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

Restrictions lifted at British bird flu farm

10 hours ago

Britain on Sunday lifted all restrictions at a duck farm in northern England after last month's outbreak of H5N8 bird flu, the same strain seen in recent cases across Europe.

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

Dec 20, 2014

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

Dec 20, 2014

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.