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Bladder Weakness when Exercising

Date Added: August 19, 2013 11:38:38 PM

An alarming 46.3% of women experience urine leakage when exercising and of these, 22.8% experience leaks often, according to a new survey of over 500 New Zealand women carried out by lights™ by TENA®. Whilst 52% of women have no idea that exercise can cause bladder weakness, a staggering 76.9% of sufferers have never sought professional advice to deal with this issue.

The research also indicates that 33.7% of women carry on exercising regardless of leaks and 54.2% stop only to use the toilet and then continue. 18.2% say they don’t know if they should stop exercising to reduce the problem.

Jane Le Fevre, Physiotherapist Expert for lights by TENA® says, “Exercise is in fact a common cause of bladder weakness. Many women do not know or understand this and could be suffering as a result. If you experience bladder leakage when you exercise, don’t ignore it.”

“Your pelvic floor should be able to withstand the load of exercise but if you experience leakage this is a sign that it isn’t strong enough. By incorporating pelvic floor exercises into your fitness regime and throughout the day, you can strengthen these muscles and reduce the incidence of leaks,” continues Mrs. Le Fevre.

Lights™ by TENA® have launched a first of its kind educational campaign to help women understand the ‘little problem they don’t have’ when they exercise. The aim is to empower them with the tools to overcome bladder weakness without the need to share or discuss the issue far and wide. As part of the campaign, expert tips and videos have been created to help women find their pelvic floor and strengthen it.

Mrs. Le Fevre has the following tips for women that experience bladder weakness when exercising so they can take the necessary steps to combat the problem:

  1. Don’t cut out water
    By maintaining a well balanced diet, you will avoid constipation and other bowel changes that place a load on your pelvic floor. Many people make the mistake of reducing their fluid intake when experiencing light bladder leakage, in the hope it will reduce the urine output and therefore avoid the problem. Unfortunately, this can have the reverse effect as the urine will become more concentrated and this can irritate the bladder lining, thus causing the bladder to want to empty more.
  2. Find your Pelvic Floor
    The Pelvic Floor runs from your pubic bone at the front of your pelvis to the coccyx at the back. Imagine this sling of muscles is like two elevator doors. As you lift it, imagine the doors closing together and then lifting towards your head. The rest of your body should stay still.
  3. Lift
    Lift your pelvic floor strongly as you exercise, such as when doing star jumps or shoulder weights and aim to keep it ‘switched on’ throughout the exercise.
  4. Breathe Out
    If you tend to hold your breath while exercising you will place more pressure on your pelvic floor making it more likely for leaks to occur. Breathe out and lift your pelvic floor instead. If you struggle to do this, then it means the exercise you are doing is too difficult, so decrease the repetitions or reduce the weight.

    When running, lift your pelvic floor as you exhale. Do this while you wait to cross the road too. The more you talk to these muscles and engage them, the more ‘awake’ they are and the stronger they will get.
  5. Check your shoes
    The cushioning in running shoes is vital to help reduce the impact on your body and pelvic floor. Older running shoes will lose a lot of this cushioning with wear and tear so ensure to change your shoes regularly.  
  6. Take your time after childbirth
    Pregnancy, breastfeeding and associated hormonal changes take their toll on the pelvic floor, as does the physical fatigue. Your pelvic floor needs time to repair, so make a gradual return to exercising.
  7. Use the right product while dealing with the problem
    Use a correct liner such as one from the newly launched lights™ by TENA® range to handle the leakages while you’re dealing with the problem. The liners will keep you drier, fresher and odour free. And much less stressed.

"By practicing the above and exercising the pelvic floor, leaks can be minimised and in many cases, stop altogether. It is advised to seek help from a women's health physiotherapist if an improvement is not noticed within two to three weeks." concludes Mrs. Le Fevre.

For further information on lights by TENA®, expert tips and video demonstrations as well an opportunity to receive a complimentary sample liner, visit