Do you suffer from bladder leakage when working out? If so, you're not alone. Urinary incontinence is a common issue that female athletes face during exercise, making it difficult to maintain a consistent fitness regimen.
Stress urinary incontinence is not only embarrassing for women, but many either stop exercising altogether or stop participating in the sports or activities they love to avoid this problem. In addition, pelvic floor dysfunction can also lead to pain, so this problem can negatively impact many areas of women's lives.
What is Stress Incontinence?
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is caused when there is a loss of urine during physical activities. Once an increase in abdominal pressure occurs within the bladder, it quickly fills with liquid, leading to incontinence. Some activities that cause SUI include:
How to Manage Bladder Leakage During Exercise
Wondering what steps you can take to help manage your bladder leakage that results from working out? Check out the following six tips below!
1. Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
A weak pelvic floor can make you more susceptible to SUI. Exercising your pelvic floor will strengthen muscles, control your bladder and bowel better, and potentially alleviate discomfort. Learn how to identify the muscles in your pelvis, as well as exercises you can practice to improve your pelvic floor in this blog post.
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, as these devices are inserted into the vagina to lift the bladder by applying compression, thus stopping the cause of leaking.
3. Watch Your Diet
Diet can play a large part in SUI or other pelvic floor disorders. Items such as soda, chocolate, energy drinks, and tea have added caffeine which is a bladder irritant and may cause you to use the restroom more. Similarly, foods with fiber and artificial sweeteners often cause bladder muscle spasms which signal the brain that you may need to use the bathroom, leading to a potential overactive bladder.
4. Empty Your Bladder
This one may seem obvious, but be sure to use the restroom just before any strenuous workout, like running to avoid extra strain on your bladder.
5. Retrain Your Bladder
Try regaining bladder control through set schedules that you and your provider decide upon. And make sure you’re consistent, as bladder retraining may take several months.
6. Wear 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. One of the best short-term solutions include the use of pantyliners, pads, or briefs. Many women will use these products while their provider works on finding a better long-term option.
Visit Metro OBGYN if You're Experiencing Bladder Leakage
Don’t let incontinence stop you from enjoying your life to the fullest. Most people are hesitant to disclose to their doctor that they are suffering from bladder leakage, but it’s nothing to be embarrassed about and is more common than you might think. Schedule an appointment with one of our experienced providers!