Leaking or increased pelvic heaviness with running, jumping, and walking fast are common postpartum, but, also occur in women that have never been pregnant or in men post-prostatectomy.
Here are some strategies that will help keep you dry when you are exercising! They have to do with managing and reducing pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and structures so that you can enjoy pushing your body further, faster, and harder without worrying about leaks and discomfort.
Tips to prevent leaking while running and jumping:
- Bend and flex your hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
- This allows other areas of your body to absorb impact.
- If you are lacking range of motion or flexibility in any of these joints, working on them will help.
- Relax your pelvic floor
- Relaxing your pelvic floor when you are leaking or about to leak is very hard and seems like a really dumb idea – but that is exactly what you have to do.
- This will reduce impact on your pelvic floor by letting the muscles and tendons of the pelvic floor absorb some impact.
- It will also allow your pelvic floor to work in coordination with the rest of your body instead of being stuck in one position the whole time.
- Lean forward
- Flex forward slightly from your hips or imagine that you are propelling yourself forward.
- This will divide the force into different directions and reduce the downward force.
- Rotating through your trunk, swinging your arms and staying loose is going to absorb force and again reduce it going directly downward into your pelvic floor.
- Holding your breath while doing any of the above is almost impossible and will make your body stiff. Breathing allows the normal movement of your pelvic floor as well as allowing your trunk to rotate.
- Look at your fluid intake and bowel habits
- If you are constipated, maintaining continence is harder simply because there is more pressure on your bladder from stool sitting in your rectum.
- If you are drinking bladder irritants such as drinks that are carbonated, acidic, or contain caffeine (tea, juice, soda, seltzer water, coffee, alcohol) then your bladder will be more overactive and result in more likely incidents of incontinence.
- Not drinking enough water will also result in more acidic urine sitting in your bladder and irritating it , so make sure you are drinking enough (but not an excessive amount) of water.
- Use a tampon or an over the counter pessary You can use them just when exercising if that is the only time you need the support.
- Use a pad for incontinence – think of it as a bridge to being able to not use one in the future. You are using one so you can try the above things without worrying about leaks. You have to be able to feel confident to breathe and rotate and relax and if you are concerned that you are leaking you won’t be able to.
If you need help staying dry while returning to the activities you love, pelvic floor physical therapy can help. Email us email@example.com or call us at 914-768-3802. We offer free 15 minute phone consultations to answer any questions you may have.