Health and Wellness

Exercise Through The Weak Bladder Blues

Exercise is supposed to make you feel good (gotta love those endorphins!), but for many women it can be a source of anxiety and embarrassment. Incontinence is common in women of all ages, and about 27% of women who play sports non-competitively report urinary leakage during exercise. Many women who have issues with leaks accept it as a part of life, up to 30% modify the way they play or quit exercising entirely. But you shouldn’t have to quit something you enjoy just because you have leaks. While talking to your health care provider, these five simple tips to help you avoid them while staying fit.

Exercise and Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stress urinary incontinence, the type of bladder incontinence that most often causes leaks during exercise, is characterized by involuntary leakage of urine because of activity like coughing, jumping, or lifting that increases pressure in your abdomen. High impact sports like basketball and running, also has this effect. If your pelvic floor is weak or damaged your pelvic floor doesn’t function as well and some urine might leak out.

  1. Kegels – A Woman’s Most Essential Exercise

Kegel exercise is the #1 doctor recommended treatment for solving and preventing bladder leaks. From ensuring a healthy pregnancy and childbirth to maintaining control over the bladder, the pelvic floor is one of a woman’s most important muscle groups. Kegel exercisers can help make your routine more effective just like a set of dumbbells helps you build strength in your arms.

2.Visit the Ladies Room before Exercise

Sometimes a weak pelvic floor can make it hard to know if you’ve emptied your bladder fully.  To make sure you’re getting as much urine out as you can, try double voiding: urinate until it feels like you are done, stand up, and sit down to urinate again. Just remember to stay hydrated during exercise as limiting your water intake during exercise is bad for you. Picture

3.Don’t Hold Your Breath

There are many things you can do to protect your pelvic floor during exercise, but one of the most important is to BREATHE. Holding your breath when lifting or sprinting increases intra-abdominal pressure and makes leaks more likely.

4. Go Low Impact (for a little while)

While working with your doctor to strengthen your pelvic floor, it might be worth it to take a break from high intensity and high impact exercise. Sports and exercise that involves a lot of running or jumping – which means jarring and bouncing your bladder and pelvic floor – are more likely to cause leaks. Try swimming or yoga.

5. Lose Weight

Women with a higher BMI are more likely to have issues with leaks during exercise. Extra weight adds pressure to your bladder and urethra and can increase the strain on your pelvic floor. Keep up with your training goals, losing the weight will help the leaks.  Picture

Leaks are not something you have to live with in your daily life nor exercise. Don’t give up the health and happiness that comes with exercise just to avoid leaks. With advice and treatment from your doctor you can get back to all of the activities you love.

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