Women Athletes Beat the Bain of Urinary Incontinence

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle

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Women Athletes Beat the Bain of Urinary Incontinence
Kim Pierpoint, is a retired healthcare administrator and avid sprint triathlete. She did her first sprint at age 54 and was immediately hooked but out of shape. “As I started training harder,” she writes on her website, “I experienced embarrassingly visible bladder leaks. Running track was nearly impossible and at times I had to stop and go home.” At first, she says, “the bladder leaks were a minor annoyance. I leaked when I sneezed, coughed, or jumped on the neighbor’s trampoline.”
For a long time, she tolerated it in silence and tried every product she could find—disposable pads, incontinence underwear, and athletic apparel claiming to absorb and hide minor leaks. “Nothing worked for me but I wasn’t about to give up. The mental and physical health benefits of exercise far outweighed my personal discomfort. I vowed to come up with my own solution.”
She launched Prickly Pear Sports and designed shorts and leggings that feature a mesh brief—just like those you see in most running shorts—with a padded gusset that’s soft next to sensitive skin, absorbs and wicks moisture away from the body, and conceals urine leaks during athletic activity.
While common, bladder leaks are not normal no matter our age, fitness level, or whether we’ve borne children, and up to half of us will experience urinary leakage during our lifetime. Over 40% of elite female athletes (kick-ass women out there blasting stereotypes) experience bladder leakage during athletic activity. Older women aren’t the only ones with leaky bladders. Up to 45% of elite female high school and college athletes complain of bladder leakage during athletic activity (over 60% for gymnasts).Worst of all, about 20% of us give up doing what we love to do because of the embarrassment.
The condition is called Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), the involuntary release of urine during activities such as running, weight-lifting, jumping or even just sneezing. (Read More About SUI: pricklypearsports.com/how-they-work).

Remedies for SUI
Pierpoint is determined to share the information she gleaned from her own research and experience in her blog. “Through education, behavior modification techniques, strengthening exercises, stretching, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, and other techniques according to individual need, they can help you get your pee-free life back.
We strongly encourage women to consult a pelvic floor physical therapist or urogynecologist to diagnose and treat the problem that’s causing the incontinence to begin with. Judging from their growing presence on social media,” Pierpoint writes, “Pelvic floor physical therapists and urogynecologists have a thriving practice of grateful patients who are regaining health, function, and a return to normal physical activity free from bladder leaks. Pelvic floor PTs and urogyns are experts in the evaluation and treatment of pelvic floor disorders.”
Prickly Pear Sports’ mission is to enable active women—and women who long to be active again—to run, jump, laugh or lift without the embarrassment of visible bladder leaks. We want you off the sidelines and back doing what you love to do. Find out what’s causing your bladder to leak, seek treatment, and stay active while you’re at it. Go the distance with confidence.

Pricing: Leggings: $75; Shorts: $65. For more information: pricklypearsports.com; Instagram: @pricklypearsports; Facebook: @pricklypearsports.

Resources
To find a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor health, visit the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy website at https://aptapelvichealth.org/patienteducation.
Consult a urogynecologist, a physician who has received special training to diagnose and treat women with pelvic floor disorders: Find one near you in the American Urogynecologic Society’s provider directory: voicesforpfd.org/find-a-provider.
The Canyon Chronicle

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