Eating disorders and pelvic floor dysfunction

 

Is this you? Are you constantly running to the bathroom? When you laugh is it hard to stay in the moment because you’re worried about peeing? Is jumping up and down out of the question? If you have to jump, do you prepare with a urinary leakage pad or toilet paper? Do you often have sudden urges to pee? Have you noticed the amount of times you use the bathroom has increased? When you have free time, are you doom scrolling on google ‘leaking pee woman’ or ‘leaking pee’ in an attempt to find an at home solution or professional urinary leakage treatment? If any of this sound like you, welcome! You may be dealing with what is known as urinary incontinence and Strength Within Physical Therapy & Wellness is here to help.

Many people experience urinary incontinence. Three populations in particular are athletes, individuals with eating disorders, and birthing people. Roughly 30% of college-aged female athletes report leaking pee during sport, while 40% of women with anorexia nervosa experience urinary incontinence. With these statistics in mind, it does not come as a surprise that athletes with eating disorders are about 50% more likely to have urinary incontinence. (Bø, 2001; Hextall, 1999; Nygaard, 1994)

 

Have you recently had a baby? Approximately 42% of birthing people experience urinary incontinence during pregnancy, and 32% still experience urinary incontinence eight weeks after childbirth. Though the likelihood is relatively high for the birthing population to experience leaking pee, it is important to remember that leakage is not normal and can be treated. (Mørkved & Bø, 1999)

 

So what can cause leakage?

    • Alcohol

    • Caffeine

    • Smoking

    • Carbonated drinks and sparkling water

    • Artificial sweeteners

    • Chocolate

    • Chili peppers

    • Foods that are high in spice, sugar or acid, especially citrus fruits

    • Heart and blood pressure medications, sedatives, and muscle relaxants

    • Large doses of vitamin C

    • Epidurals and spinal blocks

    • Tight and weak pelvic floor muscles

    • Child birth

* This list is not intended to promote restriction from these food items. Please use this list to bring awareness to how certain foods may affect your bladder. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2023;”10 Truths,” n.d.)

 

 

What can I do now to prevent leakage?

 

    • Stay hydrated

    • Prioritize restful sleep

    • Manage stress

    • PT guided stretches and exercises – check out the section below provided by Strength Within PT & Wellness

    • In order to achieve the best results for YOUR body, it is recommended to seek professional guidance

 

Try this! 👇

 

    • Guided adductor stretch with Strength Within PT in this video here

    • Guided breathwork with Strength Within PT in this video here

 

References:

    1. Nygaard, I. E., Thompson, F. L., Svengalis, S. L., & Albright, J. P. (1994). Urinary incontinence in elite nulliparous athletes. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 84(2), 183-187.
    2. Hextall, A., Majid, S., Cardozo, L., Boos, K., Hooper, R., & Treasure, J. (1999). A prospective controlled study of urinary symptoms in women with severe anorexia nervosa.NEUROUROLOGY AND URODYNAMICS,18, 128-128.
    3. Bø, K. A. R. I., & Borgen, J. S. (2001). Prevalence of stress and urge urinary incontinence in elite athletes and controls. Medicine and science in Sports and Exercise, 33(11), 1797-1802.
    4. Mørkved, S., & Bø, K. (1999). Prevalence of urinary incontinence during pregnancy and postpartum.International urogynecology journal and pelvic floor dysfunction,10(6), 394–398. https://doi.org/10.1007/s001920050067
    5. 10 truths: Leaking urine in pregnancy and after birth: Life as a parent articles & support: NCT. NCT (National Childbirth Trust). (n.d.). https://www.nct.org.uk/life-parent/your-body-after-birth/10-truths-leaking-urine-pregnancy-and-after-birth
    6. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2023, February 9). Urinary incontinence. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20352808

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