Written by Laura James, April 2009
Where Urobond is written, Hollister spray can be filled in. Also for remover wipes Smith & Nephew: AllKare remover wipes.
I realized that in the myriad of revisions and moving of info, system updates, program updates, etc.. the “what now” had vanished.
Things have evolved and changed markedly and rapidly over the past year, and what I got just over a year ago is a profoundly different experience than what we provide you with now.
While some things remain the same (you still have to shave to use it) many things have moved forward. fast. The device is now silicone and initial design has been improved upon. Our adhesive of choice is now UROBOND IV, and the remover of choice is “REMOVE” pads by Smith and Nephew. For ‘ease’ of use, we recommend an extension and Quick Disconnects. The “P-Valve” of choice is still the Halcyon “streamlined” valve, and we have “ready to pee” kits that have been optimized for your ease of use.
BUT, back to the task at hand..
You did it, you ordered... you forked over your hard earned cash for a dream of diving nirvana. The joy of never having to RUN to the bathroom again at the end of a dive with your bladder bursting, only to remember at the last second that your buddy is still waist deep in the water and you are still zipped... No more dragging your neckseal on the floor of the boat head or honey bucket. No more bareing your nether region to the elements whilst peeing over the side of the inflatable, no more balancing over a bucket waiting for the pee to come after you’ve waited too long with the boyz giggling at the front of the boat, hopefully eyes averted.
Your She-P “ready to pee” kit arrives a couple days later, in an unmarked package at your local dive shop or post office. Do you really want your significant other to know you have gone half nuts and are actually gonna glue that thing to yourself and try to pee like a boy...
IF you have not already done the deed, poked that dreaded hole in your suit, that adventure is chronicled here.
Okay, P-valve is installed. Now what!?!
If you are at all like me, you are ready to try it out... NOW! NOW NOW! but also a bit nervous... “am I gonna pee all over myself?” “am I gonna glue it on right? wrong? upside down?” “What do I do with all the widgets and fittings and disconnects and wipes and stuff..?” Geez, this reminds me of the first time I opened a tampon box when I was a teenager, or the menstrual cap in my 20’s or I imagine looking at a diaphragm going “oh my god, do I really stick my fingers there, and really, I can get it out without a speculum and an OB/GYN?!?!?!?”
Parts for she-p to put together. She-p, Barbed fitting from your p-valve (the thing boys hook their condom cath to), extension (6cm piece of tube), Quick Disconnect Plug Side (we like this because socket side is big and kinda bulky when wearing under street clothes ;) Socket Side goes on the SUIT side (AKA the hose coming from your pee valve...)
For your amusement (and hopefully education) I will take you through a virtual “dive” with the she-p. But first, there are a few more ‘steps’ I would like you to do. (and a quick anatomy lesson)
1) Shave. yes, all of it. Adhesive will be taking place basically where hair is indicated in picture #2. If you have a lot of hair down there, trimming first with scissors might be helpful. Shave in the direction of ‘growth’ which means you might try a few different directions. You need “clean shaven”. Short hairs will be pulled on by the glue, long hairs will make removal without general anesthesia pretty much impossible due to pain. Use a gentle soap, fancy shaving creams are nice, but if you are shaving the morning of your dive, the moisturizer can make your skin harder adhere to. This goes for creams too... no aloe vera and fragranced slime, just a soap you know you are not sensitive to and a good quality razor.
I like the Gillette venus razors Ya, sounds silly, but they work. I’ve tried several, including the snazzy mens ones in chrome silver and superman blue, and found my pink one to be just fine :) After you are done, do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT apply moisturizer if you are going to apply your she-p right away. If you need to use moisturizer when you shave, then shave the night before, use moisturizer, and then wash with a gentle soap and water that morning. LOTIONS make skin hard to stick to. The final part of shaving that can have an effect on your She-P’ing is a brand new razor/moisture strip. Those can also leave a no-stickum residue. Best plan, shave, wash well with gentle soap and water, rinse well.
2) Dry skin well. DO not use a powder on the day of she-p use. Before you do your first dive with the she-p, do a ‘trial run’ in the privacy of your home so you can practice getting it in the right position, feel how it’s going to be worn, experience peeing standing up ;)
3) take a good look at your new she-p, tube goes FORWARD :) Wash it with soap and water, dry well. You may choose to disinfect it with an alcohol wipe but be SURE to let it dry before applying any adhesive. Place the she-p WITHOUT any adhesive on your genital area. Look and feel where it will be in front if you have it as FAR BACK in the rear area as you can put it WITHOUT covering the anus. Okay, you see that? IF you have more prominent inner labia, you will want to kind of sweep them forward, and tuck them up on top of the clitoris under the front wing of the device so that they will not get pressed into the reservoir. IF your memory is not perfect, take a pen and mark the spot where the front of contact wing will sit when the device in proper placement. Got it? Okay... Are you ready...
4) if you are sweaty at all (nerves, etc...) blot dry gently with clean towel. Toilet paper can fray and leave little bits of TP which does not help with adhesion.
5) apply adhesive of your choice to the contact area of the device. Cover the “wings” so to speak with a thin even layer, let dry to “tacky” (sticky if you touch it with your finger). IF you are using UROBOND, you can also apply a thin layer directly to your skin, Again, making sure you get a stripe on the mons in front of the clitoris around the labia majora and paying good attention to the area behind the vagina and in front of the anus. DO not put adhesive on the mucous membranes (inside or on the labia minora) The device is an EXTERNAL urinary director, it does not go on the inside of anything it adheres onto the EXTERNAL labia major and perineum.
6) the reason you want it as FAR BACK as possible is to that front contact “wing” protects the clitoris from being pressed into the reservoir. Labia Minora don’t like being pushed into the reservoir (it feels like pinching) Clitoris likes it even less.
7) If you are using HOLLISTER SPRAY, spray a little bit onto your finger and dab it onto that perineal area in front of the anus.
8) now you are ready, and yes, your butt cheeks may be sticking together a bit, that is normal.
9) There are a couple ways to go from here, some women choose a ‘catchers’ stance, others (myself and Heleen included) choose a standing position with feet shoulder width apart and knees bent out slightly. If you distort the anatomy, stretch it out too wide, the she-p will kind of pinch things together when you stand up.
Illustration by InVertum Scubadiving Magazine
10) You can start by applying it in back, but since you made that handy dandy mark in front, you can also place it front first (sweeping the labia minora forward and under the front contact wing) either way, when you stick it down, you need to make sure to flatten the area in back (yes, by kinda pulling your butt cheeks apart) to be sure the rear contact wing is flat on the perineal skin.
11) If you misplace a bit, do not worry, with the Urobond, you have time to peel it off and move it over a bit for a better application. With Hollister spray you may want to put a little more on your finger (or a Q-tip) and touch up the application area.
12)Press gently in place for 30-40 seconds.
13) WHEW! That was stresfull! (especially if your boyfriend is watching and giggling like a 10year old girl, saying you now look like you have a tiny stiffy - GO AWAY boy!) Start drinking water like a Camel now ;)
14) Tape. I still put a piece of tape on the front wing and a bit on the sides. I do not tape the back anymore, it causes more issues than it solves, and if you are using UROBOND, you don’t need it. I also take a piece of tape and gently stick the tube to area just above the contact area to keep the ‘weenis’ from waving about and getting caught on things and dislodging the device.
15) Boyshorts (and/or thongs) Heleen uses no tape, but two thongs, one on one side of the reservoir, one on the other, and then a pair of boyshorts over the thongs. At least one woman who is allergic to adhesives uses tape only. I wear a pair of boyshorts, because I’m chicken and don’t want to get any pee on my new DUI XM450’s, so wear a POISE pad.
16) This is gonna sound kinda strange, but now I “vacuum” test the device. I push on the reservoir (pushing air out) and put my thumb on the plug of the disconnect. IT should hold a vacuum. Then I release the pressure and do the opposite. I cover the plug with my finger and then press gently on the reservoir and feel it kinda try to puff air ‘up’, but if all is well sealed, none will be felt escaping around the seal.
17) OK, time to pee... Hopefully you drank enough water... If this is your first time, try it out in the shower, mostly because there is a reason boys don’t hit the toilet bowl every time. It’s not so easy! ;) (and if you pee on your feet you can rinse off) I test it before I leave the bathroom/house/whatever.
18) SUCCESS! (hopefully) If not, then figure out where it was leaking and dry it (with cloth, as TP will REALLY stick to it now that there is adhesive) and dab a bit more UROBOND or hollister to that area.
Now that you are all kitted up, it’s time to go ‘dive’. I will have placed my POISE pad in the boyshorts and longjohns over the boyshorts and then my drysuit underwear (or loose fitting shorts/street clothes for the drive to the site)
When you are setting up the first time you may choose to thread it through your bottom zipper, while you are figuring out the best place to put a buttonhole in your drysuit undergarment.
I tuck my long johns shirt BEHIND the tube as padding between my skin and the tube/QD.
Put on drysuit, making sure to be careful so as not to catch the P-Valve tube (suit side) on my foot and ending up with it kinda tangled behind/between my legs or something else odd. I find using a piece of velcro wrap and attaching it to a suspender helps a bit.
Route tube into (or out of) your undergarments, depending on how your device fits. (I run the suit side tube INTO my undergarments, others pull it through) making sure the device tube, extension, and P-valve tube are not kinked anywhere...
Click the fitting together. If you do not hear a ‘click’ do not force it, take a look at the socket side, it may need to be “reset” by pushing the metal button. Then the socket should “click” into place. Finish getting into your suit, wade out into the water, loosen P-valve cap/bolt, and try peeing as a final ‘check’. If all systems are “go” you should see some bubbles come up as the air in the tube is being pushed out by urine. It takes a few seconds for the flow to fill up the tube and make it out the valve when priming. It will feel odd at first, as the pee fills the reservoir and starts making it’s way out the tube displacing the air, you’ll feel it kinda ‘blow up’ - not kaboom, just expand and then relax as the pee leaves the reservoir - we don’t have “flow restrictor” AKA long urethra that boys have, so our pee is generally on/off flow, hence the reservoir so we don’t have blow off. This feeling takes a couple times to get used to, but pretty soon you barely notice it :)
If all is good, GO DIVE!!!!!!!!!! Remember, peeing underwater in your drysuit isn’t something we are used to doing. IT takes a time or two and some practice... Some of us have found stopping and squeezing something helps the ‘release’, others find that at first it’s easiest to just wait till they are upright again and pee as soon as they finish before getting out of the water, and work up to peeing whilst diving... But don’t worry, pretty soon you to will be ‘peein’ like a big dog!’
ALWAYS FLUSH YOUR PEE VALVE TUBE WITH FRESH WATER AND A DISINFECTANT AFTER EVERY USE!!!!!!
Can you use the She-P while menstruating... Of course! Just keep a few things in mind... or at least one thing... “TAMPON!”
1) you have some ‘options’: tuck the string up ‘inside’ a bit so that it doesn’t end up in the seal and make a leak, or, someone mentioned the string kinda ‘peeing’ out and going down the reservoir, so she took the chance with a bit of leakage and glue it along butt crack for, uh, control.
2) the urine in the reservoir may wick up into the tampon. It’s no worse than Pool water, or Seawater when diving in a wetsuit, but it WILL swell up the tampon which can be surprising if you are not expecting it.
3) I’ve heard concern about using it without a tampon, about clots in the system. I have no experience with this, but kinda think a tampon sounds more hygienic than trying to lure the sharks with your pee valve ;)
4) Either way, please take extra care disinfecting your hose with extra fresh water flush and disinfectant to make SURE it’s good and clean before storing.
And finally, the question that no one is brave enough to ask OR answer on the internet forums... <insert drum roll>
Yes, you can go poo while wearing it (not in your drysuit please). This is part of why we say “don’t cover your anus” (well that and so you can.. uh.. decompress your bowels AKA fart). Just remember, your ..ahem “wenis” is going to be pointed forward, and not necessarily into the toilet bowl. Many times when having a bowel movement, we leak some urine out our urethra (and into the she-p) so make sure you can point your hose down like a European boy, without crimping things or arrange your POISE pad to catch the stream, or you WILL pee right onto your shoes/clothes/suit.
Ladies, please give input! We’d love to hear how you do things, about stuff that’s worked better, how things haven’t worked, etc...