Most people think that urine leakage (or incontinence) is inevitable after pregnancy, childbirth, with aging and going through menopause. Although these events can play a role in the weakening of your pelvic floor muscles (which can be the cause of leaking) other factors can also play a role, for example obesity, chronic back pain, frequent straining with constipation or regular, forceful coughing.
Leaking urine becomes a bigger concern when it happens while exercising and can be both off putting and embarrassing. It's a lot more common than people realise so we've put few tips to help control leaks when you exercise.
1. Visit the ladies room before your exercise
This may seem like common sense but will make a big difference in controlling the leaking. Double voiding can be effective (emptying the bladder, standing up and then sitting down and emptying it again).
2. Avoid caffeinated drinks
The caffeine in coffee, tea and juice acts as a diuretic which leads to leaks. It is important to stay hydrated when exercising but water is best.
3. Pick the right exercise – go low impact for a while
High-impact exercise puts pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and can increase leakage. If you want to strengthen your pelvic floor to relieve symptoms, replace jogging and aerobics classes with more gentle exercises such as walking, pilates and yoga until you’ve regained some pelvic floor muscle control
4. Avoid lifting heavy items for example heavy weights in the gym
Lifting puts strain on your pelvic floor muscles so avoid it where possible. When you do need to lift a weight (like a child or gym equipment), tighten your pelvic floor muscles before and during the lift (ask your physio for more information).
5. Exercise Your Pelvic Floor
Daily pelvic floor and core exercises make a huge difference but it is important to do them properly. At Physiofusion we run a specialised pelvic floor muscle workshop where you can learn the correct exercises to do and how to incorporate them into your daily routine. These workshops are taught by a Chartered Womens Health Physiotherapist who is a specialist in this field. Our next workshop is on Saturday 7th March. To find out more about our Pelvic Floor Muscle Workshop please click here.
If you have any questions or queries regarding your pelvic floor health, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01) 607 7104. One of our Chartered Physiotherapists will be happy to have a chat with you regarding any questions you have.
By Audrey Redmond