You show up at your gym eager to get your butt kicked. You walk in, greet all your friends and read the workout board. In a flash your mood went from good to bad and panic starts to set in. The dreaded double unders. You’re not prepared, wearing light blue leggings, no panty liner in your bag… Holy sh$t!!! You know you’re inevitably going to pee. Does this scenario sound familiar?! I know I’ve been there and the more female training clients and gym members I talk to, the more I realize just how common this is.
What I’m referring to is called SUI, or Stress Urinary incontinence, where you leak urine during exercise. You will find this happens especially with a lot of jumping. For me the culprit is double unders. These are where the rope passes underneath your feet twice in between each jump instead of just once as with regular jumping rope. For some women box jumps or heavy squats cause them to have leakage.
When the tendons and ligaments around the urethra stop supporting it sufficiently, the urethra isn’t as readily able to close off urine as it comes through the bladder, leading to the leaking. Factors including pregnancy, childbirth (both vaginal and cesarean section), and obesity can contribute to this lack of support. Really, anything that puts pressure on the pelvis and bladder can cause you to leak.
Some say kegels help to strengthen the pelvic floor. This how to guide from the Mayo Clinic is helpful if you’re not already familiar with kegel exercises. I’ve personally found that from doing heavy squats and core work, I’ve been able to strengthen my pelvic floor, similarly to how kegels work.
In the interim, while you’re working on strengthening those tendons and ligaments the following are some temporary fixes if you’re truly bothered by the leakage.
– A thick tampon can put enough pressure on the urethra to keep liquid from leaking out.
– Bladder supports that look (and act) similar to tampons gently support the urethra helping stop leaks before they happen. Check out Poise Impressa
– Panty Liners.
– Urine-wicking underwear. Speax pee-proof panties claim to hold up to eight teaspoons of liquid.
Hopefully this helps if you struggle with SUI and more importantly makes you realize that you are not alone! This is such a common problem, but there is hope! I am proof of that! At fifty years old, after having two vaginal deliveries, my only issue now is with larger sets of double unders and it’s SO much less of a problem than it was even a few years ago. I’m CrossFitting, running, and Olympic Lifting and truly believe the combination of kegels, but mostly heavy squats and core work have helped immensely. #peefree #dontleakout 😉