Don't give up exercise over stress urinary incontinence

Running to the loo? Don’t give up exercise over stress urinary incontinence

July 27, 2021

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Stress urinary incontinence can be a particular problem when exercising as the additional pressure on the pelvic floor from lifting, jumping or running can trigger leakage. Many women have been put off participating in sport, changed their exercise routine or given up altogether. 

To lose urine during physical activity or sport is not normal. It creates a barrier to women’s participation in sport and fitness activities and, therefore, it may be a threat to women’s health, self-esteem and well-being. In fact, studies have shown that up to 20% of women have reported quitting physical exercise due to incontinence.* Those who have continued to exercise have resorted to measures such as wearing black clothing, or limiting their training to times and places with less people around. 

Baz Moffat, award-winning rower and co-founder of The Well HQ says, “We all need to move, yet so many women I work with don’t because they’re worried about leaking. It’s brilliant to see innovative products coming out to help women to get and keep moving that are addressing the real issues – such as stress urinary incontinence -behind why so few women are active enough.”

What is SUI? 

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is the most prevalent form of incontinence among women affecting 1 in 3 over the age of 18 and 2 in 3 over the age of 40.

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)

So why and when does SUI occur? 

SUI is when urine leaks out with sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra, causing the sphincter muscles to open briefly. This can happen during sports involving running, jumping or weightlifting. Laughing, sneezing or coughing can also put pressure on the affected area causing urine to leak. If the condition is more severe, less forceful activities could also cause leakage, including standing up, walking or bending over. 

SUI can impact a women’s mental, physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Some will even end up avoiding certain situations or activities they used to enjoy due to the condition. Things like sport, going to the pub, straying too far from a bathroom, even having a healthy relationship with your own body, can all fall by the wayside due to fear of urine leakage. 

The condition is most often caused by damage to or weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. This can occur following pregnancy or childbirth, or later in life with age. It can also happen as a result of being overweight, chronic coughing. Unfortunately, SUI can also occur for no reason at all. Treatments include pads, pessary-style products, pelvic floor exercises and surgery.

Who does Stress Urinary Incontinence affect?

SUI affects 1 in 3 women over the age of 18 and 2 in 3 over 40. Despite being such a common problem, the condition remains a taboo subject and few women feel able to discuss it with friends or family, even their partner. 

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)

Managing the symptoms of SUI

Contrelle could be the answer, treating the condition rather than simply managing the symptoms.

This new product has revolutionised women’s lives, enabling them to re-engage in exercise, take part in sport, run, swim, go to the gym, or just go for a walk. Managing the symptoms of SUI at the source provides women with a new level of freedom and confidence.

An innovative piece of FemTech, Contrelle has been developed to treat Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) amongst women of all ages – family and friends won’t even know it’s there! It works by lifting the bladder neck and urethra, via a cushion-soft, foam bladder support inserted into the vagina. The product has been well-received in Scandinavia for the past 10 years and is now being reintroduced to the UK. 

Superior to pads in every way, Contrelle is designed to stop bladder leaks before they happen, rather than absorbing them. It can be inserted before embarking on any kind of exercise, before a night out, or before any activity that might involve being a long way from a bathroom. In fact, it can be worn for up to 16 hours. 

Ash Monga is a consultant urogynecologist based at Southampton University Trust. He says, “Many women find pads uncomfortable or unsuitable, especially when seeking a solution to SUI and particularly when exercising. Contrelle is discreet and it can be used by the majority of suffers as and when needed, in combination with pelvic floor exercises or when waiting for surgery.” 

To ensure the fit is just right, Contrelle customers start with a sizing kit to establish the correct fit for them. Sizing kit RRP is £7.50, follow on packs in different sizes start at £18.75 for a 5-pack or a 30-pack for £90. 

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