Do you leak a little pee when you jump? Or cough, sneeze, run, laugh? It's okay, it's common, but also.....did you know that you can change it? It isn't something you just have to "deal with" because you had a baby!
In reviewing my YouTube channel, I noticed that my video that reviews tips to stop leaking during jumping jacks has more than 5,000 views! Ladies, stress incontinence (leaking pee when you don't want to) is common, but it is also the sign of a dysfunction in your body and you do NOT have to live with it! Once the root cause of that pressure imbalance is found, it can be fixed. Yes, sometimes, it is a simple awareness and adjustment of form, as outlined in the video below (I love when that happens).......and sometimes, more often, it is more complex, and this is just the beginning. Let's discuss.
Your pelvic floor, which physically supports your bladder and your urethra (where you pee from) is a part of a functional system of your inner core. This system's job is to support your organs, to stabilize your spine and pelvis for movement, to adapt to loads and pressures you are adding to the system, and to manage intra-abdominal pressure. Everything we do causes load, pressure, and shifting to happen in our core, that's why we have a core, and it needs to be reflexive and adaptive and know how to respond in order to be functional.
When people think of stress incontinence, whether it's urine, gas, or feces, they often think of having a "weak" pelvic floor and they need to do "kegels". Sometimes that is true and we need to work on reconnecting with the pelvic floor, finding complete closure, and pairing it with movement. However, a "kegel" is only as good as the ability to contract/lift the pelvic floor AND the ability to relax/lengthen the pelvic floor. If you carry tension or tightness in your pelvic floor muscles, you will still leak. It's more about the finesse of the movement and then making it reflexive and subconcious - you can't walk around squeezing a marble in your pelvis because that will cause all sorts of other problems! Your pelvic floor needs to be able to adapt, and for something like jumping, it needs to learn to yield and accept the impact, and then transfer it into force to spring back up. Think trampoline :)
Also, a factor in stress incontinence is the pressure coming down into the pelvis from above. If it's too much, even a strong and able pelvic floor will give. This is one thing the above video addresses with something like jumping jacks. Take a peek at how your rib position will affect the pressure coming down into pelvic floor. Some other factors for increased downward pressure include your breathing patterns, ribcage mobility, alignment, and core patterning. Having awareness of this part of your body, and making small adjustments, can have a big impact and keep you in the activities you love!
Here are some related blog posts for more detail:
I know it seems like there are a lot of potential contributors to pelvic floor dysfunction and incontinence, so how do you know where to start? If you are ever curious about what is going on in your own body, come see me for an initial assessment and get an individualized explanation! My goal is that you come out of that session with a good understanding of what is happening in your body to be causing your symptoms, and a clear action plan to resolve them that you can get started with right away. I would love to help! Book Appointment or Contact me
Written and medically reviewed by Dr. Brenda, DPT