Why do I leak when I run?

If you’re experiencing urinary leaks while running, you may have Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), which is an involuntarily loss of bladder control when you run, cough, laugh, sneeze or do any other movements which place additional pressure on the bladder. Stress Incontinence is the most common type of incontinence affecting runners.

It is generally assumed that athletic and active people must have a strong pelvic floor, given their overall level of fitness and strength. However urinary incontinence is very common in runners, especially long distance and competitive runners due to the impact of hitting the ground hard, which can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue that supports the bladder.

With 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men experiencing some for of urinary incontinence in the UK, you’re not alone if this is affecting you.

Does running cause incontinence?

There are many causes of incontinence, and while running doesn’t necessarily cause incontinence, it can contribute to pelvic floor weakness. Common causes of stress urinary incontinence include life stages such as pregnancy and childbirth, the menopause, and ageing in general. Obesity and rapid weight gain, along with pelvic and prostate surgeries can also be triggers.

When we undertake intense abdominal exercise or vigorous training, we’re putting additional pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, which can deteriorate the tone of the muscle over time. This may manifest in leakage while out and about running, or an increased need for toilet stops mid run.

If you’re a competitive runner, you may find that these leaks affect your sport performance and times, which can be frustrating.

How to stop urinary leaks when running

The great news is that like any muscle in the body, the pelvic floor can be strengthened with exercise. And the benefits of pelvic floor strengthening for runners extends beyond just managing urinary leaks.

Core strength is vital for great sport or exercise performance. It forms the foundation for all movement, balance, stability and flexibility. And while we tend to factor core strengthening activities in to our exercise regimes, we often forget to think about the pelvic floor. Almost every exercise or physical activity you do affects or utilises your pelvic floor, so it’s important to fully understand it, to enable you to better your sport & exercise performance.

This 3D core that Jane Wake refers to above is made up of:

  • The deep abdominal muscles at the sides (Transversus Abdominals)
  • The stabilising spinal muscles which run up our back (Multifidus)
  • The Diaphragm or ‘breathing muscle’
  • The Pelvic Floor muscles

Strengthening your entire core can reduce the risk of injuries while exercising or competing. A weak pelvic floor can hinder your ability to anticipate and prepare for accidents, resulting in significant pain & injury.

Incontinence solution for runners

INNOVO provides a compelling solution to urinary leaks in runners as its clinically proven to restore pelvic floor strength in as little as 4 weeks. Suitable for both women and men, INNOVO is the only truly non-invasive solution for urinary incontinence and is used in the comfort and privacy of your home. Easy to use and comfortable to wear, INNOVO helps you safely and effortlessly strengthen and re-educate the entire network of pelvic floor muscles through gentle muscle stimulation.

Using INNOVO for just 30 minutes a day/five days a week over 12 weeks has been proven to treat bladder weakness – delivering results in as little as 4 weeks1.

INNOVO treats Stress, Urge & Mixed Incontinence in both women and men by targeting the root cause of the problem. A clinical study found that:

  • 80% of users saw a significant reduction in leaks after just 4 weeks1
  • 87% of users were defined as either dry or almost dry after 12 weeks2
  • 90% of users would recommend the therapy to others3

1 Soeder S, et al, A randomised, controlled, double-blind, clinical study to compare two neuromuscular stimulator devices in female stress urinary incontinence: Effects on symptoms and quality of life. IUGA Conference 2018

2 R. Dmochowski – Novel external electrical muscle stimulation device for the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence: randomized controlled noninferiority trial versus intravaginal electrical stimulation. ICS Conference 2018

3 Observational study on the treatment of stress urinary incontinence with Innovotherapy, April 2014

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