Marathon runners may be at risk for incontinence

While many marathon runners may be preoccupied with shin splints, chafing and blisters come race day, one thing they may not consider is their bladder health.

"The added stress on the body that comes with a marathon can cause urinary stress incontinence problems during the race or down the road," said Melinda Abernethy, MD, fellow, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

"People who already suffer from incontinence also are at risk for bladder-control issues while running," Dr. Abernethy said.

Urinary stress incontinence is the loss of urine from physical activity such as coughing, sneezing and running. It is the most common form of incontinence, which affects women more often than men.

Researchers from Loyola University Health System will survey Chicago area runners to study the relationship between long-distance running and pelvic-floor disorders.

"This study will help us to better understand the link between endurance running and pelvic-floor disorders, including ," Dr. Abernethy said.

Until we know more, Dr. Abernethy recommends that runners should monitor their fluid intake and go to the bathroom at least every few hours during a marathon.

"Putting off going to the bathroom during the race is not healthy for your bladder," Dr. Abernethy said. "Runners also should avoid diuretics, such as coffee or tea, before the race, because this can stimulate the bladder and cause you to visit the bathroom more frequently."

Dr. Abernethy adds that pelvic-floor exercises such as Kegels may help runners prevent during the race. However, should speak with their doctor if they experience bladder-control problems during or after the marathon.

LUHS' Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and was the first of its kind in greater Chicago. It is still one of the few centers in the country that offers a single location for the multi-disciplinary diagnosis and treatment of women with pelvic-floor disorders. LUHS' urogynecological surgeons, doctors with the combined expertise of gynecology and urology, provide the most advanced medical and surgical care available for women with problems related to the lower urinary tract and the pelvic floor.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Meditate your way to better bladder health

May 04, 2009

After nine years of suffering in silence and living in fear of leaving the house, Anna Raisor, 53, turned to physicians at Loyola University Health System (LUHS) for alternative measures to treat the embarrassing side effects ...

Study shows 1 in 3 women has pelvic floor disorder

Mar 01, 2008

A new study by Kaiser Permanente found that one-third of women suffer from one or more pelvic floor disorders, which include symptoms such as the frequent urge to urinate, dropped pelvic organs, and incontinence. The study, ...

Recommended for you

World 'losing the battle' to contain Ebola: MSF

25 minutes ago

International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres said Tuesday the world was "losing the battle" to contain Ebola and called for a global biological disaster response to get aid and personnel to west Africa.

Mutating Ebola viruses not as scary as evolving ones

55 minutes ago

My social media accounts today are cluttered with stories about "mutating" Ebola viruses. The usually excellent ScienceAlert, for example, rather breathlessly informs us "The Ebola virus is mutating faster in humans than in animal hosts ...

War between bacteria and phages benefits humans

1 hour ago

In the battle between our immune systems and cholera bacteria, humans may have an unknown ally in bacteria-killing viruses known as phages. In a new study, researchers from Tufts University, Massachusetts ...

Ebola kills 31 people in DR Congo: WHO

3 hours ago

An outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed 31 people and the epidemic remains contained in a remote northwestern region, UN the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.

Dengue fever strikes models in Japan

6 hours ago

A worsening outbreak of dengue fever in Japan has claimed its first celebrities—two young models sent on assignment to the Tokyo park believed to be its source.

Japanese researchers develop 30-minute Ebola test

6 hours ago

Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a new method to detect the presence of the Ebola virus in 30 minutes, with technology that could allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection.

User comments