7 ways to stop leaking urine during exercise today!
There’s no reason for you to stop exercising unless your doctor strictly forbade it. We know leaking urine can be embarrassing, no doubt about it, but it is still no reason for you to shy away from a good workout.
There are many ways you can stay in shape without leaking a single drop of urine. This article will not only help you to avoid leaks but will also help you regain your confidence in the gym, or outdoors!
Let’s take a look at 7 ways to stop leaking during exercise and have a chat about what you can do to protect yourself in case a leak does happen
You leak urine because…
If you haven’t gone to a doctor for diagnosis out of fear or whatever circumstance, here’s an idea of why you leak.
You leak urine because you have a condition known as urinary incontinence . This condition causes you to lose control of your bladder or leak urine against your will. This is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles that control the passage of urine.
Pelvic floor muscles are weakened naturally as you age, but it can be accelerated if you are overweight or if you suffer from chronic constipation. Pelvic floor muscles can also be weakened by pregnancy and childbirth, intense exercise, surgery, and bad posture.
When this happens, the muscles in charge of urination fail you and can cause different types of urinary incontinence.
You can leak because of stress incontinence where pressure or stress on the bladder from activities like exercising, laughing, coughing or sneezing causes the bladder to leak. It can also happen suddenly when there’s an intense urge to use the bathroom but you can’t get to once fast enough. That’s called urge incontinence.
Other times it can be because you have overflow incontinence, where you use the bathroom and moments later urine leaks out because your bladder doesn’t empty completely. There’s another type of incontinence called functional incontinence but that’s due to physical disabilities like severe arthritis where a person can’t go to the bathroom fast enough or even unbuckle their pants.
If you leak while you exercise, chances are you have stress incontinence because of the pressure placed on the pelvic floor muscles, or even a combination of stress and urge incontinence or overflow incontinence. When a person has more than one form of incontinence, it is called mixed incontinence.
Weight loss is a great way to manage your incontinence since losing weight around the abdominal region reduces pressure on the pelvic floor. However, during the exercise, you can still leak. This is how you can stop this from happening:
1. Empty your bladder before working out
This is the simplest fix there is and while it may seem too easy to be true, it’s a pretty solid strategy. By emptying your bladder, there’ll be nothing to leak out.
2. Do pelvic floor exercises
Though your pelvic floor muscles have been weakened, you can strengthen it through exercise.
This type of exercise is known as Kegels . Kegels involve contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles at set intervals for a specific amount of time, much like any workout routine. There are different Kegel variations you can try, and you can even incorporate them into your regular workout routines.
By doing so, you’ll regain control of the sphincter muscles that open and shut when it’s time to release and hold urine in the bladder.
3. Modify your exercise
The pelvic floor muscles are not only worked when you do Kegels. Pressure is added and released during certain exercises, especially high impact exercises that involve jumping, skipping or hopping and intense abdominal workouts. This means that for every crunch you crunch, and mile you run, your pelvic floor muscles are being activated.
While it may seem like a good thing, overexertion can work against you as seen in one study where young female athletes experienced pelvic floor deformation and stress incontinence as a result of jump-landing activities. This can lead to weakness and even tightness or stiffness which leads to leaks during exercise.
One way to avoid this effect completely is by refraining from high impact activities. While they may appear to be more effective, there are alternatives that preserve your pelvic floor while helping you to shed pounds.
Another way to avoid leaking during exercise is by adjusting or modifying exercises . A good rule of thumb is to ensure one or both feet are on the ground at the same time. So, where an exercise requires you to jump, for example, jumping jacks, you can modify it with a side step. Where you need to do 12 reps, you can cut it down to 7.
When you reduce the impact on your pelvic floor, you reduce the pressure. Less pressure on your pelvic floor equals fewer chances of leaking. That’s simple math!
4. Drink fewer liquids before and during exercise
Since liquids make you pee, you need to cut down the amount of liquid you drink before and during exercise. This way, your bladder will be less full.
Here are some liquids and foods that you should avoid:
• Water• Alcohol • Soda• Caffeinated beverages (eg coffee, energy drinks)• Citrus fruits (eg oranges, lemons, grapefruit)• Tomatoes • Cranberries
5. Skip spicy foods
If you’re a big fan of spicy food, then it may pain you to hear this but ditch those peppers! They actually irritate the lining of the bladder and will send you to the bathroom more often.
This doesn’t apply to all spicy foods and is a general rule of thumb. If you aren’t willing to cut them from your diet altogether then you can go through a period of trial and error to see which spices and peppers send you to the bathroom and which agree with your incontinence.
6. Wear a pessary
A pessary is a soft vaginal tool used by women to support their pelvic organs. It is usually made of silicone and can take various shapes such as rings, cubes, gellhorn and gehrung, each designed for various stages in prolapse. It is also widely used in women who suffer from urinary incontinence and might be just the solution you are looking for.
Pessaries are great because they’re removable and generally comfortable to use once fitted properly. You can pop it in before going to the gym or keep it in while you go about your daily life. Additionally, ifections from pessaries are rare once it is removed promptly and cleaned.
You can get a pessary from your gynecologist who will fit it for you and show you how to use it or get single-use pessaries over the counter. Medical grade pessaries can be worn for up to 24 hours and are generally better at preventing leaks. Disposable pessaries are not to be used for more than 8 hours at a time and should be used only once.
7. Bladder training
Bladder training is something you can do on your own or with the help of a professional.
First, you will need a bladder diary . In this diary, you’ll need to record the things you eat and drink, how many times you go to the bathroom and when leaks occur. After some time, perhaps two weeks to a month, the data you collected will have to be analyzed to find out what triggers leaks.
You then need to create a bladder schedule where you go to the bathroom fixed times for the day and to even lengthen the time you spend in the bathroom to ensure your bladder is empty. So, for example, you may decide to go to the bathroom for 5 minutes every hour to keep yourself as empty as possible then graduate to 7 minutes every two hours.
In case you still leak…
While the 7 ways we mentioned are effective, leaks may still happen so you need to prepare yourself for that possibility.
So, in case you still leak:
Wear dark, absorbent clothing
Dark clothing makes leaks less noticeable. Black is your bet but you can go for dark greys, burgundies, and violets if you don’t own black leggings or shorts.
The material should also be absorbent so it can wick away moisture quickly before it is noticeable. You may have a hard time finding legging designed for wicking away urine leaks but the ones designed for sweat work in pretty much the same way.
If you wear incontinence products in your underwear such as pampers or pads, you may feel a bit self-conscious because of the bulge or outline. In this case, choose looser fitting dark clothing to make it less noticeable.
Wear incontinence pads or panties
Just as you can find period pads and panties, you can find products for incontinence as well. Each product has its advantages and disadvantages and choosing one all boils down to what you are comfortable with and your needs.
If you work out on say a yoga mat, and your instructor is aware of your issue, you can lay an underpad over the mat to avoid ruining it in case you leak.
Incontinence pads are similar in appearance to period pads however they are more absorbent and offer a snug fit. They also neutralize the smell of urine and dry faster.
Incontinence panties can hold urine and pull the moisture away from the skin that would otherwise cause a rash. Diapers are a step up and are less discrete but offer full protection and are readily available.
Work out at home
If you’re not willing to use an underpad in public and hate wearing pads in the gym, work out at home.
Who doesn’t love the comfort and privacy of their own home? You can buy a few cheap weights off Wish or an exercise bike from Amazon and work out free of cost. With the money you save from your gym membership, you can subscribe to a workout program or have healthy meals delivered to your home.
If you leak, you can change out of your clothes immediately and rinse them out. If you were at the gym you’d have to wait until you get home to clean your clothes and would have to do that dreadful walk of shame to the bathroom to cry in the stall or change your clothes.
See your doctor
If the leaks get uncontrollable it is time to go see your doctor. This way you can get a thorough exam to determine if something else is wrong and get medical treatment for your condition.
You are not alone in this. Many women suffer from urinary incontinence and leaks during exercise. To prevent this from happening to you, you can:
1. Empty your bladder before exercising
2. Do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
3. Modify exercises that put pressure on the pelvic floor
4. Drink fewer liquids before and during exercise
5. Skip the spicy foods
6. Wear a pessary
7. Start bladder training
If you still experience leaks when working out:
- Wear dark, absorbent clothing to avoid embarrassment
- Use incontinence products such as pads and panties•
- Work out at home
- See your doctor