Many of the patients that pelvic floor physical therapists see for leaking or weakness have…
Urinary leaking during exercise is common, but we should not treat it as normal. Female athletes experience leaking 2-3 times more often than non-athletes. Sports that require higher impact, such as basketball, volleyball, and running have higher risk of leaking. An average of 30% of female athletes report leaking with their sport. This ranges from 0% with low impact sports like golf up to 80% with high impact sports like jumping on a trampoline.
Physical activity is important in our general health and with decreasing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. However, if women are leaking with their preferred exercise, it easier to skip a workout or training session. With these health benefits, it should be important for women to talk to their heath care providers about leaking and ask for a referral to pelvic floor physical therapy.
Especially with urinary leaking with physical activity, the underlying cause is a change in the timing of the pelvic floor and abdominal wall muscles. If the abdominal wall fires before the pelvic floor or if the pelvic floor activation is delayed or sluggish, the pressure on the bladder gets too high and the pelvic floor can’t stop the leak.
In pelvic floor physical therapy, we focus on figuring out where the system is off and how to improve the coordination so that the pelvic floor can stop the leak during the activity. Often, we will ask our patients to bring in a video of them performing the activity that causes the leaking. Then we can look at how your body works and the coordination of the muscles.
Then we can break down the activity into parts to look at how the coordination of the muscles are in each of those sections. From there, we can build an exercise program to improve where the system is not as strong, or the coordination is lacking. As the individual parts improve, the leaking with the activity will improve as well.
The coordination of the pelvic floor and abdominal wall is a dance that can get off beat. When it does, leaking can occur. But with the help of physical therapy, we can help get the dance partners back in step and you back into your workout routine. PT is the gold standard for care regarding incontinence, and will help you stay fit and healthy.
We offer a free 15 minute phone consultation to answer questions and help you feel confident in scheduling with our amazing providers.