3 Rounds for Time
400m Run
21 Kettlebell swings (53#/35#)
18 Toes to rings
15/10 Calorie bike

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Do You Have a Leaky Cauldron?

Is leaking during box jumps or double unders making you batty? Do you tie your sweatshirt to cover your full moon? Oh, I got bladder puns for DAYS! But all corny jokes aside, bladder leaks happen, and often. As many as than 1 in 3 women have experienced a leak within the last 30 days. Like a ghost, I’m gonna go full transparency here. #ileaksometimes. I’ve even wondered if I am a fraud for admitting that seeing as I’m in the vagina business. But the important fact is, I’ve learned to listen to my bladder. Pelvic floor muscle function is affected by lifestyle, anatomy, genetic and reproductive factors as well as age. If I have been sleeping poorly, pounding coffee all day and my stress/anxiety levels are bridging near toxic, odds of staying dry are not in my favor. Pelvic floor muscles are just like any other muscle in the body and if they are taxed beyond their performance capacity, tired, or impacted by bladder irritants, tears might run down my legs. When it happens, I might initially laugh it off but I am also saying, “OK Blanche, I hear you. (Blanche is a wonderful bladder name). Most of the above are under my control. Balancing my training with recovery, pacing of hydration, breathing and relaxation exercises to balance my stress levels, and pelvic floor stretches to decrease the muscle activity so they aren’t so wound up and tired. Occasional leaks happen and like the common cold, I don’t expect everyone to run to the doctor every time they get the sniffles. So, let’s talk through some simple home remedies beyond just doing Kegels. For starters, do a simple fluid and bladder log for 2-3 days. There is an app I love called iUFlow that will track the recordings of what you drink, when you pee, if you leaked, and what you were doing when you leaked. It will also have you log how strong the urge is for you to go, like did I go “Just in case” or are we “Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now” status. I recommend counting your pee in seconds to track the volume in ounces and commenting on the activity you were doing when the leak happened in the description section e.g. strong urge to go, cough, or a box jump (first jump or after the 5th round). This way you can start to self assess if you leak only with the strong urge to go, during increased pressure or impact, or a mixture of the two. This is the first step in helping you treat bladder leaks.

By knowing when and what correlates with the leak, you can start to assess things like fluid management. If you are unable to hold your bladder for at least 2 hours but not more than 4 and leak with the strong urge to go, consider making small and slow adjustments to your hydration strategies in order to get to your desired drinking volume. If the only fluids you drink during the day are caffeinated, carbonated, citrusy, have artificial sugar, or alcoholic, then that is also a big contributing factor. The bladder has sensors for inflammation and these are common bladder irritants.

Lastly, if you’ve ever been told, or consider yourself a Type A personality, chances are your pelvic floor is probably a little wound up. The pelvic floor muscles can get sore, tired, and sensitive for many different reasons. This might feel like low back fatigue or cramping, commonly referred to as a “Pelvic headache.” Muscles in our bodies commonly go into guarding and protecting mode when our system feels under attack. This attack could be common stressors or triggers in your life and your body is using these areas, even your bladder, to get your attention and do something about it. To help relax my pelvic floor, so it can function like a trampoline for shock absorption of my bladder, I will start with some deep breathing called blocked or tactical breathing. Inhale for a count of 4 while my belly and pelvic floor lengthen and expand, hold at the top for a count of 4, exhale gently for a count of 4, hold at the bottom for a count of 4. Repeat that cycle about 3-4 times. This gives my bladder and pelvic floor the 3 things it needs in order for it to relax: oxygen, space, and circulation. I might even do this while I am in a stretch like child’s pose or a deep squat for more targeted relaxation. So the next time you leak, don’t just laugh it off. Try a few of these tips. If you’re still having trouble with leaks, give yourself a trick or a treat, and schedule a visit at Kitsap Physical Therapy today.

– Kara Stadshaug PT, DPT, CLT, PHC