Hmmm…. How to put this delicately
Do you often find yourself leaking urine while exercising? Squat… leak a little, overhead press… leak a little more, jump… forget about it, pants are soaked!
If this describes YOU, know that you are not alone. You likely fall into the 25% of women between the ages of 18-44, or the 44% of seniors, or the 33% of female athletes who experience varying levels of incontinence. These astounding statistics represent only those who have come forward to report symptoms. If you are skeptical, just take a look at YouTube (search “girl peeing while lifting weights”). You will find solidarity; everything from women admitting to leaking during exercise, to videos of complete loss of bladder control while executing a heavy lift. Today, there are even T-shirts glorifying urinary leakage during workouts in order to empower women and banish feelings of shame.
It is wonderful that women are finally coming forward to bring this previously taboo topic out into the open. Just last week, Kate Winslet explained that she no longer jumps on trampolines for this very reason. Leaking when exercising, sneezing, or coughing is so normal that Winslet’s admission was received with more “it’s nice to know she’s normal” reactions than surprised ones. Yet, shockingly, statistics show that women will wait, on average, 6.5 years before reporting incontinence, because as normal is it may be, women rarely speak of it, even to their medical providers. It’s no wonder urinary (and fecal) leakage has generated a $28 Billion dollar industry in the US alone.
If you are leaking while exercising, it is likely that your pelvic floor muscles are just not firing properly in order to withstand the load. We call this Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) which describes urinary leakage that occurs particularly with physical activity or exertion. While this issue is extremely common, it is not something you want to leave untreated. Whether you are losing a few drops or outright “peeing your pants”, help is out there, in some cases, right around the corner.
First you must understand that the pelvic floor muscles are just that: muscles. Therefore, you can strengthen them like any other muscle. We spend hours in the gym attempting to perfect every muscle in the body, but somehow forget the pelvic floor, a keystone to our overall health and fitness.
The tricky part is that you can’t easily see these muscles. As a matter of fact, you may not even be able to feel them. That is where Pelvic floor rehabilitation comes to the rescue. At EMH, we teach you how to identify, isolate and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to restore normal function. We then help you integrate pelvic floor techniques back into your exercise routine so that you can squat, overhead press, and jump “leak free”.
So at your next holiday party, just think to yourself — 1 in 4 of the women in this room are currently peeing in their pants. Luckily, you don’t have to be one of them.