- Does Jumping On a Trampoline Make You Pee? Not After This
- How to Fix This Problem?
- How to Avoid Urine Leakage While Jumping On a Trampoline
- Final Thoughts
- Urinary Incontinence Overview
- What are the Different Types of Urinary Incontinence?
- Who Develops Urinary Incontinence?
- How is Urinary Incontinence Evaluated?
- Management of Urinary Incontinence
- Q: What causes urinary incontinence?
- Q: Is treatment available?
- Q: Can lifestyle modification (such as exercise and food and beverage choices) help alleviate urinary incontinence?
- Q: What else should I know about urinary incontinence?
- BHealth Blog
- Why do I leak urine during my workouts?
- How To Manage Bladder Leakage During Exercise
- The 5 Exercises That Are Mostly Likely to Make You Leak a Little Pee
- I pee a little when I’m laughing, coughing or sneezing; is that normal?
- What is normal?
- Why does this happen?
- What can be done?
- I Pee When I Sneeze—What Can I Do About It?
- Why You Pee When Working Out & How to Stop Urinary Leakage During Exercise
- Causes of Urine Leakage While Running or Working Out
- How to Treat Stress Incontinence While Exercising
- 3 Kegel Exercises to Do to Help Stop Urine Leakage During Physical Activity
Does Jumping On a Trampoline Make You Pee? Not After This
Settling for a less active life isn’t the solution. At first, it may seem to be the easiest and the only thing we can do. But why restrain ourselves when we can continue enjoying all the activities that we used to, including jumping on a trampoline?
Let’s imagine our lower torso for a second. We have a six-pack, or rectus abdominis muscle, the oblique muscles on either side, and our back muscles that support us. Above those, we have our diaphragm, and down below are pelvic floor muscles, also known as the Kegel muscles.
Now, when we jump, a part of our body weight goes up. While we’re going down, the gravity does its thing, and the whole load forcefully falls on our pelvic floor muscles. If they aren’t strong enough, they won’t be able to handle the load, and some pee will come out.
How to Fix This Problem?
The experience is definitely unpleasant and can be really embarrassing, especially if there are people around. We don’t need to put up with it, though, and we should always address it accordingly. In fact, there are a few solutions that can help us — some of them have probably crossed our minds before!
Stop Using the Trampoline
This might seem easy at first, but ignoring the problem won’t solve it. Things can only get worse over time. However, if the leakage occurs during physical activity, we should slow down a bit until we find other solutions that may help us.
Using a Pantyliner
The amount of pee that comes out when we’re jumping on a trampoline isn’t always huge. Therefore, using a pantyliner can help to catch some of it. It can be a good quick fix, especially if we really have to jump or do other types of exercises for some reason.
However, the pee may still come through, with or without the pantyliner. Because of that, we should always approach this solution carefully. In the end, it may not even work.
Strengthening Our Pelvic Floor Muscles
Strengthening our pelvic floor muscles is crucial if we have already suffered a trampoline urine leak. However, it will take some time, effort, and patience in order to get the best results.
Kegel exercises are the only ones that can really help to strengthen our pelvic floor muscles. But we need to do them properly in order to see some improvement.
That’s why consulting with a physical therapist is always an imperative, since the root of this problem is always individual. How? There are multiple reasons why this problem may occur in the first place.
Some of us may have a weak pelvic floor, while others have poor posture. Bladder spasms, nerve damage, perineal tear scar tissue, and even psychological trauma can all lead to unexpected urine release, i.e., peeing our pants.
There are other reasons too, but the point is that all of those health conditions can minimize or cancel out the effectiveness of Kegel exercises.
How to Avoid Urine Leakage While Jumping On a Trampoline
Above all, if we experience pelvic floor muscle weakness, we need to work on two things:
The strength of the muscles helps us tighten them while the load is coming down. Coordination, on the other hand, will help tighten them at the right time without us having to use our leg muscles.
So, what do we need to do in order to stop the leakage?
1. First of all, we need to tighten our pelvic floor without tightening our thighs. Tipping our pelvis backward is also not advisable, including holding our breath. We can practice this by lying on our side or on our back.
2. Secondly, our pelvic floor needs to be around 30% tight while standing. The 30% rule also applies when we’re doing squats.
3. Finally, we should practice keeping the muscles 30% tight when we’re jumping because light Kegel exercises might not be helpful in this case.
Peeing our pants while jumping on a trampoline can be really embarrassing and bothersome. Luckily, following the above steps will help us strengthen our pelvic floor muscles and prevent this from happening in the future.
A good piece of advice is that we should always try to contract our pelvic floor muscles with the least amount of effort in order to get the best results. Also, we should start slowly and strengthen them gradually, if we’re unable to do step three right away.
In most cases, we should consult a physical therapist first. That way, we’ll be able to get individual exercises that will work best for our condition.
Thank you for reading the article. If you found it helpful, please share it with others who might have experienced the same problem and are looking for a solution. Also, if you have any thoughts on the subject, feel free to share them in the comment section below.
Medically reviewed by C.H. Weaver M.D. Medical Editor 9.2019
Do you avoid running, lifting, or jumping on a trampoline for fear of getting wet? Or do you find you make sure you know where the bathroom is wherever you go so that you don’t have accidental leakage? If either or both of these situations sound familiar, you have urinary incontinence.
Simply put, urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine, a common but seldom-discussed problem. It is more common as we age, but it is important to know that it is not a normal part of aging. In fact, it is never normal. While some women may have this infrequently and consider it a minor nuisance, for other women it can be very socially, psychologically, and physically distressing.
Urinary Incontinence Overview
The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. The kidneys create urine by filtering the blood and removing waste and excess water. From the kidneys, urine travels to the bladder through small tubes called ureters. Urine is then stored in the bladder until it is passed to the outside of the body through the urethra. The opening of the urethra is at the end of the penis in men, and just in front of the vagina in women.
Urinary incontinence refers to the involuntary loss or leakage of urine. Factors that can contribute to incontinence include nerve problems, childbirth, menopause, and prostate problems.(1,2) Incontinence can occur when the bladder muscle contracts suddenly, or when the sphincter muscle (the muscle that surrounds that urethra) is not able to block the flow of urine.
For people with incontinence, the amount of urine lost can range from only a few drops to a much larger amount. Incontinence can have a profound effect on quality of life, and may limit a person’s ability to engage in certain activities. Treatments are available, however, and if you are experiencing incontinence you should discuss the condition with your physician.
What are the Different Types of Urinary Incontinence?
- Stress Incontinence. Stress incontinence refers to the loss of urine when pressure is put on the bladder. Pressure on the bladder can be caused by activities such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, or lifting.
- Urge Incontinence. Urge incontinence is characterized by loss of urine after a sudden, strong urge to urinate. It is often the result of abnormal bladder contractions. These contractions can result from damage to nerves or damage to the bladder muscle.
- Mixed Incontinence. Mixed incontinence involves a combination of stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
- Overflow Incontinence. When the bladder isn’t able to empty normally and becomes too full, it can cause a constant dribbling of urine and a very weak urine stream. This is referred to as overflow incontinence.
Who Develops Urinary Incontinence?
Incontinence can be a problem for anyone, but certain groups of people are at higher risk than others. Factors that increase the likelihood of incontinence include being female, growing older, going through pregnancy and childbirth, having an enlarged prostate, undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, being overweight, and having health conditions that involve nerve problems. Examples of these health conditions are long-term diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and overactive bladder.
Conditions that may contribute to temporary incontinence include urinary tract infections and constipation.
How is Urinary Incontinence Evaluated?
In addition to performing a physical examination, your doctor will collect information about your medical history, medication use, usual fluid intake, and incontinence symptoms. You will probably be asked to provide a sample of urine for testing. Other tests may also be performed, such as tests to more closely evaluate your bladder and urethra, but the need for these other tests will depend on your particular situation.
Management of Urinary Incontinence
The treatment of urinary incontinence depends on the type of incontinence, the severity of the problem, and your gender. Because no single treatment works for everyone, you may have to work with your doctor to try more than one type of treatment before you find one that’s right for you.
Treatment of stress incontinence: Surgical and nonsurgical treatments are available for stress incontinence. Nonsurgical options include exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles (Kegel exercises), bladder training (making timed trips to the bathroom), modification of fluid intake, and use of a pessary (a device inserted into the vagina that helps to reposition the urethra in women).
Surgical options for stress incontinence in women include injection of agents that bulk up the tissues around the urethra, sling procedures (using a narrow strip of material to support the urethra), and retropubic suspension (use of sutures to lift and support the opening of the bladder and the urethra). Surgical options in men include injection of bulking agents around the urethra, implantation of an artificial urinary sphincter (a patient-controlled device that can open and close the urethra), and use of a sling to compress the urethra.
Treatment of urge incontinence: Treatments for urge incontinence include behavioral changes such as urinating on a regular schedule, modifying your fluid intake, and strengthening pelvic floor muscles (Kegel exercises); use of medications that relax the bladder muscle; and use of a device that stimulates the bladder nerves.
Treatment of overflow incontinence: If overflow incontinence is due to a blockage in the urinary tract, treatment of the blockage can relieve the incontinence. If no blockage is present, use of a catheter to completely empty the bladder on a regular basis can reduce or prevent accidental urine loss.
Q: What causes urinary incontinence?
There are several causes of urinary leakage. Knowing which type of leakage is occurring is an important step toward preventing it.
One of the most common types of leakage is called stress urinary incontinence. This type of leakage occurs with activity—such as running, lifting, and even sneezing—and is caused by a sudden increase in pressure in the abdomen. The urethra—the tube from the bladder through which urine passes—is usually held closed during activity to prevent leakage of urine during times of increased abdominal pressure. In some women, however, the seal becomes weak and opens with these increases in pressure, allowing urine to leak.
Another common type of leakage is called urge urinary incontinence. This is part of a condition referred to as “overactive bladder.” Overactive bladder can cause urinary frequency and the sudden, strong urge to urinate. When leakage actually occurs, we refer to it as urge urinary incontinence; it often happens in response to triggers, such as running water, driving into the driveway, or just spontaneously. Sometimes the leakage occurs on the way to the bathroom or just prior to sitting down on the toilet. Women often wonder Is it in my mind? because it will start just after they have thought about the bathroom. The problem is actually in the bladder; it is as if the bladder is eavesdropping on the brain and then running ahead without permission.
Overactive bladder can be caused by irritations to the lining of the bladder, such as diet, tobacco, or a kidney stone. Rarely, overactive bladder can be a sign of a neurologic disorder or growth in the bladder. Another source of bladder overactivity is postmenopausal vaginal dryness from lack of estrogen. The pelvic floor muscles can also contribute to bladder overactivity if they are inflamed or in spasm. For about half of women with overactive bladder and urinary urge incontinence, no identifiable cause is found.
It is also common for women to have both causes of leakage at the same time, and each has to be addressed appropriately.
There are other, less common causes of urinary leakage. If you have leakage that does not seem to fit into any of the above categories, you should discuss the symptoms with your physician.
Q: Is treatment available?
Yes. The vast majority of women are significantly improved or cured of leakage after seeking appropriate treatment. The treatment will vary depending on the cause of leakage and a woman’s individual preferences.
Stress urinary incontinence. This condition occurs due to a weakening of the support structures under the urethra. It can often be improved or cured with muscle exercises known as Kegels. It often takes three to six weeks of regular exercises before improvement is noted. Some women require additional evaluation and specialized instruction from a pelvic floor physical therapist to get optimal results.
- Improve Your Kegels
For some women with stress urinary incontinence for whom therapy is not the answer, there are nonsurgical options that rely on mechanical support of the urethra. This can be as simple as wearing a tampon during exercise: the presence of the tampon applies pressure to the urethra through the vaginal wall. Another method of mechanical support is called a pessary—a sturdy, silicone device shaped like a diaphragm that sits comfortably in the vagina to support the urethra. This can be used throughout the day or be placed just prior to exercise.
Surgery may be the best option for some women with stress urinary incontinence. Luckily, current surgical repairs are highly effective, long lasting, and often minimally invasive.
Urge urinary incontinence and overactive bladder. Many women are able to identify items in their diet that irritate the bladder, and simply avoiding those items can greatly improve their continence. Common bladder irritants are citrus, tomatoes, caffeine, carbonation, and alcohol. Tobacco smoking can also cause bladder irritation. If other sources of irritation are identified, such as a urinary tract infection, a lack of estrogen, or overactive pelvic floor muscles, treatment of these conditions will improve symptoms. Some women respond to bladder “retraining” and physical therapy as well.
Women who are unable to determine the cause of urge urinary incontinence and overactive bladder should see their healthcare provider; a bladder control medication will usually improve their symptoms.
Q: Can lifestyle modification (such as exercise and food and beverage choices) help alleviate urinary incontinence?
For stress urinary incontinence, just being generally physically fit (even without doing Kegels) can decrease symptoms of urinary incontinence. Doing Kegels on their own also benefits many women. Although women can avoid the activities that cause leakage, my hope is that they seek help before making these types of lifestyle modifications so that they do not become less active. Being of normal weight for your height can also improve continence; even a proportionately small loss of weight when one is overweight can decrease leakage for some women. Urge urinary incontinence and symptoms of overactive bladder can also be improved through lifestyle modifications for many women. This might include the dietary modifications noted above; it may also include not drinking fluids in excess in general and not drinking large amounts right before bedtime.
We also work with women to retrain the bladder by putting off going to the bathroom for longer periods of time. If lifestyle modification does not improve symptoms or if you have any of the warning signs listed below, you should see a physician.
Q: What else should I know about urinary incontinence?
Infrequently, urinary incontinence can be an indication of a more serious underlying problem. Warning signs of a more serious issue include:
- Sudden severe leakage
- Blood in the urine
- New leakage associated with any other new complaint, such as back pain, numbness, or pelvic pain
If any of these warning signs are present, you should see your healthcare provider for an evaluation to ensure that the leakage is not due to a more serious underlying health problem. Urinary incontinence is very treatable and should not stop a woman from living her life to the fullest. Eighty-five to 90 percent of women with incontinence can be made much better or cured. So if you have urinary leakage, know that you can get help, get dry, and get back to living your life!
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Urinary Incontinence in Women. NIH publication No. 08-4132. October 2007.
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Urinary Incontinence in Men. NIH publication No. 07-5280. June 2007.
If you’re one of those ladies who dread attending those backyard parties embellished with a trampoline, you’re not alone. I suppose if it were acceptable to grab your crotch in public for extended periods of time, the anxiety level wouldn’t be so high. It’s a great way for a Urogynecologist to drum up business though, observe which women avoid jumping and then slyly slip the business card into their pocket or purse.
The trampoline example is really the best way to describe stress urinary incontinence (SUI), the involuntary loss of urine from the urethra during physical exertion. The urine loss is usually a small amount coincident with the physical event, jump(squirt), cough(squirt), sneeze(squirt). Sometimes if the stress event is continuous, for example laughing, the bladder may contract and empty its entire volume making the amount of urine loss more significant (and embarrassing).
Leakage due to SUI occurs when the amount of pressure on the bladder exceeds the counter pressure within the urethra (Figure 1). Causes of SUI can be due to excessive pressure from above, poor resistance or pressure in the urethra, or a combination of both. Examples of excessive pressure from above include pregnancy, pelvic masses, obesity, and chronic coughing. Factors that contribute to adequate urethral resistance include support of the urethra provided by surrounding structures, urethral muscle strength, and the nerves that supply these muscles. There are many diseases and traumatic events that can compromise the integrity of this sphincter complex, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or a vaginal delivery.
Fig 1 Stress Urinary Incontinence
SUI is common. In questionnaire surveys, most adult women report SUI from time to time and one-third report it at least weekly. Incontinence peaks between 45-49 years at about 65% and then slowly decreases. Because it is associated with physical activity, this decline with age may reflect lower activity levels in older women. There are definite racial differences in the prevalence of SUI among women. Non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics are 60% less likely to have severe SUI than non-Hispanic whites. There is evidence to suggest that this is due to differences in anatomy because Caucasian women have lower urethral pressures than black women.
Typically, only 1 in 4 women with urinary incontinence seek help with more women seeking help as symptoms become more severe. It is important to consult a health care professional for SUI as early as possible because with time, as symptoms become more severe, the weaknesses in the urethral sphincter mechanism can become more irreversible and therefore resistant to treatment. An evaluation for SUI includes answering a lot of questions about one’s medical history and lifestyle. There is a physical exam, including a pelvic exam, and some simple tests to demonstrate the condition. The most common and accurate diagnostic test performed is called the “stress test” where you are asked to cough with a full bladder while the health care professional observes the urethra for leakage.
Seeking treatment for SUI does not automatically mean surgery. Although surgery in the form of a sling is the surgical treatment of choice, there are more nonsurgical options for the treatment of SUI. Remember, the goal is to decrease pressure on the bladder and improve the urethral closure mechanism. Lifestyle changes are usually addressed first such as postural changes, diet modifications (less caffeine), and lifting restrictions if possible. Treating medical conditions that can be contributing such as chronic cough, diabetes, obesity, back problems (especially low back) is an absolute necessity. Once all of these issues are addressed, the following will be offered either alone or in combination, pelvic floor muscle training, medications (not FDA approved), vaginal devices (Figure 2), an in-office procedure that remodels the urethral collagen to improve resistance (Lyrette), urethral bulking injections to “plump” the inside of the urethra, or surgery.
Fig 2 Vaginal device
There are two surgical procedures commonly performed for SUI. Because they work by lifting and supporting the urethra, they are classified as a urethropexy. The Burch urethropexy (Figure 3) uses the front wall of the vagina to support the urethra and the sling urethropexy (Figure 4) is a strip of material (usually mesh but can be connective tissue) placed under the urethra. Although both procedures have fairly high cure rates (around 80%) and patient satisfaction, because they are surgical procedures, they have potential risks that must be considered.
Fig 3 Burch Urethropexy
Fig 4 Sling Urethropexy
Health Care professionals who treat urinary incontinence are trained to offer nonsurgical management first. Because pelvic floor muscle and nerve function are important for urinary control, physical therapy is extremely important when treating SUI either alone or in combination with other therapies. The science of pelvic floor physical therapy has evolved considerably over my career as a Urogynecologist. There are increasing numbers of licensed physical therapists who are dedicating their careers to the treatment pelvic floor dysfunction and go on to do further training in this area. They have become invaluable members of our team. Most well-trained pelvic floor physical therapists can quote 70-80% improvement rates in women with SUI.
So how can you avoid “trampoline phobia” or any other aversion to physical activity? Unfortunately, there are no foolproof preventative strategies. Certainly avoiding heavy lifting/straining, weight control, and pelvic floor muscle exercises are easy enough and can do no harm. There is some evidence that a cesarean section can be preventative but this is a serious discussion to be had with your Obstetrician. If symptoms begin and are bothersome, seek consultation with a health care professional who specializes in pelvic floor dysfunction. A little knowledge can go a long way toward improving and maintaining the quality of life we all deserve.
Living with incontinence can pose many challenges. The condition can cause you to limit the life you once had – foregoing social events, distancing yourself from family and friends, and even missing days of work. So, it comes as no surprise that your workouts may also be affected. In fact, studies have shown that up to 20% of women have reported quitting their physical activities due to incontinence. Experiencing leakage when running or doing certain types of exercise is very common, but it’s not normal. You shouldn’t have to live with incontinence, and the good news is you don’t have to.
Why do I leak urine during my workouts?
Bladder leakage during your workout is due to a condition called Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). SUI is incontinence that occurs when you have a weak pelvic floor or sphincter muscle, and increased pressure is placed on your bladder. This can happen with things like sneezing, coughing, and, yes, certain forms of working out.
SUI occurs commonly with childbirth, but other conditions can also contribute to the condition. Chronic coughing, surgical procedures, menopause, and obesity can also contribute to SUI.
How To Manage Bladder Leakage During Exercise
The tips listed below can help you manage and treat the issue of bladder leaks. As always, when thinking about treatment options, it’s best to consult a trained physical therapist that can give you a proper examination.
1. Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor.
A weak pelvic floor can make you more susceptible to SUI. To learn how to strengthen it, make an appointment with a physical therapist who will teach you not only how to correctly perform a kegel, but also how to strengthen your whole core. You see, while the pelvic floor is important, it’s only one part of the equation. Your core muscles, hips, thighs, and glutes all play a part of maintaining proper alignment so it’s important to include these muscles in your daily workouts too.
Your PT will also teach you how to properly relax your pelvic floor. Pelvic floor muscles that are too tight can also be an issue with SUI, so you must learn to relax these muscles as well.
2. Use a Pessary.
SUI often occurs in women who have experienced Pelvic Organ Prolapse. A pessary can be a great tool for this condition, especially when working out, since it helps hold everything in place, resulting in less pressure on your bladder.
3. Use Protection.
It goes without saying that if you’re experiencing leaks and want to continue to work out, you may need a little extra help. There are several absorbent products available that are designed specifically for working out. Experiment with different styles and fits to see what works for you.
4. Go Easy On The Fluids.
You should make sure you stay properly hydrated, but try limiting the amount of caffeinated beverages you’re drinking, especially before your workout. Caffeine can irritate the bladder making accidents more likely.
5. Watch What You Eat.
Similar to caffeine, certain foods can cause bladder irritation in some people. Spicy or acidic foods are especially common bladder irritants and should be avoided.
6. Empty Your Bladder Before Starting Your Workout.
Make sure to use the bathroom just before any strenuous workout, like running to avoid extra strain on your bladder.
7. Try Retraining Your Bladder
Just like any muscle in the body, your bladder can be trained. Try scheduling your bathroom visits in intervals and slowly work up to longer stretches of time.
8. Wear Black Pants.
This is a simple trick, but can help you prevent (or at least cover up) any embarrassing leaks. The color black can help hide any leaks. Loose fitting clothing can also help hide any extra protection that you may be using to prevent leakage.
As you can see, there are several options for managing urine leakage while exercising. Try incorporating some of the above tips and don’t let incontinence keep you from getting your work out!
Have you tried any of the tips above, or do you have others you’d like to share? Tell us about them in the comments below!
This means that not only exercise, but even laughing, coughing and sneezing, can result in an embarrassing dribble. Sex is another area where a lack of control can prove troubling. Urinary leakage during intercourse is estimated to affect up to a quarter of women with incontinence, according to the North American Menopause Society.
The good news: The pesky leakage problem is not a normal part of aging, and it can be treated.
The best remedy is likely to be pelvic floor muscle exercises, better known as Kegels. Squeeze and lift the muscles of the pelvic floor and around the vagina, Antosh says. These are the same muscles you would squeeze when you are trying to stop the flow of urine. Tighten for three seconds and then relax for three seconds. Do three sets of these squeezes 10 times a day. Even if you’re postmenopausal, Kegel exercises can restrengthen your pelvic floor muscles and abdomen and help you regain control over your bladder.
Other pelvic floor exercises to help reduce incontinence include pelvic tilts, says Laura Arndt, CEO of Matriarc, a post-delivery app for mothers. You can learn how to do them here.
Incontinence affects twice as many women as men, primarily because pregnancy, childbirth and menopause make unintentional leaks more prevalent.
During pregnancy, for example, your ligaments soften, and your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles stretch, says Sara Reardon, a physical therapist in Louisiana. Actual childbirth doesn’t do you any favors, either.
“During childbirth, a woman may push for hours, causing additional lengthening of the pelvic floor muscles abdominal, or potential tearing may occur of the perineum,” Reardon says. “These pelvic floor muscles do not just spring back after pregnancy and birth: They have been lengthened and potentially traumatized, and need to be retrained and rehabilitated to sustain the pressure from a jump, cough or sneeze.”
But this isn’t the only reason why your bladder is acting up. Menopause, too, is a culprit. Since your ovaries stop making estrogen during menopause, your vaginal tissue becomes less elastic, and your urethra lining thins. As a result, your pelvic floor (or those muscles supporting your urethra and bladder) weaken.
If the problem doesn’t correct itself through exercise, talk with your doctor.
“If any leakage is experienced, I would let your doctor know, and request to see a physical therapist,” Reardon says, noting that women should wait four to six weeks postpartum before working on their recovery.
Pelvic floor physical therapists and urogynecologists specialize in treating women with bladder issues. They can do everything from offering nonsurgical exercises and medicines to performing minor surgeries to correct the problem.
They would examine you to determine what might be causing the incontinence before determining an individualized plan. For example, sometimes simply losing the pregnancy weight will help: A Yale study found that women who returned to their healthy BMI within a year of giving birth reduced their risk of pelvic organ prolapse, which can lead to incontinence.
Then, it’s up to you to decide whether you ever want to do another jumping jack. Sans incontinence, they might actually be fun.
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- Think you can’t lose weight during menopause? Think again
The 5 Exercises That Are Mostly Likely to Make You Leak a Little Pee
So you’re killing it on the treadmill when all of a sudden you feel a little pee trickle out. Yikes. You do a hard squeeze to stop the flow, hoping no one else notices . . . or sees the drops of urine you’re afraid are showing through your leggings.
Urinary incontinence is something 25 million people can relate to, with up to 80% of these sufferers women. It’s the involuntary leakage of urine, maybe a few drops, maybe more. The condition causing this to happen during a workout is called stress incontinence, and it means that something’s putting pressure on your bladder, explains Michele Olson, PhD, senior clinical professor of sports science at Huntingdon College in Alabama. Stress incontinence is the same type of incontinence that makes some women leak when they cough, giggle, or lift something heavy, she says.
RELATED: What Is ‘Vaginal Massage’ and Could It Help Your Sex Life?
Certain exercises make you more prone to accidental pee squirts, and you may not know which ones are culprits until you suddenly spring a leak in the middle of a bodyweight class. Here’s a cheat sheet on which moves are mostly likely lead to leaks, plus how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles so you stay dry at the gym (but it’s probably still a good idea to wear a backup—Depend Fit-Flex Underwear, anyone?—just in case).
When you do a squat, you pull in the muscles that can in turn put pressure on the bladder, then push those muscles downward, says Olson. The result is that “urine is virtually pushed into the urethra, or the bladder becomes overactive due to the pressure on it,” she says.
A great run lets you zone out while your muscles do all the work . . . but it’s hard to get lost in your thoughts when you’re putting pressure on your bladder with each step, increasing the odds of a leak. For a quick fix, get off the treadmill or running trail and ease the impact by using a stair climber, suggests Katie Dunlop, certified fitness trainer and founder of Love Sweat Fitness.
RELATED: Why You Should Never Squat Over the Toilet Seat
Skaters strengthen your legs and glutes while giving you a cardio boost. “They’re a great plyometric move but can totally cause problems if you have incontinence,” says Dunlop, as there’s lots of squeezing of the abdominal muscles—which puts pressure on the bladder—and jumping from side to side without a break.
Another lower-body plyometric move, lunge jumps lead to bladder pressure as well . . . which can mean leaks. A fast solution: “Simply take the jumping out and walk your lunges,” recommends Dunlop.
Jumping rope is a lot of fun and great for your calves, but not so much for your bladder. You’re constantly jumping—no pause whatsoever. To work the same muscles (but without the awesome cardio boost), “try a relevé,” says Dunlop. “Lift up on your toes bringing your heels off the floor. Lower back down and repeat.”
RELATED: 4 Common Pee Problems and How to Treat Them
How to prevent stress incontinence and still work out
Stress incontinence can be attributed to weakened pelvic floor muscles, and one way to strengthen those muscles is by doing kegels. (As you probably know, kegels can make a difference in your sex life too). To do them, Dunlop advises that you “imagine you have to go to the bathroom and want to stop it mid-stream. Tighten and hold for 5 seconds, then release. Eventually try to hold for up to 10 seconds or more.”
You can also try pelvic tucks. Lie on your back with a neutral spine, then tilt your pelvis forward to engage your lower abdominal muscles. “Focus on moving your pelvis from neutral and scooping it forward,” says Dunlop. “Many people make the mistake of popping their booty back before tucking forward, which is less effective.” Contract your pelvic floor muscles as you tuck and relax back to neutral.
RELATED: These Are the Moves That Really Make Women Orgasm, According to Science
Another option is to sit on a stability ball or soft chair (at home or at work) and actively pull your pelvic area up and away form the ball or chair cushion. “This will train your muscles to be more active in holding up the bladder, so it doesn’t descend as far when you jump or heavily contract your abdominal area during exercise,” Olson explains.
Elevator exercises can help too. Says Olson: “Pull up your crotch area as far as you can and hold for 10 seconds. Then pull it up about 75% as far as it can go and hold, then 50% as far, and 25% as far. Repeat this sequence several times. It precisely trains your pelvic floor and can actually cause you to break into a sweat.”
I pee a little when I’m laughing, coughing or sneezing; is that normal?
This is a very common question women ask of their doctors. Unfortunately, some women who have leakage don’t ask the question because they have been led to believe that it is normal, or that nothing can be done. This question is so important because it opens the door for education about your body and an opportunity to improve your wellbeing and quality of life at any age.
What is normal?
Urinary leakage with activity or cough is common but not a normal state of being. I often point out to women when they ask this question that it would be similar to asking “I need reading glasses now to see the small print; is that normal?” It is common for eyesight to change, especially as we get older, but it is NOT something that we consider a normal state or expect you to just “live with.” Similarly, leakage of urine with activity, coughing or laughing is common in women (as many as one in four or more as we age), but it is most certainly not something that is normal that you just have to live with.
Why does this happen?
Urine leakage that is caused by a sudden increase in abdominal pressure, such as occurs with a cough or strenuous exercise, is called ‘stress urinary incontinence.’ Normally urine only leaves the body when you are purposefully emptying your bladder. With stress urinary incontinence, urine leaves the bladder unexpectedly at the time of a cough, sneeze, laugh, jump, etc. This happens because the strength of the bladder outlet – the urethra, is weaker and no longer is able to keep the outlet closed during the increase in pressure on the bladder. This is not normal and it indicates a weakness of the ‘door.’ This weakness can progress over time, making the leakage more and more common.
Weakening of the urethra can be caused by loss of strength of the supporting muscles known as the pelvic floor muscles. These are the same ones that you squeeze when trying to keep urine from passing. Another cause of weakness of the bladder ‘door’ is a loss of strength of the connective tissue which supports the urethra and lower bladder. This connective tissue acts like a strong hammock that keeps the urethra and bladder in the best position. When the pelvic floor muscles become weak or the hammock support loses its strength, stress leakage can occur.
What can be done?
First of all, whether to do something or nothing is up to the woman who is experiencing the leakage. For some women, an infrequent small leak of urine is not bothersome, and does not feel worth the effort of intervening. However, this leakage indicates that the door is weak, and some women may wish to be proactive and try to avoid any worsening of the problem.
Preventative strategies could include strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor with Kegel exercises. It could also include avoiding unnecessary strain to the pelvic floor support tissues (the hammock). Most women are not aware that certain daily life habits can breakdown supportive tissue to the pelvic organs and the urethra little by little over time. Examples of this are frequent bouts of constipation with straining, a chronic deep cough that puts frequent pressure against the pelvic support system, or heavy or improper lifting techniques. All of these generate stress and strain on the connective tissue and can cause further loss of support. Thus, treating constipation or a chronic cough, avoiding unusually heavy lifting, and learning how to lift correctly are all things that can prevent further loss of support to the urethra.
In some cases, the leakage is bothersome enough that a woman will ask her doctor about it, or even see a healthcare provider just for this purpose. Multiple options exist for treating bothersome leakage, including formal pelvic floor exercises with a trained physical therapist, as well as nonsurgical and surgical support to the urethra to prevent leakage. Before deciding on a treatment, you should feel well-informed about the risks and benefits of all of the options in order to make the best choice for you.
If it is bothering you, talk to your doctor about it. Do not manage the leakage by avoiding healthy activities like running or jumping in order to stay dry. This deprives you of the important vigorous activity that the rest of your body needs and is so important to general health and wellbeing. Just know that while leakage is common, is not a normal state and should be treated if it limits you from being the healthiest you can be.
Make an appointment to talk to a gynecologist about leakage or others issues today!
I Pee When I Sneeze—What Can I Do About It?
For many women, peeing while sneezing is more than a common occurrence—it’s a frequent annoyance and often an embarrassment that many experience in silence.
What they might not realize is that urinary incontinence is normal: About a quarter to a third of Americans experience it. And though many might think it’s a permanent issue, it’s treatable.
Stress incontinence, a form of urinary incontinence, happens when physical activity such as coughing, sneezing or running puts pressure on the bladder, explains Samantha Pulliam, MD, director of UNC Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery.
Stress incontinence is caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles or other physical changes in the body. For women, bodily changes such as pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or hysterectomies are main causes of stress incontinence.
Other risk factors include:
- Being female
- Being overweight
- Family history
- Other diseases, such as diabetes or neurological conditions and illnesses that cause chronic coughing or sneezing
So, what can you do to treat stress incontinence? Dr. Pulliam recommends the following treatments to help prevent leakage:
A pessary is a ring device that sits in the vagina. “The vagina is just underneath the urethra, so the pessary pushes underneath the urethra to support it,” Dr. Pulliam says. With this extra support, there is an increased outflow from the urethra and a corrected angle between the urethra and bladder, both of which can help stop leakage.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
“Seeing a physical therapist can help to ensure that the pelvic floor muscles are working properly and are strong enough either to inhibit leakage or to calm the bladder to resist an urge,” Dr. Pulliam says. Along with this more formal training, at-home Kegel exercises can also help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
This procedure involves injecting a bulking substance, such as collagen, around the urethra to either close a hole or build thickness in the urethral wall. This added thickness helps the urethra withstand extra pressure from physical activity.
That said, the effects of urethral bulking aren’t as long-lasting as other treatment options, Dr. Pulliam says. As a result, this procedure is used less often and is usually reserved for older patients.
If the above treatments don’t help, surgery could also be an option. Dr. Pulliam says, in most cases, surgery should only be explored if less invasive treatments don’t work.
Surgical options for urinary incontinence include:
- Vaginal sling procedure, where a piece of tissue or synthetic material is used to create a sling around the urethra, which helps keep the urethra closed
- Sacral nerve stimulation, which requires implanting a neurostimulator device in the body to help control muscle function
Talk with your doctor about which treatment is right for you.
Do you need to see a urogynecologist? Find one near you.
Samantha Pulliam, MD, is director of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery and an assistant professor at the UNC School of Medicine.
Plus, according to Gelman, most people are doing Kegels incorrectly.
“I do this for a living and it’s really hard for me to even do a Kegel,” she said. “I have to focus and really think about it. So someone telling me they’re doing a Kegel while they’re driving I’m kind of like, let’s see.”
All of this is to say that dysfunctions in the pelvic floor aren’t a shameful thing, and they’re not even rare, but they certainly aren’t normal and can be treated.
“A lot of these issues that are common have now been normalized,” Gelman said. “I would say that it’s definitely very common for people to have incontinence. I see so many people who have pain with sex. Instead of being like, oh, this is common, they’re just like, oh, well that’s normal. It shouldn’t be someone’s normal. definitely something that can be addressed.”
There’s a lack of conversation about things that we perceive as being TMI, or taboo to talk about in public spaces. Treatment exists for these issues, and although in more rural places it might be harder to find a provider, seeking help and talking about what’s going on with your body is never a bad idea.
Do you have any TMI questions, or just a good gross story? Tell me about them!
Reach Special Sections Co-editor Charlotte Houston at [email protected] Twitter: @choustoo
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There used to be a running joke in my house: every time I’d laugh too hard or sneeze, I’d have to run upstairs, and my kids would yell, “Mommy peed in her pants again!” Through CrossFit, specifically from doing heavy squats and core work, it’s helped to strengthen my pelvic floor, similarly to how kegels work. My legs, butt, and abs are the strongest they’ve ever been, and apparently so are my inner lady muscles. Now, I can sneeze without having to bee-line it to the bathroom.
But one exercise that I recently started working on has brought back that unexpected, embarrassing little annoyance — double unders. It’s a more intense form of jumping rope that involves letting the rope pass underneath your feet twice in between each jump instead of just once as with regular jumping rope. They’re super fun to work on, not only for the physical challenge to see how many I can nail in a row, but also because they make my heart rate soar, so I know I’m working hard.
The only issue is, once I got eight or more in a row, pee would just leak out of me. The first time it happened in class, I ran to the bathroom. Then I picked up my rope and started jumping again. But even with an empty bladder, I ended up peeing a little. I was like, “Where the heck is this pee coming from?”
After that, feeling flustered and worried about Niagara Falls pouring down my leggings, I avoided double unders for a few weeks, until I talked to some other CrossFit moms about it. Every single one of them nodded their heads up and down, totally relating. Some said it happens when they do box jumps, too, and another woman said it happens every time she does heavy squats. It’s just one of those amazing “gifts” to remind us of motherhood.
Knowing I wasn’t alone made me feel 99 percent better. The other one percent came from wearing a pantyliner and dark pants every time I went to class. It was slightly annoying, but much better than dealing with the fear of my bladder exploding during class and having a rush of pee trickle down my leg into a puddle on the floor.
Now, I always make time to hit the ladies room before a workout involving jumping rope; sometimes I even take a pee break during a workout if I need to. But what’s really helped me come to terms with peeing while exercising is that I changed my whole perspective. I focus on the fact that I’m grateful for being a mom to two healthy, kind kids, that I have the physical ability to take part in CrossFit classes. Compared to other things that could happen, a little pee is nothing!
Image Source: Getty / PeopleImages
Why You Pee When Working Out & How to Stop Urinary Leakage During Exercise
If you leak urine while jumping, lifting, throwing, or running, then you are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction. Urinary incontinence is a common and fixable condition, but it requires that you take action just as you would with any other injury.
It is important to recognize that bladder leakage during physical activity is common, but not normal.
Recently, leaking urine has become somewhat of a badge of honor in certain fitness circles. The party line for some high intensity fitness programs has become “if you aren’t peeing, then you aren’t lifting enough”.
The long term effects of exercising in a manner that forces urine leakage can have serious and long lasting side-effects.
Causes of Urine Leakage While Running or Working Out
Urine leakage during physical activity is a product of imbalance of forces within the thorax. Specifically, forces in the body above the bladder exceed the strength of the pelvic floor muscles.
This may be due to weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, which can happen as a result of heavy impact on the body. This is commonly seen in gymnasts, runners, or athletes who jump repetitively such as track and field athletes or basketball players.
Leakage can also be caused by holding your breath during exertion, as is commonly seen in weight lifters or during high force activity such as swinging a bat in softball or racquet in tennis.
The reason is the thorax is like a high pressure canister. The lid to this canister is the diaphragm and the pelvic floor is the base. If you hold your breath during exertion such as lifting, the pressure remains in the thorax and is thrust downward onto the pelvic floor.
This pressure is relieved by exhaling during the exertion move, and the pressure is released upward and out of the thorax.
Image via RHP Physiotherapy
How to Treat Stress Incontinence While Exercising
In order to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, it is necessary to contract them properly, and train them to be strong enough to withstand the forces that your activity demands from your body.
There are many ways to do a Kegel, however if you are leaking urine, it is important to strengthen the muscles specifically around the urethra.
This is done by imagining that the urethra is a telescope, and you want to pull that telescope up and into your body. Do not contract the gluteal muscles (your butt, i.e. the muscles that you sit on).
You should feel the contraction similar to the action of shutting off the flow of urine. Practice isolating these muscles while lying down, sitting, and standing. Begin by holding the contraction for 5 seconds, for 10 repetitions, 3 times per day.
Training Your Pelvic Floor With Weights
Progress these by adding resistive training and performing kegel exercises with weights. The keys to gaining pelvic floor strength are consistency and using progressive resistance.
Without consistently training your pelvic floor muscles, you will lose the strength and control you’ve gained. Without using progressively heavier weights, it is difficult to make significant improvements without doing 80-100 kegels per day, which is often the prescribed regimen.
The problem with doing that many kegels each day is that it takes a great deal of time and energy, and you have to be dedicated to do it!
The very nature of having the weight inside the vagina cues the pelvic floor muscles to activate and contract to keep the weight from falling out. This not only improves strength but awareness of the muscles themselves.
You can train the pelvic floor muscles for improved endurance, which is needed for most sports, as the muscles can fatigue with physical activity and result in leakage.
Endurance training is done by placing the weight into the vagina, getting dressed, and performing easy, light chores such as showering, dishes, or preparing an easy meal.
3 Kegel Exercises to Do to Help Stop Urine Leakage During Physical Activity
Strength training for heavy exertion such as lifting, or power moves can be trained by placing the weights and performing various exercises. This can be done by doing the following with the weight in the vagina:
Heel Raises: 3 sets of 10 Repetitions
When we jump or shift weight, we often do so off the ball of the foot. This exercises begins to train the body to contract the pelvic floor when body weight is shifted onto the ball of the foot.
Standing Side Kicks:
Stand up tall and bring one leg out to the side. Repeat 10x, perform 3 sets, then switch.
Perform a 45 degree squat, 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Perform a kegel while gently pulling the cord away from your body, forcing your muscles to hold the weight inside in an eccentric contraction.
Though this does not seem like much of an exercise, the nature of elongating the muscles while they contract is very challenging for them. 1 set of 10 repetitions is sufficient.
Add in extra body movement including exercises like yoga, pilates, a brisk walk, elliptical machine, or anything that encourages your legs and deep core muscles to activate for approximately 15 minutes with the weight placed.
Above all, remember that the same training that is used on other muscles can be expected of the pelvic floor muscles. You won’t be cured of urinary leakage overnight, but after a few weeks you will notice results.
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To remedy this, doctors commonly recommend that you regularly tighten your pelvic floor muscles — the ones that help you control the flow of urine — commonly known as Kegels.
However, I’ve found that doesn’t always work. I’m a Kegels fanatic and do Reformer Pilates at least four times a week, and I still deal with stress incontinence.
“Everyone wants a magic exercise: just do a plank, just do a Kegel, just do a squat,” adds physical therapist Julie Wiebe. “Creating balance in the system is a bit more complex than just clenching something.”
Think outside the Kegel
Stress incontinence can put a kink in your workouts, but Kegels aren’t necessarily the way to fix it — especially because the pelvic floor is only one piece of the puzzle. To solve the problem, we have to think about coordinating the work of the group of muscles that control continence, according to Wiebe.
“The system that controls leaks is the same system that creates a strong core: the diaphragm, the pelvic floor and your deep abdominal. So learning to coordinate the action of these three is critical to balancing the continence mechanism,” says Wiebe. “That means, how you breathe and how much you clench your abs or your pelvic floor are important.”
More: 3 Tips for Managing an Irritable Bladder
First, she recommends finding your true pelvic floor with this little trick.
www.youtube.com/embed/GZqrh7iniooThen, try a breathing trick known as a piston, which helps women coordinate the work of the muscles differently than a Kegel.
“Learning to let go of your abs and allow the diaphragm to come down for a big breath is a good first step to set up the recoiling action of a piston,” says Wiebe.
www.youtube.com/embed/mLFfZfm7O7c”Breaths should not be up — chests lifting, shoulders rising on inhale — this often occurs when women are holding their abs tight. See how your breath changes when you relax your abs.”
The breath should be lower, with movement of your rib cage below your breasts. This kind of breath will be more connected with your pelvic floor.
“See if you can feel your pelvic floor lower on this new inhale, and lift on exhale. When it lifts on the exhale, that is when you should challenge it on an exertion in fitness,” Wiebe adds. “So I teach my patients, ‘Blow before you go.’ Exhale, feel the pelvic lift, then continue the exhale as you exert or lift. Then let the pelvic floor lower again as you inhale between reps.”
Once you have found it, practice allowing to rise (on exhale) and lower (on inhale). “Using that leaning, ski jump idea while you’re running and maintaining a pistoning breath will help kick up the system and ease leaks,” Wiebe adds.
More: What’s Your ‘Peehavior’? It’s Time We Discuss Bladder Health Openly
Other ways to fight stress incontinence
In addition to strengthening exercises, try these other tips to alleviate stress incontinence.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time. “Sitting with poor posture weakens the pelvic floor muscles,” adds O’Neill. “Take breaks and walk around many times during the day.”
- No more “just in case” peeing. Most people, if they are leaking, think that going to the bathroom prior to exercising will reduce the leaking, according to O’Neill. “Although this may seem like a logical tactic, it is signaling the brain to tell the bladder to empty before it has achieved its necessary fullness,” she advises. “Your bladder will prematurely need to empty more not less.”
- Stay hydrated before and during your workouts. Some people think that if they drink less, they will need to pee less. The opposite is true, according to O’Neill. “Your urine becomes more concentrated,” she says. “This actually irritates the bladder, making it feel that it needs to be emptied more.”
A version of this article was originally published in July 2014.
I’ve been through two pregnancies and two natural childbirths, so I was used to accidentally peeing a little while coughing or sneezing. It was actually a running joke in my house. If I sneezed and went upstairs, my kids would yell, “Hey Daddy! Mommy peed herself again!” My son even offered to let me borrow one of his pull-ups. Um, thank you? Sigh. It’s one of those unexpected little joys of motherhood that no one warns you about.
And it doesn’t just end with coughing on a full bladder. When I tried jumping on the trampoline with my kids at the gym and pee just fell out of me, I wasn’t too psyched, but I thought, “OK, no more trampolines.” It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to avoid them for the rest of my life. No problem.
The real issue started when I signed up for CrossFit. Apparently jumping rope is even worse than jumping on a trampoline, and I found out the hard way. I had to do four rounds of three exercises, one of which included 50 single unders (regular jumping rope). I didn’t even jump 20 times before I felt pee leaking out of me and into my underwear. I tried doing one massive Kegel to help hold it in, but it did absolutely nothing. I couldn’t just stop the workout. I had to keep going. Yeah, I’m pretty sure my entire bladder (although not quite full) emptied and dripped down my inner thighs. All I can say is I’m so glad I was wearing black leggings that day.
Well, crap! Jumping rope was pretty common in CrossFit, so what was I going to do? After that class, I went up to the coach, who thankfully was a woman, and I asked, “Do you have kids?” She replied, “Yes, why?” I whispered “Well, how do you not pee yourself while jumping rope?” She laughed and said, “If you look around the room before a workout that involves jumping rope, you’ll see every single mother run to the bathroom.”
OK. I could handle that. Our gym posts the workouts online the night before, so I could prepare myself. I wore black leggings, had only a few sips of water before class, and made sure to hit the restroom before the workout. That kind of worked. I peed less, so that was a good thing.
But one day after a few months of CrossFit, I was jumping rope and realized I forgot to pee beforehand. I was floored. I did not pee myself. Not one drop. So what was the cure?
I came from a running and yoga background, but with CrossFit the one thing that was new to me was lifting heavy weights. All those heavy squats and core work are what strengthened my pelvic floor, similar to how Kegels work. My legs, butt, and abs are the strongest they’ve ever been, and apparently so are my inner lady muscles. It’s liberating! Not peeing while exercising makes me so happy, and it’s a surprising little reward for all my hard work.
So bring on jumping rope, jumping jacks, and even sneezing while jumping on a trampoline! It’s good incentive to keep on lifting heavy, not only to continue getting stronger but to also keep my pee where it belongs.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryna Hancock
Incontinence when running is embarrassing, but it can be resolved.
Leaking pee while running. It’s that thing that most of us have experienced but none of us wants to talk about. So we suffer silently and try to hide the embarrassing wetness. The truth is that as common as it is to suffer from incontinence while running, it isn’t ‘normal.’
Prior to the birth of my first child, I don’t think I ever leaked pee. I could do jumping jacks, run stadium stairs and sprints without a care in the world. But after the birth of my first child I noticed some leaking. It eventually went away with time, so I thought nothing of it. It was during my second pregnancy that the leaking took on a life of it’s own. As I ran through pregnancy number two I had absolutely no bladder control and it was even worse postpartum: the leaking wasn’t exclusive to running. I coughed, I leaked. I sneezed, I leaked. I laughed, I leaked. Except it was no laughing matter.
I tried wearing pads while running. Just shy of dehydrating myself, I tried to ensure that my bladder was empty before runs. Yet nothing was helping. Even my Doctor was no help, “It’s pretty common,” she said. “Don’t run so hard.” That was not an option. I like to run and I like to run hard.
I went back to my midwife and she suggested a physical therapist. At the time I couldn’t quite see the connection between the two: how would physical therapy help my leaking? The truth is that physical therapy (aside from surgery) is one of the only things that can provide resolution to incontinence issues. And for me it has: three kids later I no longer leak while running.
Here are four steps that helped me get to a place where I can run leak free:
- See a Physical Therapist. With a little research you can find a physical therapist in your area that specializes in Women’s Health. The PT can perform an internal exam that will fully assess weakness in your pelvic floor and any imbalances you might have. Sounds intrusive and scary. But it isn’t. In fact, information can be empowering and once you know what’s going on you can take steps to fix it.
- Small Moves. Strengthening your pelvic floor is not a high intensity workout, but if you want to continue with high intensity workouts it is critical that you take the time for these small moves. Some of the moves suggested by my physical therapist started with breathing exercises to get the diaphragm and pelvic floor working together. Kegels, ab bracing, bridge poses and other drills taught me to activate and strengthen the muscles of my pelvic floor.It’s more about becoming aware of small stabilizing muscles and learning to activate those than it is about getting in a blood pumping workout.
- Take a Hike. Hiking is a great way to activate and strengthen your hip and glute muscles. The activity is slow enough that you can focus on form and activating the correct muscles and coordinating your breathing. It is also low impact, while providing a good cardiovascular workout. During my return to running after having my third child I started with hiking before progressing to uphill running.
- Slow Down. Those can be hard words for a runner to hear. But taking things slow, cutting back on high intensity training until you’ve resolved your leaking issues is the best way to make sure your not working against yourself as you try to strengthen your pelvic floor. When we run faster our form often breaks down as our body tries to compensate for weakness and imbalances in our bodies. Slowing down allows you to continue to run and rehabilitate your pelvic floor, so that you’ll have leak-free miles in the future.
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