Leaking urine while performing your daily activities, including walking, can be a cause of embarrassment and concern. If this occurs on a regular basis, you may begin to feel trapped, as it may become difficult to go anywhere without needing a bathroom nearby. Some people who have urine leakage may avoid regular activities, but there are some methods of controlling this situation that can help you to return to your normal lifestyle.
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Leaking urine while walking is called stress incontinence. This occurs when you are unable to control a small amount of urine leakage from the bladder, and it may happen with other activities as well, including running, sneezing or laughing. Under normal circumstances, the bladder holds urine in through two different muscles, and the nervous system tells the brain when it is time to empty. With stress incontinence, the muscles may become weakened and are unable to control small amounts that leak.
Stress incontinence may be caused by several factors, many of which weaken the pelvic or sphincter muscles. It may occur due to an injury to the pelvic area, vaginal childbirth or having multiple pregnancies, or a vaginal prolapse. For some people, urine leakage also occurs due to aging or by taking some types of medications. It happens most commonly among women, people who smoke, those who are overweight and those who have chronic conditions that cause coughing.
According to the Harvard Medical School, you may be able to reduce some amounts of urine leakage by strengthening the muscles of your pelvis. These muscles are responsible for holding urine, and working to condition them may provide better control. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are specifically designed to work these muscles. You can locate these muscles by practicing stopping the flow of urine when you are going to the bathroom. Only use this technique to determine the location of these muscles; afterward, you should practice Kegel exercises at times when you are not urinating. Squeeze the muscles and hold them for 3 to 5 seconds, then slowly release. Start by doing a few and then work up to 30 to 40 contractions a day.
There may be some devices that you can use to prevent urine leakage while walking. These are either internal or external, and you may need to discuss their use with your doctor. External devices include pads that collect urine that dribbles while walking. These adhesive pads can be secured inside underwear and are virtually undetectable when worn under clothing. Urinary caps and clamps are also available to prevent urine leakage. These external devices are available for both men and women with stress urinary incontinence. Internal devices for women include pessaries or tampons, both of which fit into the vagina and require using the pelvic muscles to keep in place. These items support the walls of the vagina and may help to reduce some uncontrolled urine leakage.