How to Stop Bladder Leaks During Exercise

How to Stop Bladder Leaks During Exercise

The worry of bladder leaks can prevent you from exercising or cause you to worry about leaks while doing everyday things. As us women age, we may become more prone to bladder incontinence, but thankfully some solutions can keep life going. Some prevention methods include maintaining a healthy weight, incorporating pelvic floor exercises into your daily routine, increasing fiber intake, avoiding smoking, and avoiding bladder irritants such as alcohol. The best prevention methods can vary depending on what’s causing bladder leaks during exercise. Read on as we explore bladder leaks and how to manage bladder leaks during exercise.

What are bladder leaks?

Bladder leaks are often referred to as urinary incontinence, which is summarized as the loss of bladder control. There are different types of bladder leaks and the severity can vary. Bladder leaks can range from leaks while coughing, sneezing or laughing to a sudden urge to urinate without time to make it to the restroom. Oftentimes, bladder leaks during exercise are explained by stress incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when pressure is put on the bladder or movements such as running or jumping cause leakage. 

Why do I leak while exercising?

While it may be inconvenient or even uncomfortable, a leaky bladder (also called urinary incontinence) shouldn’t stop you from exercising or living your life. To start, let's understand why it happens. Bladder leakage during exercise may be a result of weak pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles are weak, incontinence issues can surface, causing bladder leaks while exercising. Pelvic floor muscles can weaken with age or as the result of experiences such as childbirth.

Common causes of bladder incontinence include:

  • Pregnancy 
  • Childbirth
  • Menopause 
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Age

How to manage bladder leakage while exercising

Manage your weight

Women who are overweight are more likely to experience bladder leaks. This is because of the added weight being pressed down on your bladder and pelvic floor.

Reduce caffeine intake

While caffeine can give us that extra boost to make it to our workout, it should be avoided to decrease the risk of bladder incontinence. 

Use the restroom before hitting the gym

Before hitting the gym or starting your workout, use the bathroom. Starting your workout with an empty bladder can reduce the risk of leaks. Leakproof underwear can be worn during workouts. Our leakproof underwear pulls moisture (sweat included) away from the body to help keep you cool, dry, and confident. 

Pelvic floor or kegel exercises

Pelvic floor or kegel exercises are one of the main treatments for incontinence issues. While there are at-home or online guided exercises, you can work with a doctor or pelvic floor specialist for a customized treatment plan. Pelvic floor exercises work to strengthen your hips, thighs, and glutes. 

Try low-impact exercises, like yoga

Switching up exercise routines is one way to help keep you moving. However, low-impact exercises such as pilates, yoga, strength training, and walking can reduce the chance of a bladder leak. When choosing the appropriate exercise, consider your personal goals i.e. calorie burn, building muscle, etc.

Running Form 

For all our runners out there, flexing your upper or lower abs can place pressure on your pelvic floor muscle. As a result, you guessed it, bladder leaks. You might be tempted to suck in while running to feel that core burn, but try to avoid it if you’re worried about bladder leaks. Long-term, this could also weaken your pelvic floor which can lead to more bladder leaks. While running, focus on diaphragmatic breathing. Focus on the movement of your belly in with each inhale and out with each exhale.

Vaginal pessary

A vaginal pessary is a device used to support the bladder. These devices can be used during activities, such as exercise,  that might cause bladder leakage. 

Is it still OK to exercise with bladder incontinence? 

We encourage you to overcome your worry about bladder leaks and do what makes you feel best. When it comes to exercise, try replacing high-impact exercises such as running or HITT workouts with pilates or strength training. Follow our prevention tips, and confidently carry on. If, at any point, incontinence is holding you back or interfering with daily life, reach out to your doctor. 

The Last Word

When our bodies don’t work as they should, we must find solutions to keep us going. Bladder leaks can affect women of all ages, however, older women are more likely to experience bladder leaks. Women that have given birth or are overweight, may also be at an increased risk for stress incontinence. Work with your doctor to understand the cause of your incontinence problem.



Mayo Clinic. Urinary Incontinence


National Institute on Aging. Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults


Flyte. How To Stop Leaking Urine When Running,,may%20experience%20more%20bladder%20leaks


NHS. 10 Way To Stop Leaks Urinary Incontinence,strengthening%20exercise%2C%20such%20as%20pilates


Voices for PFD. Pessaries


Cleveland Clinic. Stress Incontinence


Healthline. Incontinence When Exercising: Why You May Pee A Little


John Hopkins Medicine. Solutions For A Leaky Bladder,,outings%20and%20romance%2C%20says%20E.


Continence Foundation of Australia. Pelvic Floor Muscles


Better Health Channel. Pelvic Floor

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