THE UNSPOKEN URGE – DO YOU WEE WHEN YOU WOD?
So as morto as I feel even writing this sentence I believe for many ladies out there it needs to be said …….My name is Jayne , I CrossFit and occasionally I get an ungodly uncontrollable urge to wee when I workout and yes there have been some close calls as I run( power waddle ) to the bathroom! There I said it, I’ve peed when I worked out.
This initially was something that caused me a lot of embarrassment and stress. I assumed it was just me. I have had minor issues with my bladder and kidneys the majority of my life and was reaching the point of reluctant acceptance with it all when I was told in my late 20’s that I had an overactive/irritable bladder (yup this is a thing). It seems as soon as my bladder has any liquid in it, the detrusor muscle at the opening goes crazy and makes me feel like I’m bursting to go …..Not fun, my diva bladder doesn’t like wee at all!! I had an option to medicate long term or learn to make lifestyle changes and deal with it. Medication was not for me , so I needed to find another route!
Now I knew what was wrong with me but this didn’t take away the embarrassment or overall stress and discomfort it caused me. When the urgency hit it still made me feel like a freak and I found it upsetting. I worried everyone would notice and judge me , or get irritated with my constant need to pee. I understood this happening to women who have given birth and lost some of the control due to muscle damage but for me I just had an embarrassing condition I thought sounded ridiculous. I was being pretty hard on myself .
Then I saw this video
This video brought the whole situation to light. Here were amazing athletes at the peak of physical fitness peeing when they worked out! I felt such a relief ( possible poor choice of word)! I read up on the subject more and saw that this happened to a lot of female athletes under high intensity workouts or lifts. This led me to feel comfortable discussing this issue with other women. I found a high percentage of women I spoke to had this happen to them to varying degrees regardless of child birth or not.
Common movements where this occurs are double unders and box jumps. Primarily anything that involves repetitive jumping!
Discovering others were dealing with this too and seeing the video was like a weight lifted , sure in the video it was almost a badge of how hard you pushed and the intensity of your training…………………um now this didn’t quite sit well with me .
As my mind started ticking over I began to think more along the lines of why are we accepting this as normal? There has to be ways of improving and lessening the issue. I know with my own bladder condition there are diet and lifestyle changes that lessen the symptoms of the urgency so what then can lessen the stress on our bladders in training? There must be a way.
So whilst this video broke down the embarrassment of the situation it doesn’t even touch on addressing it. Thankfully there are plenty of resources and people who have advice on addressing this issue.
Scientifically this issue is called Stress Urinary Incontinence (urge incontinence when the muscle is overactive like mine)
Basically your pelvic floor is made up of lots of muscles and fascia that create a support for our bladder and also our uterus, Weakness is these muscles can occur due to a number of reasons like births , pregnancy , injury or even just a general idiopathic weakness that some of us may have . When this support is weakened and we move vigorously like a double under or box jump then anything that may want to come out is unfortunately going to come out.
In most cases it will be muscle weakness or poor urether sphincter control that causes this issue. For me because my detrusor muscle is overactive it becomes overworked and therefore weakened when it needs to contract. Lots of different reasons for one very common issue.
So do we just accept this? No not at all. Like any muscles there are ways to make them stronger.
Talking to a good chartered physiotherapist or your gynecologist can help they can offer advice on how to fix this. I want to open this door for everyone to feel comfortable discussing this with each other and their coaches to remove any embarrassment.
I have found using principles from yoga and Pilates that focus on engaging the pelvic floor muscles have helped me gain better control along with engaging my glutes more .Also as I get better and more efficient in jumping movements along with bracing correctly the problem is lessening . For me the urge will always pop up as my detrusor will always be overactive but training and strengthening the muscles around it makes me feel more confident I’m in control and the urgency will pass. It’s a work in progress but I’m seeing progress. Everyone is different and improving the issue may take time, but it can be improved.
No double under fear for me anymore!
Here is an excellent article from Jen Sinkler with advice from a physical therapist on tackling this issue; I found this a very beneficial read and hope you do to!