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  • Writer's pictureDr. Katherine Shephard, PT, DPT

Leaking with Running

Wearing a pad every time you run? Wearing only black shorts/leggings? Noticing the wetness seems to be not just sweat?

If you’re thinking, “that’s me!” and you’re feeling over it, this is for you!

There’s hope!

When you experience leaking with running, here’s what’s going on:

The pelvic floor is a very dynamic set of muscles.Those muscles have to be especially dynamic when you’re running, which engages so many parts of your body. There are lots of things that could be going on with your pelvic floor that are probably contributing to leakage.

Here are some of the most likely culprits:

  • Your pelvic floor muscles are being engaged more than they need to be. 

  • Your body overall is holding more tension than is required.

  • Constipation.

  • Weak pelvic floor muscles.

Notice that weakness is last on the list? That’s because it’s not as common as people think. Many people have pelvic floor muscles that are strong enough—but just aren’t doing their job well. 

So before you assume that Kegels will solve the problem, here are a few things to try first:

  • Running with a slight forward lean. Running like you’re running uphill or into the wind can position your body such that your pelvic floor is better set up for success.

  • Running with a slightly faster cadence (how often your feet hit the ground). This changes where your foot hits the ground and how the force of hitting the ground is transferred through your pelvis and pelvic floor.

  • Get those bowel movements moving. Your rectum (where poop is stored) is right next to your vagina (if you have one) and bladder. When there is constipation, poop is taking up space and pressing on the bladder. This can lead to an unhappy bladder and leakage.

Overall, what these techniques can help with is creating an environment where your pelvic floor can do it’s job. Once you’ve recruited your pelvic floor to work more effectively, you should be able to experience less leakage while you enjoy your run.

Try it!

This is something we can work on together. Click the “Book” button to chat for free with a Discovery Call. 

Katherine Shephard, PT, DPT is driven by a passion to help people rebuild their confidence, resume their lives, and reclaim their normal by improving pelvic floor health. 

Along with treating patients and running New Normal PT, she also mentors other pelvic health physical therapists and lectures at St. Catherine University in their doctor of physical therapy and physical therapist assistant programs.

Dr. Shephard treats adults and children of any gender with pelvic floor-related symptoms. With three littles at home, she can relate to parents and translate her care to work with their busy lives. New Normal PT offers both in-person and virtual care options for maximum convenience and flexibility.  


Katie Portrait

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