A weak bladder can occur for a number of reasons, which can include pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, constipation, nerve damage and menopause. As a consequence, those who suffer from incontinence may avoid taking regular exercise such as walks, running and other activities due to fear of leakages.
If you worry about incontinence when exercising, you are certainly not alone. According to a scientific review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, 30% of women who exercise experience a urine leak during at least one type of exercise. However, an evening run does not have to be accompanied by fear and worries of your incontinence ruining the experience.
We have put together some lifestyle changes and steps you can make to ensure your next run is worry-free.
1. Find pads and pants that offer freedom of movement
The market for incontinence products has gradually become more versatile, now offering products which are specially designed to provide maximum discretion and comfort. Incontinence and running do not have to be unpleasant or accompanied by bulky products.
Before you go on your next run, some products you can try may include the following:
Depend Active-Fit are specifically designed for active people. The pants are designed to feel and look exactly like normal underwear. The FIT-FLEX Protection provides you with extra comfort while you are moving and ensures a smooth, sleek look for complete discretion. The pants also feature a Dry-Lock Core which will lock away moisture and odours for all day protection, keeping you feeling confident during your run. A smooth, elastic waistband is also included in the product to provide comfort and increased freedom of movement.
A collection of all-in-one disposable incontinence products suitable for people with moderate urinary and faecal incontinence, specially designed for those with a more active lifestyle. The style and discrete nature of the pads mean they are among the best incontinence pads for runners.
The pads include a Natural Odour Protection technology designed to reduce the risk of unpleasant smells and provide you with extra confidence during use.
A super absorbent core is built into the pad to provide maximum comfort during use and provide consistent skin dryness, and a soft polyethene waterproof back sheet is also built into the pad to further aid containment.
Positioning tapes and two re-sealable fixation tapes are included in the product for ease of fitting. Finding the correct size is extremely important, to do this you should measure your hip and waist size, and whichever is larger should be used as a reference for choosing your ideal size.
ID Pants Fit Feel are pull up pants designed to allow you to maintain your independence and enjoy life to the full. They offer an ideal solution for managing light to moderate urinary incontinence. Easy to use, ID Pants Fit Feel are designed for users with an active lifestyle and can be worn and taken off like any regular underwear.
2. Regulate your fluid levels
If leaking during your runs is a common thing, it is useful to adjust your fluid intake slightly from the habits you are used to. For example, if you are drinking water half an hour before your run and this often leads to a leaky bladder, try drinking water closer to the time you start running. Alternatively, try pushing your last cup of water before your run back to an hour or longer before you start running and find out if this helps.
Although incontinence worsening during exercise is common, everybody is different. It is vital to keep adjusting your routine until you find a way of staying hydrated yet leak-free that works for you.
It is also important to avoid caffeine before heading out on your next run. Caffeine is a diuretic, stimulant and an incontinent bladder’s worst enemy. Though you may be craving a strong coffee or energy drink as a pre-run boost, try to resist the urge and increase your chances of staying dry during your run.
3. Consider the medication you are taking close to leaving the house
Runners who take painkillers such as aspirin, or ibuprofen, especially in runners who take high doses, are more likely to experience G.I. distress, according to Pfeiffer. A study by Creighton University in Omaha concluded that aspirin and ibuprofen intake when running, cause the increased fluid flow to the intestine, and can indeed promote incontinence. Other medications and supplements such as sodium bicarbonate and citrate are likely to cause incontinence when running.
4. Talk to a physical therapist
A physical therapist is someone who specialises in incontinence or women’s health and can help diagnose urinary incontinence and also determine if a referral to a physician is necessary. If you talk to a physical therapist, they can recommend pelvic floor strengthening exercises, strengthening of other abdominal and hip muscles, discussion of appropriate undergarments and diet recommendations. Physical therapists can also provide you with education about behaviour change and ways to decrease incontinence frequency.
Remember… running does actually strengthen pelvic floor muscles and can help your incontinence problem long term! Follow these tips and remember that there is no need to remove those weekly runs from your schedule.