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Do you ever leak when you go for a run? You aren’t alone!
As women, we are more than aware that our gender alone can make things a tad bit more difficult just from the sheer nature of our anatomy. And when it comes to running, that goes doubly. Sure, men deal with chafing and blisters, but do they need 2 sports bras to keep the girls in check? And do they come home with wet underwear from bladder leaks? Most likely a resounding “no” on both counts.
While bladder leaks are common amongst athletic women (especially those who have had children), it doesn’t make the experience any easier. There’s nothing that will kill the running high faster than coming home with wet underwear. But if you experience leaks when you’re running, you’re not alone. In fact, more than 1 in 3 women over 30 experience bladder leaks. Here are some quick facts about what’s happening:
Bladders leaks are often due to Stress Urinary Incontinence
Chances are that your bladder leaks are occurring because of stress urinary incontinence (“SUI”), which is just the fancy medical way of saying that your bladder leaks a little when extra pressure is put on it. This can come in the form of a sneeze, cough, jumping, running, yoga, squats, etc. It is usually first experienced after having a child, but it can also gradually happen with age, especially menopause.
It’s Not the Bladder Causing the Problem
The urethra is surrounded by muscle fibers that normally keep it closed; together with a strong pelvic floor, this keeps urine inside the bladder. However, for women with SUI, the pressure caused during activities like running or sneezing can push down on the bladder. In that moment, that fraction of a second, a weakened urethra can’t stay closed and leakage occurs. For runners, this issue is compounded because the “stress” event can happen multiple times in a short period due to the pounding nature of the sport and the often-lengthy period of time that runners actually run.
You Could Actually Stop the Leaks
So now that you know why you’re leaking when you run, what exactly can you do about it? Well first and foremost, the health of your pelvic floor is of utmost importance. Your pelvic floor includes all the muscles that control your bladder, urethra, vagina, etc. – so exercises like kegels that can help strengthen it are essential. But doing them right is even more important than doing them at all. We strongly recommend having a health care provider explain the correct way to do a kegel, as many women think they are doing them correctly but in fact are not. Pelvic floor exercises can help with the duration and severity of bladder leaks, and are your best bet of getting rid of them for good.
However, while you are working on improving your pelvic floor strength there are things you can do so you can get back to running and stay dry.
Finess is a new over-the-counter product that actually stops leaks before they happen. It’s a soft, small foam patch that gently adheres over your urethra to stop leaks while you run. Why deal with wet underwear or wet pads when you can stay dry completely? While there’s no better feeling than finishing a run in record time, finishing with dry underwear is probably a close second.
Get more information on Finess and see if it’s a good fit for you at www.havefiness.com. If you’d like to try Finess, use the 15% off to Women’s Running readers using code “WRM15” at checkout. Not applicable to subscription orders.