You can tell comfort is significant for athletes and exercise buffs because of all the specialty clothes and shoes made just for them. The leakage of urine while running is an embarrassing condition that many women endure. In fact, 30 to 40 percent of women experience urinary incontinence when they exercise.
Stress-induced urinary incontinence, or SUI for short, is often associated with getting older or reaching menopause. There are other causes of SUI and some are easier to deal with than others. Recent childbirth, an infection or drinking too many beverages containing caffeine or alcohol can weaken your pelvic floor muscles or weaken the sphincter muscle that surrounds your urethra. There are some other causes that could require medical attention. Do not attempt to fix the problem before consulting your doctor. There is no need to be embarrassed as she has probably come across this before in many patients.
SUI occurs when weak urethra muscles allow urine to leak during times of physical stress. When you have SUI, the valve-like muscles have enough strength to hold back urine until the pressure of exercise, or other stresses, on the bladder exceeds the strength of the muscle. Leakage, which does not only happen while running, may occur when you cough, sneeze or when you have sex.
See Your Doctor
Sit down with your family physician or your OBGYN. During your visit, you can expect to take a test or two. A simple bladder stress test would likely be the first one. During the test, you will cause stress near your bladder by either coughing or tightening the muscles of your lower abdomen. Your doctor may also perform urodynamic tests, an ultrasound or a cystoscopy. She may also collect a urine sample to send for analysis and suggest exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
An Exercise That May Help
If your doctor recommends strengthening your pelvic floor, she will ask you to perform the Kegel exercise. This exercise consists of contracting and releasing your pelvic floor muscles. To perform this exercise, you must first locate your pelvic floor, which is not too difficult. Stopping your urine midstream is the fastest way to locate your pelvic floor muscles. You will feel them contract when your urine stops flowing. Contract and hold your pelvic floor for five to 10 seconds and then release. Repeating this action will increase its strength.
Lynda Schwartz is a fitness professional who began writing in 2004. She has contributed to "Women's Day" and "Good Housekeeping" magazines, as well as covered fitness and well-being for online publications. Schwartz holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science and health promotion.