear, A. S. A. P.

But first, a little bit of physiology:

Our body is filled with blood, and luckily it’s wired in such a fantastic manner that it has different mechanisms to keep it konstant at any time. An important mechanism for life on the earth surface, but even more so when you sink your body into an element where you actually don’t belong. When the element is water that increases the pressure by 1 ata for each ten meters, and in addition is cold, the bloodstream to the heart increases and starts a process that makes the body go: «Oh, danger, alarm! I have to get rid of fluids, pronto!», all to protect our vital organs. The liver is told, through intricate processes, to produce urine to make the body able to get rid of excess fluids. In addition: To be weightless, which you are if you know your buoyancy control, triggers some of the same responses.

The relief here is that my body actually works. Very, very (almost too) well, I must say.

So, the way to She-p was relatively short. So far so good.

The first thing I had to do was install a P-valve on my dry suit. That is done in a matter of days, in Oslo FUE (Fjord Underwater Explorers) is the place to do it. I warn you that I will speak very good about FUE and the guys that work there; they are great, helpful, serviceminded. And handsome. *cough*

Where was I? Yes. Valve.

Halcyon P-valve, fra innsiden av drakten. Venstre lår for min del, du velger siden som er mest effektiv for deg.
Halcyon P-valve, from the inside of the suit. On my left thigh, but whatever works for you is fine.

The suit came back, I tested the valve, and everything seemed to work as it was supposed to. So I went on line to find the step-by-step-method.

On YouTube there are two videos that are very self explanatory:

Og.

But it does noe explain in full detail. It is a fact that diving still is a man dominated avtivity, and products often evolves and develops from a man’s need and perspective. When it’s about dry suit diving and peeing, it’s obvious that men has the easiest way. But. The community, also in the technical and cave diving community, it’s crawling with women. Many of them andvanced divers which demands very long stays in the water, both decompression and long, exploratory cave dives. The need has been there for a long time, a solution is out there and HURRAY! to all the women that has participated in developing the She-P we can purchase and use today. Thank you mams.

And another thing: This post is not about not using the words when needed: If you can’t read about pee, leakages, pubic hair, genitals in contact with glue or the squeeze-monster, stop reading right now.

So.

This is what a She-P looks like:

The Real Thing.
The Real Thing.

 

Boring blue – I’d like a lemon yellow or special edition lime green, but. Blue. Made of a silicon that is suprisingly light and flexible. In fact, I thank the Gods – nay;  the inventors and the ladies that patiently has tried out various test products over the years! – that it is no longer hard, inflexible rubber that is our option.

This is what you get in a kit:

Skjermbilde 2015-08-12 kl. 15.14.09

1 (blue) She-P, 1 quick connect, 1 bottle og Urobond glue, 1 pack Removrse, 1 plastic bag for storage (which I btw would like to see non-plastic in the years to come: we who frequently are in oceans and caves, should try to minimize plastic waste), 1 orange cap.

First, of course, you install the P-valve on your suit. There are a few available, I so happy with the Halcyon, that I have installed it on my second suit. Fortunately somebody told me how to adjust the little screw; you adjust the valve as open as you want it (two rounds are sufficient), then you tighten the screw, just enough that it takes.  I know some of you are bold enough to install this yourself, I was not. I’m chicken that way. But what ever you do, be sure to place the valve right! We are shaped differently, we have different dry suits, you dont want the valve pointing inwards against a knee or a thigh. The best placement is mid thigh, left og right by choice, but facing away from the other leg, and in reachable distance.

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The quick connect is divided it two parts. Clip off the first part og put it in the valve, the other end is going in the black tube that comes in the She-P kit. The she-P is the connected to the other end, and the orange cap (TAKE GOOD CARE OF THAT!) goes on top of the quick connect. It’s supposed to look like this:

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And that’s it when it comes to the hardware and how it works mechanically.

EDIT: Ane Mengshoel, high level cave diver, and very experienced She-P user, gave som input: She told me she’d never used the black hose that comes with the She-P kit, but has used the ones below in a little bit harder plastic. She got them from an american cave diver when she started using the She-P. The advantage is that is will not be squeezed by other heavy equipment, and it is a little bit longer. She was kind enough to send me a couple, but I have yet to try them out. I know for a fact that there are a lot of ladies who loves these tubes.

She-P med en annen type slange til å feste quick connecten i. Verdt å forske videre på.
She-P with a different hose to connect. Well worth investigating.

 

Then comes the tricky part. And you just have to try until you find out what works for you.

I use the Uro-Bond glue, mostly because i cannot get hold of Hollister spray here in Norway. I could of course import it, but the cost is ridiculously insane. I know that there’s a new version of Uro-Bond glue, hope the commentary field will be used for input, but my experience is with other glue.

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First off: the body

The She-P can hold a little bit of hair, but not too much. Three-day beard is fine. Some may have tried with  more and been lucky, but I have done that and been unlucky, so again: Try, we’re all shaped differently. But as little hair as possible is a good thumb rule. If you shave the same day, be sure to get rid of all oily residue. Some soapes/shave foam/razors contains oil products. If there is oil in the area where you are gluing, it will not stick and you will have a leakage, big or small. I use alcohol wipes like these:

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I know some people would not recommend it, but I use it to be ensure that no oily residue is left. I use it on my self and the She-P, and if i can I also use hairdryer on myself to be absolutely sure everything is dry. This is of course impossible when in the bush.

Then there is the glue: A good layer of Urobond, be sure to put ekstra in the little «cave» at the back, and also that you reach all the edges. If you have time, let it dry for at least twenty minutes, let the glue get really sticky, before you apply the second layer, again with som extra glue on the back. Let it rest for a while.

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After «a while» you’re ready to go. You squat a little, or just bend your knees a little, whatever makes you the most comfortable. Don’t hold you legs to wide apart, or the skin will fold when you relax your legs again. The good thing about the Uro-Bond is that if you misplace the She-p, even just a little, you can take it off and try again. You can’t do it ten times, but a little misplacement is no problem. Hold the She-P with the pointing finger all the way on the edge behind. You have to place the She-P as long back as you can, right under your anus. This is the critical point: Tap it good and well; it’s often here the leakage starts. Then follow your anatomy naturally, rub a little, and voilá! You’re good to god! I will not post pictures of this, of course, but if you look at the videos I’ve linked to at the top, you will have it explained step by step, and graphically.

The odd and fantastic thing is that once it’s on, I barely notice it’s there. I’m not kidding: It is in no way uncomfortable, thanks to the soft and light silicone. I also secure the device with two G-strings (also showed in the video – watch it!) and then I put on boxer shorts. It looks like this:

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Ready to pee!

You can choose to put it on before moving to the dive site, but there is also a way to transport it:

Do as described as to prepare with the first layer of glue, let it dry, preferably for twenty minutes or so, and then place it on a piece of contact paper.  Antoher layer of glue at the dive site, and your’re again ready to roll. Or pee.

Kontaktpapir, smækk på, forsiktig av på dykkestedet eller utgangspunktet.
Kontaktpapir, smækk på, forsiktig av på dykkestedet eller utgangspunktet.

The two part with quick connect must of course be connected, and with bitter experience I can tall you NOT to route the house through the hole in the under suit – those are made for men. You have to route it through all the layers and at the bottom of the zipper, or make holes accordingly. When you connect the to parts you’re supposed to here i loud and clear «click». And remember to open the valve … Dive away!

I learned, also the hard and wet way, not to gather it all and let it out at once. Do as the dogs do, let a little out now and then. You’ll find you’re own way after a while, as everything else this also take practice to become perfect. Somebody says to pee a little before descend or else you can experience squeeze, I’ve never done that, and never had a squeeze. But again: Learning by doing.

When you’re up again, you’re glad you listened to me and took good care of the orange cap. You need it when you disconnect. There will be pee inside. Make sure the hose is facing up, put the cap on.

With the valve you probably got this little plastic bottle:

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This is for rinsing. You MUST rinse the valve thoroughly after each dive. Some use vinegar or hot water. Do both, or it will smell like a public bathroom after a few dives. I have also seen valves that is not taken care of with disgusting build ups, but that is all up to you. I prefer thorough cleaning.

It’s nice to have a toilet or gress underneath when you remove the She-P. I put on a ton of baby oil on my private parts, and let it stay until i reach a shower. A little bit of soap, and all glue residue are gone. I use 4 or 5 remover wipes, pack in the She-P and wrap plastic around, let it sit. Then i rub it off, and finally wash it with dishwasher soap. There’s a bit of scrubby-scrubby to do, but I prefer to do it after each dive. For this who dives several dives a day, or don’t have facilities, it’s fine to put glue on glue and use it again. It all comes down to where you are.

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It’s a little more work the the men have with their P-thing, but what a fantastic invention! Jeg am not longer limited in my diving and how much time I’m about to spend in my dry suit. I can be on a boat all day, you can stay in cave all night or do long decompression dives. There’s just no limits.

Has it all been okay? No. I have experienced leaks. Once the first time I tried. Everything went wrong; I had been drinking tons of water, and tried to let it all out at once. Not a wise choise. And if you are sloppy with the glue or how you put it on – lack og time and hurry along is not a good choise either. The key to a dry dive is to be thorough on all parts. Some uses extra nappies, just to be sure, and that’s perfectly okay. Mine are alway dry when I resurface, so I have stopped using them. I also do an extra layer of glue in the back, that’s my insurance. You can also lay a thin layer of glue on yourself, that also helps. As I’ve said many times: Try, try, try and you will find your way. But don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first times, ask in the She-P sisterhood on Facebook, or here in the commentaries. The community is filled with awesome women who is glad to help you.

Oh, another thing: I started out with plastic bags. That is not gonna hold. You must make your own system, you will want to bring the rinse bottle, medicinal tape, glue, baby oil, wipes, bag for the garbage you inevitably produce, anti back and so on. You find you’re own. This is what mine looks like:

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I want to thank those of you who helped me, you know who you are and will not be smeared unwillingly over the internet. Thank you.

She-P has really changed my diving, I don’t know what I’d do without it.

So if you wonder if you should try it, wonder no more.

Get it on!

Caterina Cattaneo