Symptoms: You're running and you suddenly realize your running shorts are wet with urine. The leakage can be just a trickle or a stream.
Causes: When your pelvic and sphincter muscles are strong, they can handle the extra pressure from a cough, sneeze, exercise, or laugh. But when those muscles become stretched and weak – which often happens because of pregnancy and childbirth -- that sudden pressure can push urine out of the bladder. The muscles can also weaken with age, although that's not true for everyone.
Treatment: An effective treatment for incontinence, Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and don't require any equipment. To locate the right muscles, try stopping your urine flow without using your stomach, leg or butt muscles. When you're able to slow or stop the stream of urine, you've located the right muscles. Contract the muscles for 10 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times. Try to do the pattern three to four times a day. After about six to eight weeks, you should notice that you have fewer leaks and more bladder control.
Extra body weight also puts extra pressure on your bladder. By losing weight, you may be able to relieve some of that pressure and regain your bladder control.
If you've tried these strategies and you're still having problems with incontinence, talk to your doctor. Severe cases may require surgery.