Monday, May 18, 2015

Exercise Induced Urinary Stress Incontinence In Runners

If you have Urinary Stress Incontinence activities like running put "stress" on weaken or prolapsed organs and the bladder leaks.  
According to The International Urogynecological Association, 1 in 3 women suffer from urinary incontinence and as many as 57 percent of these women are between 40 and 60 years old.  These numbers might be higher due to many women remaining undiagnosed.   

Here's what's happening.  The urethra and the bladder are supported by the pelvic floor muscle which contract during certain activities. Weakness of the pelvic floor muscles can be to blame. A Pelvic Organ Prolapse (bulging or herniation) may also be to blame. Several things can weaken your pelvic muscles or prolapse one of the pelvic organs are:
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Age
  • Extra weight
  • Menopause 
  • Genetics

If you are physically active, your daily exercise routine may include plyometric activities that involve jumping, biking and running outdoors, strength training and lifting. These activities can cause bladder leakage at an inconvenient time, outdoors on the road or in public and in front of others.  If your episodes are frequent and noticeable, you may feel forced to limit your exercise regime.  For many active women, it can affect their daily lives and consequently, their passion for exercise. 

The good news is, that it can be treatable and in some cases, preventable.  Non invasive treatments are relatively simple and may just involve some lifestyle changes.  Remember to go to the bathroom before you begin exercising to empty you bladder, cut back on fluids especially caffeine before workouts, (but watch your water reduction in the warmer months).  Learn how to perform Kegels (an exercise for your pelvic muscles) and try making dietary changes.  There are homeopathic and oral medications that can be tried although none have statistically been proven to work. 

BIG NEWS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT!!!  There is a brand new product on the market, called IMPRESSA. While this will not be a cure, it is intended PREVENT leakage by supporting the bladder. 

"Designed to manage Stress Urinary Incontinence, Poise* Impressa* Bladder Supports do not absorb leaks — they help prevent them. And stopping your leaks starts with the Impressa* Sizing Kit. Impressa comes in three different sizes (1, 2 and 3), and the Sizing Kit is designed to help you quickly find your most comfortable and effective internal fit. Each kit includes six bladder supports (two of each size), along with a $4 coupon toward the purchase of a 10-count Impressa package." 

Impressa, will be available, from what I understand, nationwide at Walmart sometime this summer, but you can purchase it on their website NOW. 

If none of these are a viable option, success rates are pretty impressive for a more invasive treatment using a Mid-urethral sling.   A urologist, gynecologist and a urogynecologist (an OB-GYN with training and expertise in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction) may all perform this outpatient procedure using a sling,  that prevents leakage by supporting the urethra and mimics the ligaments that have been weakened. 
It is important to do whatever is necessary to keep our lives in healthy balance and that involves being physically active.  You are not alone in this journey!!!  Keep running strong! 
Photo credit

For more information on Urinary Stress Incontinence and to locate a doctor visit .  
Check with your doctor or gynecologist if you are symptomatic. Urinary leakage can be caused by things other than incontinence.  

Reference: IUGA.ORG Stress Urinary Incontinence. Pelvic Organ Prolapse