14 Jun Running and leak proof underwear
It’s been a couple of weeks since I ran the Adelaide marathon and I think the endorphins are still flying around my body because I’m on an endless high! Thank you so much for all of your messages of love and congratulations, it’s meant the world and the best part is we’ve raised over $45,000 for the Embrace Kids documentary! Whilst my inbox has been pumping with positivity I have noticed a reoccurring question from women asking…
“How do you run and not wet yourself?”
As some of you know from watching Embrace the documentary I am no stranger to wetting myself! After Oliver was born I hit the netball court too soon after birth, went hard for an intercept and ended up standing on the court with warm wee running down my leg. It was a less than ideal come back, but soon I learned that I wasn’t alone and in fact incontinence was a very common experience for many.
DID YOU KNOW…
– 1 in 3 women lose control of their bladders.
– 84% of cases of stress incontinence can be cured with pelvic floor exercises.
– One of the leading causes of incontinence is actually pelvic organ prolapse, and prolapse doesn’t discriminate with age, it can affect you from your first birth, menopause or even chronic constipation.
SO, WHAT CAN WE DO AND WHO CAN WE TURN TO?
Well for starters we need to be actually doing our kegel exercises right, I think for years I’ve been doing them wrong! I asked Heba Shaheed @thepelvicexpert to give 5 tips to help our pelvic floors.
1. Do your pelvic floor exercises
Bladder accidents with running, during workouts or with coughing and sneezing are all too common, especially if you’ve had children or in menopause. Simply learning how to work your pelvic floor muscles, especially during your workouts, is the easiest way to end those embarrassing leaks.
If you leak when coughing, sneezing, laughing or lifting, you have a condition called stress incontinence. It is important to squeeze the pelvic floor muscles just before these stress-inducing activities.
To find your pelvic floor muscles, imagine the muscles that squeeze and lift when you try to stop the flow of your urine, and squeeze those. Coordination of your pelvic floor muscles with breathing is key – try this pelvic floor coordination exercise.
- Breathe in.
- Squeeze and lift your pelvic floor. Hold as you breathe out.
- Relax your pelvic floor and breathe in.
- Repeat 10 times.
Kegels alone are not enough, especially when getting back to fitness. A pelvic floor program with functional exercise is essential for long-term control with activity.
2. Don’t hold your bladder for long periods
We should be urinating at least 4-6 times per day, but some women hold onto their bladders all day, especially when at work or out of the home. This can lead to issues such as overactive bladder, urgency, leakage, incomplete emptying and UTIs. Remind yourself to visit the loo every 3 hours, and take your time to empty in a relaxed way – another bad habit is rushing and pushing out.
3. Check for pelvic organ prolapse
One of the root causes of incontinence is pelvic organ prolapse. 1 in 3 mums will develop a prolapse after birth, and 1 in 2 menopausal women will develop prolapse regardless of having children or not. Prolapse is when one or more of your pelvic organs sag down lower in your pelvis.
A women’s health physiotherapist who can check if you have a prolapse, which prolapse you have and the severity of the prolapse. Some physiotherapists can also fit you for a pessary, which is a support device that can help to lift your organs back up, so that it doesn’t worsen over time.
Symptoms of prolapse include bladder or bowel control problems, heaviness or dragging sensations, lower back or lower abdominal pain, incomplete emptying or a visible bulge down there.
4. Avoid bladder irritants
An overactive bladder can lead to urge urinary incontinence, which is the feeling of always busting to go to the bathroom, and sometimes not making it in time. In these cases, it is important to steer clear of common bladder irritants. These include things like caffeine, artificial sweeteners and carbonated drinks.
Seeing a women’s health physiotherapist can also be helpful to identify your urgency triggers, teach you urge suppression strategies and get you on a bladder drill program to eliminate the urgency and incontinence. Sometimes the urgency can be due to a prolapse, so identifying this early is crucial.
5. Vaginal oestrogen can help with looseness
Sometimes incontinence in the postnatal period and in menopausecan be due to low oestrogen vaginally. Mothers who are breastfeeding are even more susceptible, so if you notice pain, dryness or skin tears down there, especially with sex, consider speaking to your GP about vaginal oestrogen cream. The hormones of pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as the decrease in hormones in menopause can make the tissues more lax down there, and vaginal oestrogen can help counter this locally.
Thank you Heba Shaheed @thepelvicexpert, these are some great tips and if you need extra support I encourage all of you to check out our friends at Modibodi who have created a range of sustainable, hi-tech undies that is pee, period and perspiration proof for everybody.
A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED
The Body Image Movement first connected with Modibodi back in 2016 at the Premiere of the Embrace documentary at The Sydney Film Festival. I immediately connected with the Founder of Modibodi Kristy Chong because I loved her authenticity and the why behind her business.
“I was training for a marathon in Seattle, USA when I realised that women had been putting up with failing underwear due to bladder leaks, or sweat, for far too long. Or for those who chose to protect themselves, the solution was ugly, inconvenient, uncomfortable and a hazard to our environment – disposable hygiene. I just felt we deserved something better.” – Kristy Chong
YES WE DESERVE BETTER…
…and the solution was genius. Kristy worked with scientists and garment developers for over 18 months to create a product that can more conveniently, comfortably and reliably manage menstrual flow or incontinence, and reduce the amount of single-use products ending up in landfill and damaging our environment. I was shocked to recently read an article that said in Australia, 8000 metric tonnes of sanitary wastes goes to landfill every year. Say whaaat?
WE’VE GOT YOUR BACK LOVELY
For anyone experiencing bladder incontinence please know you are not alone. There are literally millions of us out There holding onto our vaginas on bouncy pillows (check out the end of our Embrace Yourself Tour video) and preying to the sneezing, laughing and surprised gods but please do get help. If your car was leaking fluid from the exhaust you’d take it to the mechanics, our bodies also need a little tune up and service every now and again!
Thanks to our Blog Sponsor Modibodi
Reusable, leak-proof apparel for menstruation, incontinence, sweat and discharge protection. Eco-friendly, super absorbent, odour free. Simply wear, wash and repeat. Shop The Range.