Guest post by Amanda Fisher, DPT, Owner/ Physical Therapist at Empower Your Pelvis.
Up until I had children, peeing my pants was something I was fearful of doing. I did not want to be the kid in P.E. at school who peed her pants when hitting the volleyball, I did not want to wet the bed at my besties sleepover and especially did not want to pee my pants while running or being tickled. But I did.
I remember peeing my pants when I was 21 (in physical therapy school) while running. At the time, I was learning how the musculoskeletal system works and the fact that strong individuals were peeing their pants did not make sense to me. So I began specializing in pelvic floor physical therapy to learn more about what was going on.
After I graduated, I was working with teenage girls who were competing in gymnastics, cheerleading or playing other sports who were also peeing their pants and they had not had children yet. It started making sense to me, that something was going on with the pelvic floor muscles and the rest of the body, and it did not always happen after childbirth.
Pelvic Floor Muscles
Our pelvic floor muscles are our muscles inside the pelvis and they are a part of our “core”. When they work properly, we are able to stop the flow of urine, hold back gas, keep fluids in and let fluids out when we tell them it’s time, have orgasms, pain free intercourse, and our organs are supported by the muscles and not falling into our vaginal canal (pelvic organ prolapse).
When dysfunction begins happening, some part of the system is not working well. It could be the pelvic floor muscles (their strength, endurance, how they contract and relax or range of motion) how they connect with your breath, or compensations that are made with poor body mechanics. For instance, our pelvic floor lengthens when we squat down to the floor or to sit in a chair and then it contracts as you move from sitting to standing. If we spend a lot of our time bending at the waist to pick things up off the ground instead of squatting down to get it, our pelvic floor starts to not work the way we need it to. We may begin compensating with our back muscles instead.
The pelvic floor muscles stay tight when we bend at the waist and if we do this often, it can learn to be in a shortened range of motion. Then when you need it to fire so you don’t pee your pants with coughing/ sneezing/ exercising, it is not moving well and will most likely cause you to wet your pants.
Just like any other injury or dysfunction (sprained ankle, low back pain, etc.) you would most likely see a physical therapist to help you restore your function.
If you are noticing you are peeing your pants, even once a month, you should see a pelvic floor physical therapist to help assess your dysfunction and get you on the road to recovery. We are specialized in this area and love helping men and women restore their function and get them back to doing what they love.
We look at how your body is moving through activities, look at the strength, endurance and range of motion of the pelvic floor muscles and see how it is all coordinating with movement. Our goal is to get you back to doing what you love or functioning well while keeping your pants dry. Listen to your body this year, and know that peeing your pants is NOT normal.. but it is common.
Morgan and I at Empower Your Pelvis, pelvic floor physical therapy, want to help you keep your pants dry this year! Please feel free to email us if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.