You. are not. alone.
Bladder control problems, often leading to peeing your pants, is more common than you think among women especially. In fact, according to urogynecology specialist Kristin Rooney M.D., more than 15 percent of women are affected by this inconvenient reality. And the older you get, the worse it can become. A 2015 study published by the University of California Davis (https://www.swanstudy.org/urinary-incontinence-problematic-for-many-women-over-40-study-finds/) found that of the 3,000 women who participated in the study, 68 percent of those between the ages of 42 and 64 experienced involuntary peeing at least once a month.
There’s even an official name for it it: Stress urinary incontinence. In short, it happens because your pelvic floor muscles—as well as the ligaments and tendons around the urethra—aren’t getting fired up enough to stop the pee from flowing. Sometimes this just means the urethra doesn’t close off quite enough to stop some mild leaking. Other times, it means urine just flows out as your workout, especially during jumping movements like box jumps and skipping, because extra pressure is placed on your pelvis.
Sadly, if you have given birth to one or more babies, chances are you have an even greater chance of developing urinary incontinence.....So other than always making sure you wear black spandex to hide the inevitable wet spots, and avoid drinking for three hours before your workout (probably not the best option), what can you do? Four options for better pelvic control, and to avoid peeing during a workout, include:
(This doesn’t necessarily mean kegal beeds, however they might work, too).
What this means is doing pelvic floor exercises to help strengthen your pelvic muscles—the deeper muscles under the uterus, bladder and bowel. It’s as simple as focusing on activating your pelvic floor by focusing on pretending to stop urine from coming out, like you would if you were waiting in a long bathroom line and had to go really bad. Contract for 5 seconds and relax. Repeat 10 to 15 times. As you get better at it increase your contraction times. Do this every day for one month and see what changes you notice.
Deadbug holds are also useful. Don’t just hold the position, though. Try to build as much tension into your abdominal and pelvic region as you can as you’re holding the deadbug. 5 sets of 1-2 minutes every day for one more.
For more, check out this video with physiotherapist (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQKR5uLkeUM) Michelle Kenway. She goes through in greater detail how to strengthen the pelvic floor.
- Lose Weight
If you’re overweight, losing weight can make a huge difference to stress incontinence. Basically the extra weight you’re carrying around can serve to weaken your pelvic floor muscles even further, because of the pressure the fatty tissue puts on your bladder. Losing weight is often a simple and immediate solution!
In the meantime, as you’re working on losing weight and strengthening your pelvic floor, some people suggest wearing a tampon as a sort of immediate, quick fix—at the very least to avoid leakage during a workout.
- Surgical Procedure
Though drastic, there is a surgery you can go through to eliminate stress incontinence. Basically the surgery involves adding a mid-urethral sling around the urethra to bring it back into the correct place. The sling then supports the urethra to keep it closed, so you don’t leak when you cough or sneeze, or attempt box jumps at the gym. Generally, though, this option would be for extreme cases.
Read more about the procedure, including the potential risks and benefits, here: (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/in-depth/urinary-incontinence-surgery/art-20046858).
If you’re interested in strengthening your pelvic floor, whether or not you have stress incontinence, come speak with us and we’ll make sure you’re on track and moving in the right direction.