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If you pee your pants when you work out, you aren’t alone. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed by exercise-induced incontinence- it happens to many people. However, there is no need to glorify the act of peeing during a workout. Peeing your pants during exercise more than your neighbor does not make you tougher or stronger. It actually just makes you smell of urine and super uncomfortable. Whether you are a yogi, a crossfitter or a weekend warrior, exercise-induced incontinence is extremely common but not something you have to “just put up with.”
What Is Stress Urinary Incontinence?
Peeing during exercise, or stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is the unintentional loss of urine. Stress incontinence is prompted by physical movement or activity that puts pressure/stress on your pelvic floor muscles. Coughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting are examples of said pressures. If your pelvic floor is not able to sustain the stress, leaking urine is often the result.
Won’t The Incontinence Stop If I Just Do a Whole Bunch Of Kegels?
NO – it won’t. Kegels are not for everyone. Stress urinary incontinence is NOT just about pelvic floor weakness! This can certainly be a contributing factor, but not always. We must consider the whole “pressure system” of the body. It’s necessary to determine what’s happening with your breathing or if there is pressure from poor form. Pelvic organ prolapse, constipation, hormonal and endocrine effects, and genetic/collagen laxity also need to be assessed to determine the reason for your specific type of SUI.
If weakness truly is a contributing factor for your incontinence, kegels may be part of the treatment plan. However, statistics show up to 35-50% of women do not know how to perform a pelvic floor contraction correctly. If you are not able to access the right muscles and perform the contraction appropriately, you may be making the problem worse by performing kegels.
Sounds complicated…. What Is A Long-Term Plan for Treating My Incontinence?
Make an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist to determine exactly what is causing your incontinence. A pelvic floor PT will help determine if you are contracting the right muscles of the pelvic floor and sphincters. Pelvic Floor PT’s assess much more than the pelvic floor – we take a look at how the whole system functions. The pelvic floor does not operate in isolation. We help improve the function of all of the supporting muscles and improve your movement and form for all exercises. This decreases stress/excess pressure at the pelvic floor. Pelvic Floor Pt’s also provide education regarding bowel and bladder habits that can have a major impact on your progress.
Nicole DeBrie, DPT
This blog is here for your help. It is the opinion of a Licensed Physical Therapist. If you experience the symptoms addressed, you should seek the help of a medical professional who can diagnose and develop a treatment plan that is individualized for you. If you enjoyed this blog, check out our website at foundationalconcepts.com for more blog entries and to learn more about our specialty PT practice, Foundational Concepts. Follow us on Twitter @SarahpelvicPT or @Jenn_pelvic_PT and like us on Facebook/Foundational Concepts for updates.