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You Asked: Running and Incontinence

You're asking and I'm answering . . .

Hey Fit,
I suffer from intermittent incontinence while running. It doesn't happen on every run, and it almost always happens at the end of my jog when I slow down to walk and cool down. What can I do to avoid this? I try to pee at least twice before heading out for a run and don't drink anything before I run (I generally run first thing in the morning, right after I eat). I am a bit overweight, which I thought might be part of the problem, but that's part of the reason I'm running. Seems a vicious circle. Any tips or tricks would be appreciated.
— Running and Going

This problem is more common than you might think, and it is unsurprisingly much more common in women than in men. To see how you can avoid it and work around this problem,


The medical term for leaking urine while running, jumping, or coughing is stress incontinence. You are right that being overweight, along with childbirth, aging and smoking put women at risk for this problem. Losing weight will definitely help lessen the problem, as will strengthening your pelvic floor. These are the muscles that support your bladder. The FitSugar Health Guide has an in depth description of how to do Kegel exercises. After teaching Pilates for years, I have learned that strengthening your core will help as well. The more your torso can support itself, the less pressure it will exert on your bladder and pelvic floor.

Many female runners and athletes experience this kind of leakage, and the forum at Runner's World is full of advice on this topic. The most practical being to wear dark shorts, since the dark color is less apt to show any sign of the problem. The second piece of helpful advice is to wear a thin pad or panty liner. Staying away from caffeine might help too.

I sure do hope this helps and that you keep running!


ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i can only imagine your frustration on this one - since you're trying to do something to help you get healthier and then you have this happen. i've read about this a LOT so don't think that you're alone on this one. i think that these suggestions are good ones - wearing a dark color will help you feel like it's less noticeable.
ilovefab4 ilovefab4 9 years
Stress incontinence can also be genetic. I have low levels of collagen, which has caused me to have problems since age 13. Childbirth made it much worse. KEGELS DON'T HELP. This spring, I had a mildly invasive surgery to get a SUBURETHRAL SLING. It's very new, and even if you google it the techniques listed online for the most part are more invasive than the new one that uses the vagina and then two tiny incisions to insert the sling. THE SUBURETHRAL SLING basically has changed my life. I can run and do jumping jacks. I sleep through the night without getting up to pee literally since age 14. Dr. Karram in Cincinnati does this latest version and he's awesome. If I sound like a sales person, it's just because I think women don't realize that a simple surgery--I was running two weeks later--can help quality of life so much.
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