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Running with poor pelvic floor- what is your solution

(329 Posts)
Runlikeareindeer Sat 21-Dec-13 10:52:32

So my pelvic floor isn't great after two vaginal deliveries, one that was forceps. I do my exercises (prob too late)

I'm running again and it is often difficult to control. I've tried tena lady (well the Aldi version) but sometimes that becomes sodden and then I have a great lump in my pants.

Is there anything I can do?

AndHarry Sat 21-Dec-13 14:23:33

Go to your GP and get them to refer you to a physiotherapist. I did after having my 2 and the physio got annoyed because I wasn't tensing my pelvic floor. I was but there was very little to tense...

ShineyBlackShoes Sat 21-Dec-13 21:03:03

I had TVT in the new year and for the first time in 18 years I can walk without leaking, and if I need to run, I can and not wet myself. Drastic action and needs time off work but so worth it.

Sometimes sadly no matter how many pelvic floors you do, damage has been done and an op is all that can repair it.

Good luck

IcouldstillbeJoseph Sat 21-Dec-13 21:04:37

I'm in same boat OP and awaiting physio appt through....

TrucksAndDinosaurs Wed 01-Jan-14 19:06:46

This thread might be useful

TrucksAndDinosaurs Wed 01-Jan-14 19:10:11

Anecdotally I know a triathlete mother of 3 who uses her mooncup when competing and training - even when not on her period. She says it sits inside her in a way that supports pelvic floor and bladder and discovered it when she found it hard to wee when using mooncup during her period! So worth a try? Obviously take it out after the run and maybe use a little ky gel to insert if its uncomfortable.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 01-Jan-14 22:41:36

I've just upgraded to Tena pads, but even those failed me at the end of today's Parkrun blush

I leaked a bit along the way, but not OP much but as I crossed the finish line the flood gates opened sad

I can just about cope in the winter, wearing long, black running trousers but I have no idea what to do during the summer.

I'm do try to do my pelvic floor exercises, not as often as i should probably and i'm going to try using my mooncup, but has anyone had any success with the weighted cones or electronic pelvic floor exercises?

Claybury Thu 02-Jan-14 15:20:33

Never had a bad problem as I had c sections but I do remember when I started running 5 years ago it was an issue. I'm fitter and stronger now and I rarely have problems. I know I have been lucky and I don't know how long you have been running but I would say take the exercises seriously , those muscles need to be worked, and maybe as you get stronger it will get better.
I realise everyone is different so sorry if this doesn't help!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Thu 02-Jan-14 19:21:39

I've only been running since Septmber so hope that I can strengthen up significantly during the winter.

msmoss Fri 03-Jan-14 15:40:27

Definitely get a GP referral for physio, I was referred automatically after a third degree tear, they will give you loads of exercises that you can do as it's not just a case of doing the pelvic floor exercises but incorporating them into a range of other movements, for example whilst walking along or whilst stepping up and down the bottom stair.

Pilates can also really help, I've spent the last year doing the APPI version and it's really really helped, I even managed a half marathon without wetting myself <adds that to the list of things I never thought I'd be bragging about>.

msmoss Fri 03-Jan-14 15:41:43

Oh and the pilates also helped me to run faster due to the improved strength in my core which was an added bonus.

DuckCommander Fri 03-Jan-14 15:43:07

I gave up running and changed to low impact exercises in the gym.

Claybury Fri 03-Jan-14 19:10:59

Msmoss 's point about Pilates is good. My Pilates teacher used to say the class was the most important hour of your week! For everyone but especially after childbirth.

Sunnysummer Fri 03-Jan-14 19:17:13

I third the point about the GP - my sister is a physio and says that very, very few pelvic floor problems are totally unfixable, but a lot of women have been told it is unavoidable and therefore don't get the help they deserve.

There is more that professionals can do, and it's important to address earlier rather than as you get older and the issue worsens. Good luck!

procrastinatingagain Fri 03-Jan-14 19:19:47

My gp did tell me that any exercise that makes you wee will also strengthen your pelvic floor. Was good to know that although I was pissing myself, it was doing me some good hmm

Greeneyed Mon 06-Jan-14 14:07:19

I have the same problem, just wear black shorts and hope I look sweaty!

CoteDAzur Mon 06-Jan-14 14:09:49

Get your pelvic floor sorted first. Have physio. It doesn't take very long and isn't that hard.

shock at people here telling you to wear pads etc. Surely you need to sort out the problem if you can't run without leaking pee.

gussiegrips Mon 06-Jan-14 20:20:14

Have been summoned onto this thread via my spies...

I'm a women's health physio and am in a grumpy mood, so, brace yourselves...

Some facts. Like, evidence based facts (the sciencey bit?):
1. All loss of bladder control is abnormal.
2. 1:3 women aged 35-55 wet themselves.
3. 70-80% of simple stress incontinence can be cured in 3 months by doing pelvic floor exercises.


4. when you run there is x3 your body weight rattling up your leg into your pelvic floor with every single step that you take.

So. Even if you are a 7 stone weakling, that's 21 stones of pressure on your muscles.

Add to that the weight of your guts bouncing on top of the pelvic floor. And, factor in that they get tired (some folk are fine running 5k, but wee themselves trying to get to 10k) along with the rest of you, running on pavements in unsuitable trainers, too soon after having a baby when your ligaments are still all stretchy, and, well, this is why you leak.

It frustrates me to read threads like this where women accept that they piss themselves. It's a failure of my profession - we simply aren't getting the message across that beign incontinent is not an inevitable consequence of ageing or becoming a parent. Men bloody wouldn't put up with "oh, you're a daddy now, you'll just have to pad up and die a little inside".



1. Hold for a count of 10 seconds. Imagine you are bursting for the loo and trying to "hold on". That feeling is you working your pf. Clench for 10 secs, when you let go you should feel a "drop". No "drop" into your gusset and you've lost the contraction, so work on it! 10 seconds is a magic number as there's a reflex inhibition of your urge to pee, basically, it'll buy you more time before you HAVE to go.

2. 10 quick flicks. Same contraction as #1, only "on, off, on, off, on, off etc". This is for the fast twitch fibres, the ones that should work when you do something foolish like jump on a trampoline.

3. 3 floors - imagine you've got a lift in your vagina (I know, it's a weird thing, but, it works) Take the lift from the first, to 2nd, to 3rd floor and back down again. It's a mula bhanda from yoga - works a treat.

Do those 3 exs, x3 day for 3 months. Keep breathing when you do them, holding your breath is cheating. If you get pain, stop. If you're not sure what you're doing, either have a look with a handmirror (you'll see your fanjo sort of lift as you do the contraction) or bung something willing into your vagina and give it a squeeze. NHS recommends a finger, but, there's no research that says it absolutely HAS to be a finger - just something to squeeze. Whatever motivates you's good.

The problem is one of compliance, you'll forget. I use twitter as a training tool - @gussiegrips, I tweet, you twitch your twinkle.

I'd love MN to run this as a campaign - incontinence interferes with every single aspect of your life. At the moment, it might just be interfering with your dreams of running a marathon - but, these things progress and eventually your fanny can fall right out (yep, that's what a prolapse is, a degree or another of an inverted vagina. Google image if you want to scare yourself)

Oh, and the mooncup thing works. There's some research in the states suggesting that if you are doing exercise where you're wearing a sports bra then you should also be using internal support. Like an incostress, which is a silicone tampon thingie - it works by wodging everything up there and providing a support for your bladder. You can buy them from Boots online, or direct from the company - I'm not an employee, but, it is good evidence based gadget, about £30. She used to do a discount if you mentioned that Gussie sent you - might be worth asking!

And, I disagree with the GP's suggestion that if it makes you pee it also strengthens. If it makes you pee it's stressing your poor wee pf. Hmmph.

So. In short. Yep, there's loads you can do. Don't put up with it, you really don't have to. If the exs don't help, get referred.

<wanders off muttering about the number of folk who give up exercise because they wet themselves, develop heart disease and die (quite a lot)>

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 06-Jan-14 21:58:17

Thanks Gussie. I needed a good talking to I think!

I will start doing my pf exs properly and regularly (I find the fast twitches really tricky after about 3 or 4) and I'm really thinking about getting an inco stress.

Have you got any idea why I only struggle at Parkrun? I can manage to run the same time/distance not at Parkrun and be fine, but the second I cross the Parkrun finish line, the flood gates open blush

Slothlorien Mon 06-Jan-14 22:04:28

Great post Gussie.
I am in same (wet) boat. Every running step wee oozes out. Even if I go for wee just before I leave. Sodden pad at the end and wet trousers. Hence I love running in the rain as no one knows. blush
3 massive babies.
I need to go to docs.

msmoss Mon 06-Jan-14 22:04:41

Great post gussiegrips thank you for taking the time.

CoteDAzur Mon 06-Jan-14 22:08:19

Gussie - I had two babies in France, where new mums are routinely referred to specialists pelvic floor physiotherapy and stress incontinence is definitely not normal.

I was given a prescription and sent off to physio for pelvic floor even after my elCS, because "just carrying the weight of the baby strains pelvic floor, even without vaginal birth".

It is shocking that there isn't a similar system of postnatal care in the UK.

OrangeMochaFrappucino Mon 06-Jan-14 22:24:37

Gussie I'm hijacking the thread! Had no problems after my first pregnancy and delivery despite 2nd degree tear but now 24 weeks pregnant with my second and am leaking daily. Am not running or doing anything strenuous but over the course of the day it dribbles out. Been doing the 10 second squeezes for 3 reps of 8, 3 times a day and planned to discuss with mw at next appt. My big fear is this being worse after a second delivery and becoming a big problem post-pregnancy. Are the exercises you recommend on this thread likely to help prevent this? I'm afraid it is inevitable!

gussiegrips Tue 07-Jan-14 09:45:52

Organised - that's not uncommon! Usually it's because if you are running in an "event" you are more careful with your hydration. Everyone around you is glugging water, so you'll tend to drink more too.

Having said that, if you find you have times when you Need-to-go-and-I-need-to-go-NOW that's slightly different. Urgency is when you have very little warning - commonly found when you put the key into your front door and wet yourself on the welcome mat. This also responds to #doyerblardyexercises, but, there's some behavioural changes which are very effective, and medication which works a treat.

But, from what you've said - it's not happening anywhere other than parkrun? Have a think about how much water you're drinking, or (lightbulb) are you using sports drinks? Things like citrus are a bladder irritant, though, I'm not sure off the top of my head which sports drinks are a problem (usually it's only rum and coke that does me in. not appropriate for park run)

gussiegrips Tue 07-Jan-14 09:47:57

Cote - yep. And, French women tend to value themselves more than UK women (sweeping generalisation, but, bear with me) so, as a culture they expect to be able to resume a sexual relationship post-birth.

They are also fans of white trousers.

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