“I am 6 months post-partum and just recently started running again. But whenever I do, I wet myself! I love to run, and I don’t want to give it up. What can I do to prevent this embarrassing condition?”
It looks like you’re experiencing exercise-induced incontinence, a form of stress incontinence. It means that urinary leakage occurs during any physical activity that puts pressure onto your abdomen. Bladder leakage while running affects 30-40% of women, especially after childbirth. But despite its prevalence, there’s no need to give up the exercises you love. There are non-surgical, at-home treatments that can greatly diminish incontinence symptoms.
The easiest way to control bladder leakage during exercise is to wear an incontinence pad. Worn on your own underwear, bladder control pads are superior to menstrual pads because they help neutralize odor, balance pH, and absorb liquid faster. Available in several sizes and absorbencies, Poise pads are great for unexpected urine leaks.
If you are looking to not only control leaking, but also eliminate it, try performing Kegel exercises to improve your urinary control. The popular Step Free Vaginal Cones are a great Kegel exerciser that gradually helps strengthen your weak pelvic muscles. Vaginal weights work by inserting a small, weighted cone into your vagina (like a tampon). To hold the weight in, simply flex your pelvic floor muscles. As you progress, increase the weight and your activity level.
The Kegelmaster is another Kegel exerciser that uses gradual tension to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles. To use, insert the device into your vagina, and then press down against the spring action levers. You can increase the tension strength as your muscles get stronger. Another added benefit of the Kegelmaster is that it can lead to greater sexual pleasure!
With incontinence pads and Kegel exercisers, you don’t have to give up running. You can also ask your doctor how you can manage an active lifestyle to help improve bladder control.