I had a patient last week who told me, she only leaks urine when she is on trampoline with her kids. I know this scenario can resonate with a lot of moms because this is not the first time I have had a patient tell me this. This usually happened because of weakness of pelvic floor muscles but is not always the case. If that happens due to weakness, it is called stress urinary incontinence (SUI) which is defined as urinary incontinence with physical exertion or increase in intra-abdominal pressure. SUI affects 26-33% of the women who exercise. This number increases after pregnancy, childbirth and with age.
But it is not only common for pregnant or post-partum women, it is also very common among elite athletes. Another study looked at 35 elite trampolinist with average age of 17 in Sweden, out of which 28 (80%) reported leaking! In this population, pelvic floor strength is not the only factor that is contributing towards their symptoms. It can be strength of surrounding tissues, fascial integrity of around the pelvic organs, hyper mobility of the urethra and lot of other factors can be contributing. If the stress is repeated like in the case of trampolinist, it can alter the positioning of the pelvic organs and surrounding structures. For young women it can lead to more embarrassment and also demotivate them from the sport.
So doing only kegels would definitely not be the answer and sometimes can make the symptoms worse! A lot of people also repeatedly empty their bladder, but this can lead to symptoms or urgency and frequency of urination. For athletes, the body positioning and form during exercise can also be a predisposing factor.
Whether you suffer incontinence during jumping on trampoline with kids, or doing somersaults or skipping rope, and if you experience above symptoms then visit a pelvic health expert. You can also involve your pelvic floor physical therapist during your training if you an athletes to check for posture and form during the exercise/ training routines.
1.Bø, K. (2007). Stress urinary incontinence, physical activity and pelvic floor muscle strength training. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 2(4), 197–206.
2.Eliasson, K., Larsson, T., & Mattsson, E. (2002). Prevalence of stress incontinence in nulliparous elite trampolinists. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 12(2), 106–110
3.Logan, B. L., Foster-Johnson, L., & Zotos, E. (2018). Urinary incontinence among adolescent female athletes. Journal of Pediatric Urology, 14(3), 241.e1–241.e9.