Causes of Urinary Incontinence with Exercise

Feb 09, 2020

This is one of the most frequent questions I get, “WHY am I leaking only with exercise?” 

The answer can be quite simple, or complex. First and foremost, PLEASE if you are leaking make sure to reach out on the contact page so we can get to the bottom of the cause. But also know, it is not something you have to live with. 

I understand there are many women who leak with exercise, but that does not mean you have to! 

Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it is inevitable to happen and that there is no way out of it.  

Some of the most common causes of leakage with exercise that I see are: 

  • Overactive Pelvic floor: Meaning your pelvic floor muscles are constantly holding a kegel and cannot relax. This is something I see a lot in high level athletes, women whom are quite fit, or overly stressed. I see this pretty frequently.  

You will know if this is you by getting a pelvic assessment by a trained pelvic PT and also if you notice difficulty with relaxation.  

  • Weak pelvic floor: Your muscles in the pelvic floor have a really hard time performing a proper kegel and cannot maintain the kegel.  

This is not as common as you might think. I see this less often than the overactive pelvic floor actually. You will know this is you if you have a hard time knowing if you are performing a kegel correctly or feel really weakened in the pelvic floor. 

  • Impaired bladder habits and consistent triggers: Something you do every day (whether this is not drinking enough water, drinking too many irritants, etc) is contributing to the urinary incontinence. 

Typically irritants are: 

  • Caffeine, alcohol, acidic drinks, tomato sauces, chocolate, dairy, sugars, etc. 

However, I will say that everyone is different and your trigger may not be listed. 

  • Sensation and coordination problems: Your brain, spinal cord, and nervous system may not be sending the proper signals to your bladder. Making you feel like you have to pee when you don’t or allowing your muscles to let the urine when they shouldn’t.  

Of course, this is not an end all list to the reasons but it is a great place to start! 

If you are still having trouble determining which issue might be contributing to your incontinence, head over to the contact page and let’s chat! 

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