"But I Only Pee When I Jump..."
This is one of the most common things I hear. Imagine you come in for a physical therapy appointment with a primary complaint of hip or low back pain. As a pelvic health PT, I ask you a lot of questions you probably aren’t used to but that are related to how the pelvic floor muscles are functioning (how many times do you pee in a day? Is your urine stream straight or does it veer to the side? What does your poop look like? Do you have pain with sex? Are you able to orgasm?). You say that you don’t really have urinary leakage, but whenever you do jumping jacks or double unders, you do pee a tiny bit. That’s normal, right? Nope!
Most people assume that since they do not completely lose control of their bladder and that it only happens during a very specific and challenging exercise, that they do not have a problem with their pelvic floor. I’m here to tell you that this is not supposed to happen. Even if you have superhuman strength and are able to lift up a car, you are not supposed to pee your pants! Peeing your pants AT ALL is a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction.
So why does this happen? The reason is truly different for everyone. However, here are some common theories as to why this could be happening to you:
1) Your pelvic floor muscles are weak and jumping is a stressful activity that puts an increased pressure on the pelvic floor. Weak muscles = inability to control bladder function, so you lose a little urine.
2) Your pelvic floor muscles are too active, which over time has caused weakness and you lose control of the bladder. Think of this in terms of bicep strength: If you walked around doing bicep curls all day without a break, your muscles will eventually fatigue out and you lose strength. The same kind of thing can happen in the pelvic floor (in fact, it is extremely common in the active population).
3) You’re losing pelvic floor support in a jump. The deep hip muscles and adductor muscle groups (AKA groin muscles) act as supporters to the pelvic floor. While we are jumping, these muscles are no longer as active and your pelvic floor losses some support.
4) You’re holding your breath or pushing down into your abdomen when you jump. Both of these put a lot of stress on the pelvic floor and can cause the muscles to “turn off” when they are supposed to be “on”.
If you’re someone that has experienced this, the best thing you can do for your function and health is to see a pelvic health physical therapist. We have extensive training in treating the pelvic floor and related structures and want you to not have to go through life feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Not to mention, if the root cause of the issue is not addressed, it is very likely this dysfunction can lead into something more serious.
Any questions come up while you were reading this? Feel free to reach out and call our pelvic health physical therapist, Dr. Tyler Kornblum, for more information. You can contact Dr. Tyler directly at Tyler@absolutekineticspt.com or by calling/texting (513) 208-2257.
Blog by Dr. Tyler Kornlum, PT, DPT, ATC