I know... it seems that almost everywhere you go on my page I'm talking about this. I'm telling you that you don't have to pee with exercise anymore... you don't have to pee yourself as you rush to the bathroom... that you can become free.. that you can find a way...
and I mean it. But I also wanted to take a chance to discuss with you the reasoning behind WHY I care so much. Many falsely think it's because I'm a pelvic PT and I have to care. Or that it is job security. Neither of those actually sum up the real reason behind why I care about your incontinence.
The truth is, I peed myself for 10+ years. I felt the embarrassment of having to cut a workout short. I felt the embarrassment of having to limit myself from progressing as much as I wanted to, or from trying the brand new class with all the jumping...
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 15. I was in the studio (dance studio) and we had our usual tights, leotard, and I had a wrap around skirt. We were doing a particularly difficult piece that involved more jumping that what most. I was going through the motions, doing the dance, when i noticed warmth between my legs.
Now, at 15, I knew it was very possible my period was starting. I knew there was definitely a possibility I was starting my period right then. To be sure, I nodded my head towards the door (the universal sign of "hey, I'm gonna pass out.. or I have to pee") and ballet ran to the bathroom.
I got to my cubby, grabbed a tampon and was ready to take care of the problem when I undressed, because in ballet, its like an incredibly tight jumper. You don't just pull things down, you have to take them all the way off.
When I got undressed, I looked and... there was nothing. No blood. There was a big wet spot, but no blood. I couldn't figure out what I had felt then. I became brave and I lifted my leotard to smell it, and when I did... it dawned on me.
Did I really just pee myself?!
At this time in my life, I was so healthy. I drank so much water and ate 80% veggies, so my urine was quite clear, however, it did have a smell based on what I was eating. I kept talking myself out of it because I didn't want to think I'd just peed myself.
I kept saying, it's just sweat... isn't there something that happens down there before your period? Where you can get pregnant? At the time, I did not understand discharge or anything else but I just knew it was urine.
I got dressed, went back to practice, and completed the day.
We lived an hour away from where my dance studio was at this point, so when mom picked me up she asked the usual:
"How was it?"
"Did you point your toes?"
"What role will you be playing?"
"Will you need a bath to help with your soreness?"
And I just answered them like usual. I didn't say anything to my mother at that time because well... I was embarrassed.
I got home, went to my room to change. That was the beginning of a long road of urinary incontinence.
You see, I started asking friends and colleagues, and even asked my teachers of dance if this was something that I should be concerned about. It came back with the concensus:
No way. Every woman pees themself at some point in her life, just wait till you have kids! It's just something we deal with.
And that was that...
I'm here to tell you though, that's so not true. Below I'm going to describe 3 things you can start to do in order to improve your chances of NOT peeing yourself. These things can benefit you even if you are already suffering from it.
1. Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises. Notice, I did not call it just kegels. That is because there is a whole other part to kegel exercises that most people don't discuss. When you are doing a proper kegel, you also add in the relaxation part. Most of us just think it only matters to squeeze and squeeze hard.
To do a proper kegel: consider ONLY using the muscles between your legs. Think about squeezing your anus first (like trying not to pass gas), then try to squeeze up towards your vaginal opening (like when you try to stop urine from coming out) then draw up like an elevator. When you pull up your pelvic floor, don't pull your stomach muscles in. Do your best to just use the muscles between your legs.
Do NOT do kegels if you have pain or know you have an overactive pelvic floor until you see a pelvic PT!
To know you're doing kegels correctly, definitely see a pelvic PT!
You don't want to overdo it on the kegels either. People think you need to do a ton a day, but you don't. Below is how you may get benefit:
Do 10 regular kegels - squeeze up and let go.
Do 10 kegels with a hold - squeeze up and hold until you cannot hold and let go.
Do 10 kegels with different strength - try to do half of you kegel, do 75% of your kegels, do 20% of your kegel and fully relax between each one.
It's important you practice each of them! There are many different "protocols" and the above is one that may help!
2. Understand your irritants and focus on hydration. Now I'm not one to tell you how much water to drink, because personally I believe that the amount of water you drink is different for everyone and your body tells you when it's thirsty.
BUT I will say it's important to make sure you are drinking more pure water vs any other fluid. Any other fluid may actually dehydrate your bladder, where water will hydrate your bladder. You want to have hydration so it does not send a premature signal to the brain thinking it needs to pee!
You also want to be aware of the following things that may cause dehydration and contribute to incontinence:
carbonated drinks (including sparkling water)
citrus fruits and juices
and many more.
If you notice incontinence after you drink or eat any of the above, remember
It's not forever, it's just for now.
What we mean by that is, yes you do want to monitor and change a few things up for the time being to get your bladder function under control. But you do not have to eliminate it forever.
Some say to have a water sandwich. Drink a glass of water before, then after having the irritant. I don't think that's the trick, especially if you're drinking enough water all day!
So, if you determine one of the above is causing the issues, here is what may help:
Drink less or take out of the diet for up to 2 weeks. Then slowly incorporate it back in.
Similar to the elimination diet, it lets you get used to not having it, then seeing if that was the culprit!
3. Bladder and peeing habits are important. The most common thing we see with our moms specifically but with women in general is:
We rush in the bathroom. We literally push our urine and try to get it out lightening fast. Why?! We truly need to give ourselves more time in the bathroom so it fully empties.
It may help to spend 10 extra seconds on the toilet after urinating!
We also want to point out the negative effects hovering over the toilet has. I know, some public restrooms are disgusting. I get it, sometimes you absolutely must hover. Like in the airport...when I'm about to pee myself... and it's packed in the bathroom... the only stall open is the one with the most disgusting stuff in the toilet... so salvaging there.
But as much as you can... sit down. Use toilet paper, the seat covers... whatever you need. But by not sitting down you are keeping the muscles in your pelvic floor active and contracted which can prevent from allowing urine to come out fully.
Give your bladder the time and position it needs for complete emptying!
We hope you enjoy the above tips and tricks to a happy bladder! A happy bladder can actually lead to a happy life!
If you are interested in getting access to a FREE Peeing with Exercise Webinar, please click HERE. We go into detail every question about peeing with exercise!