Many women engage in exercise for its many benefits, including managing stress and burning calories, but also for pure enjoyment of the activity. Urine leakage, or urinary incontinence, can occur when women run, which may be disruptive and can cause women to give up this healthy activity altogether. In fact, many women are affected by stress urinary incontinence (SUI) while running. SUI is the most prevalent type of urinary incontinence, with prevalence rates of 10-55% in women between ages 15 and 64 years.1 Activities involving repetitive bouncing, such as running, are associated with the highest incidence of incontinence.2 This is because with the impact force of each foot strike travels through the lower limb and to the pelvic floor. This force causes an increase in abdominal pressure (or “stress”), making it harder for the pelvic floor muscles to support bladder function. Having properly functioning pelvic floor muscles is an integral part of maintaining continence, as dysfunction in this muscle layer leads to urinary leakage.
Thankfully, rehabilitation of your pelvic floor muscles is an effective approach to address urinary leakage, instead of wearing a protective liner, or giving up running altogether. Pelvic floor muscle exercise is beneficial in the treatment of SUI in women, and studies have shown up to 70% improvement in symptoms of stress incontinence following appropriately performed pelvic floor exercise.3
If you are interested in learning more about how pelvic floor rehabilitation may be beneficial for you, please check out our website here or book at free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Michelle Payne to find out more.
- Bø K. Urinary incontinence, pelvic floor dysfunction, exercise and sport. Sports Med. 2004;34:451-464.
- Nygaard I, DeLancey JO, Arnsdorf L, Murphy E. Exercise and incontinence. Obstet Gynecol. 1990;75:848-851.
- Price N, Dawood R, Jackson SR. Pelvic floor exercise for urinary incontinence: a systematic literature review. Maturitas. 2010;67(4):309–15.