Girly Stuff

Great idea getting all of these ‘women’s issues’ on the table and talking about them! What I would like to know is: How many other girls suffer from ‘leakage’ when they run and how serious a problem is it for them? I am approaching 50 now and have to wear a panty liner every time I run. Sometimes the leakage is worse than others and I end up wishing I had worn a sanitary towel!! Ugh 😦 Doesn’t matter how often I go to the loo before I run/how empty my bladder is, I still get leakage. I know it’s all down to the strength (or lack of it) in my pelvic floor and that I should be doing regular exercises to strengthen it but just how common a problem is this amongst the girls?


7 thoughts on “Girly Stuff

  1. Well, help me out girls! I have never even heard of this. Gosh, that must be frustrating. I would guess though those pelvic floor muscles are the key, not just for this issue but we should all be doing them for our general strength and health.


  2. I’m a physical therapist in the US and, yes, this is quite common among women, especially (but not always) if you’ve had kids. It’s called stress incontinence if it’s primarly caused by running, jumping, position changes, lauging, sneezing, etc. You’ll have best results if you can find a physio that specializes in “women’s health” and specifically in incontinence, tho the women’s health PT’s usually do. It’s real and for the most part it’s fixable with some very specific weights (they progressions in weight and reps just like biceps and quads do) and exercises for the pelvic floor and whole core… it goes way beyond “kegels” tho that’s a great initial start. sometimes there are dietary changes you can choose to make (caffeine can be an irritant)… if you so desire… just an experiement on that note… personally… i’d have a hard time giving up my cappuccino in the morning… ha ha! you can look things up on the internet, but definitely finding a women’s health PT is the way to go (PT = physiotherapist/physical therapist). Good luck! you’re NOT alone AT ALL!!!!!

  3. I am a Women’s Health Physiotherpait in Australia (as well as being an endurance athlete and mother of 2!) Kristin’s reply above is correct….bladder leakage with an increase in intrabdominal pressure (laugh, cough, sneeze, run, jump, hop) is called stress incontinence and is becoming an ever increasingly more common problem; particularly after pregnancy and birth. It occurs because the pelvic floor muscles (when placed under stress load) are not supporting the neck of the bladder adequately or assisting with keeping the urethra closed, thus resulting in bladder leakage. Prevalence here in Australia is in the order of 40% of women. Urinary urge and any resultant leakage is called urge incontinence and caffeine can be a causative factor. It irritates the inside lining of the bladder, causing the bladder to contract and leakage to occur. Sometimes both of these problems can exist together. An assessment by a WH physiotherapist would be very beneficial as both bladder and bowel function needs to be assessed as well as the function (or lack thereof) of the pelvic floor muscles and an assessment of the postural and deep stabilising muscles of the abdomen. Many of my patients are unable to do a PF muscle contraction and need guidance on how to do them correctly. Many women will activate other muscles (like the gluteals and rectus abdominus) which should remain quiet. The PF exercises will need to be done to improve strength, endurance and timing of the contractions. Bladder function and leakage is monitored during this time. Often, a short period of time away from running is needed to allow the PF to rehabilitate properly (tough but necessary) and then graduated return to full running activity as the bladder copes and the PF regains its function. How to do them? Squeeze and tighten the internal vaginal and anal muscles as if to stop doing a wee or passing wind. Think closure/tightening and internal drawing-inward of all 3 of the openings (urethra, vagina and anus). Count how long you can hold the squeeze for. Then do this in sets of three, three times per day. Also practice quick PF contractions of 1sec on and 1sec off, repeat in reps of 10. Don’t despair….there is help available and results are often very good with athletes….because we are used to training!! Hope this helps. Please post any more questions.

  4. This makes me laugh as this was exactly what I thought when the idea of asking girly questions about endurance sport came up! I’m only 39 and after my last baby (11lbs natural delivery) I seem to have lost a lot of muscle tone in my girly region. I did Kegels religiously but it’s all in the downhill. I can run on flat and I can run up without leakage but when it’s time to tear off down hill I have the awful stress of knowing that I’m gonna wee myself at some point. It really puts me off my A-game! Particularly with the masculine nature of back country running events…

    I think it’s time for me to take the advice above and see a women’s PT and get a training regime in place for more muscle tone. I thought it would be doctors and surgery but a physio makes it seem less daunting.

  5. I have had an issue with leakage with sprinting, running downhill, or things like jumping jacks. It’s really frustrating! Kegels never did anything for me, but then again maybe I wasn’t religious enough about doing them! I use panty liners from time to time, but sometimes the leakage is more than it can handle, and I’m afraid of a saturated liner breaking loose! Super tampons have helped some it seems by adding pressure to the “region.” I have more or less just accepted that it’s something I’m going to have to live with, and I don’t let it change my running. I usually just make sure to wear black shorts when I know it’s going to be an issue, and then douse myself with water to “even things out” if there’s been noticeable misfortune, LOL! The only problem with that is it doesn’t work out so well in winter, of course. Wish I had actual advice to give other than “go with the flow!”

  6. I ended up buying ‘poise’ liners the other day. Felt like an old lady! But with 3+hours of mountain running and only one long-drop out there I had to do something. Better than panty liners for function but no less humiliating. Can’t wait til off season to get some medical advice and hopefully build some muscle control! It helps knowing I’m not alone.

  7. I had a similar issue running post children! Fine on road but fast down hill was a big issue. However, doing pelvic floor exercises actually worked and weren’t at all hard to do. The more you do them the better the result. The good thing is you can do them anywhere and nobody is any the wiser! The bad news is that if you stop doing them the problem reoccurs. Keep at it!! (Note – I stopped drinking coffee a year or so after starting these exercises and this also made a huge difference and I could reduce doing the exercises to a few times every week instead of every day).

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