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I have bladder leakage when I work out. What can I do?

You’ve never had kids and menopause feels like a distant concern. You exercise regularly and keep yourself in tip-top shape—you may even be an elite competitive athlete! So why are you experiencing urinary leakage? Isn’t that for pregnant women and—ahem—old ladies? Unfortunately, the answer is NO.rnrn rnrnBladder leakage can affect anyone at any age, and it’s actually quite common among female athletes. Exercise-induced urine leakage is a form of stress incontinence; this means that the muscles of the pelvic floor can’t stand up to the intense physical activity or exertion. This may happen in extreme situations—such as leaking urine during the final miles of a marathon—or even during a light gym workout.rnrn rnrnSo why does it happen? Intense exertion is often accompanied by a physical state called the Valsalva maneuver—this is a sudden, systemic tightening of the abdominal muscles that you may have experienced when lifting something heavy, or even straining on the toilet. The action of engaging all of these muscles at once can direct your body’s attention away from urinary control, causing bladder leakage. Obviously, these episodes can be extremely embarrassing; some athletes may even consider scaling back their activity or leaving their sport entirely.rnrn rnrnFortunately, there is help! Bodies that are already physically fit respond very well to Kegel exercises, which can help to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor—learn more about them here. But until you’ve boosted your pelvic floor strength a bit, you might consider wearing protective incontinence undergarments to catch bladder leakage during your workout. Not sure which incontinence pads are right for you? Take our interactive quiz now to find out!

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