Why do I leak when I exercise?
Sudden urinary leakage…it happens to both men and women of all ages, and fitness levels. Whether you’re a couch potato, a high school athlete, or a seasoned marathon runner, urinary leakage happens! Unfortunately, leakage is also a popular reason for sidelining well-intentioned individuals from participating in fitness activities.
There’s a science and name behind it: Stress Incontinence. In plain terms, stress incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine brought about by physical ‘stressors’ that contract abdominal or pelvic floor muscles. Triggers can include sneezing, laughing, coughing, childbirth, lifting, running, jumping, and exercise. Obesity, an enlarged prostate, aging, and menopause can also induce leakage. While aging is a factor, it is not a normal part of the aging process. Frankly, not everyone will develop leakage as they age. Medical procedures that affect the pelvic floor can also contribute to urinary leakage. These procedures can include a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate related to prostate cancer), and a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).
When exercising, it’s not always ideal to wear a pad to absorb dripping or leakage, and honestly, who wants to? So before stuffing your runners in the closet, an assessment by an experienced medical professional is recommended. Urologists specialize in the urinary system and are able to suggest several options to help reduce or eliminate leakage. While it might feel a bit embarrassing to discuss leakage with your provider, an initial office visit is pretty straight forward. Visits typically include discussing your medical history, performing a physical and/or pelvic exam, and an in-office urinalysis. These basic steps can help the Urologist determine if additional testing, such as Urodynamics, would be beneficial. Based on these initial findings, methods of treatment might include medications, vaginal cream, a pessary, bulking agents, pelvic floor exercises / rehabilitation, or outpatient surgical options. With all of these solutions available, leakage does not have to control your life or curb your physical activities. The simple step of seeking help is your first step to staying active, and staying dry!
Problems with urinary leakage? Contact Urology Austin to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.