Incontinence When Running: Why Do I Urinate When I’m Running?

Incontinence When Running: Why Do I Urinate When I’m Running?

There are two types of people in the world: those who hate running and those who love it. If you’re part of the latter group of people who can’t get enough of the heart-racing, adrenaline-pumping benefits going for a run has to offer, then you probably already know how amazing a quick jog can make you feel.

Of course, it’s only fun when you can stay dry the entire time. Many people experience urinary incontinence, or bladder loss, during runs and other strenuous activities. 

So why exactly does that happen? What’s making you leak during a run, and what are some things you can do to stop it?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Incontinence?

Incontinence is the loss of bladder control, and this can be ranked on a scale between mild to severe. Mild incontinence is just a few drips and dribbles, usually up to about 20g daily. Severe incontinence usually means you cannot hold your bladder in any sense, reaching over 75g within 24 hours.

All sorts of things can cause incontinence, but there are five main types:

  • Urge incontinence: This is when you have a sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed almost immediately by loss of bladder control. It’s often caused by an underlying condition, like an infection.
  • Overflow incontinence: If you experience frequent drips and dribbles throughout the day because your bladder doesn’t empty completely, this is known as overflow incontinence.
  • Functional incontinence: This is when you have an underlying condition that prevents you from making it to the bathroom on time, like severe arthritis or dementia.
  • Stress incontinence: This happens when your bladder leaks due to pressure from coughing, sneezing, exercising, or lifting something heavy.
  • Mixed incontinence: This is when you experience a combination of two different types of incontinence.

Urinating while exercising is most commonly related to stress incontinence. However, some people might also urinate during a run because they haven’t emptied their bladder completely or feel a sudden urge to go.

Why Do I Urinate While Running?

Running or other forms of exercise can put excess stress on your bladder, hence the term stress urinary incontinence (SUI). People with this form of incontinence tend to have a weak bladder due to weak muscles in the pelvic floor. 

When increased pressure is on the bladder, such as from the force of hitting the ground during a run, it can cause the bladder to empty slowly. Most individuals with stress incontinence are born with it, but it can be worsened by chronic coughing, obesity, or surgical procedures.

How Can I Manage Urine Loss While Running?

If you love running, there should be no reason for you to stop doing it. The good news is that there are a few different ways for you to manage your urine loss while going for a run.

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

One of the main reasons you might be having trouble keeping it in as you go for a run is that your pelvic floor muscles aren’t as strong as they once were. Your pelvic floor is the muscles that connect between the tailbone and your groin. It’s responsible for controlling your bladder and letting you know when you need to go to the bathroom.

You can do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen this area and make it easier to hold in your leaks during strenuous activity. All you need to do is squeeze your pelvic floor for a few seconds throughout 15-minute intervals. You’ll probably start to notice results within just a few weeks.

It might be smart to try to ease off on the running for a few weeks as you work to strengthen your pelvic floor. Then, the next time you hit the pavement, you’ll be ready to go.

Stop Smoking

Smoking can lead to lung cancer, oral cancer, and other unwanted conditions. But it can also make you pee more. This is because smoking causes you to cough more often, which puts increased pressure and stress on the bladder, resulting in weaker pelvic floor muscles (more leaks).

We’re not saying you must completely give up your weekend routine of sitting on the porch with a cigar and a glass of whiskey. We’re on a mission to help you keep doing what you love — but we don’t want incontinence to keep getting in the way. Being mindful of your smoking and trying to cut back on it will only do you more good in the long-term.

Be Mindful of Your Fluid Intake

Before going for a run, it might not be a great idea to chug a whole bottle of water. But being mindful of your fluid intake can make or break your next jog.

Many people make the mistake of drinking fewer fluids if they experience incontinence because they don’t want to go to the bathroom more. The thing is, doing this can do more harm than good because it decreases your bladder capacity. You want to drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily to keep your bladder functioning as it should.

With that said, you’ll want to try to go to the bathroom before going for a run to empty your bladder and lessen the chances of a leak during your workout. Additionally, try to allot for breaks during your run where you might be able to replenish lost fluids and take a bathroom break if needed.

Manage Your Impact

Your impact on others should be strong, but your impact on the floor should be as smooth as possible. Some of the reasons why you might be leaking during a jog are due to your form.

When running, it’s easy to slam the ground with your feet flat. But not only can this affect your joints, but it also puts a lot of pressure on your bladder. 

Think about running as jumping from one foot to the other. Land with your toes first, almost like a cat, every time you hit the pavement. This disperses your weight by putting as little pressure on your joints (and bladder) as possible.

You might also want to invest in a nice pair of running shoes with great cushioning to lessen the impact or go for runs on turf rather than pavement. 

Wear Protection

If your incontinence is preventing you from doing something you love, like running, golfing, or playing another sport, Male Drip Protection is on a mission to get you back to doing what you love. MDP is a revolutionary product specifically formulated for men with incontinence.

Most incontinence products are made with women in mind. They’re flat, absorbent pads that are great for the female anatomy, but not so much for the nature of your manhood. Not to mention, many incontinence products are too small or large, requiring you to wear briefs (even if you’re a boxers type of guy).

MDP is form-fitting to the male anatomy. It’s less of a pad and more of a sleeve that goes right over your penis in comfort and style. 

Plus, its proprietary two-strap design lets you loosen or tighten the product at any point. So you don’t need to worry about finding the right fit, especially when you can readjust throughout the day.

They also use a soft, cloth-like material that won’t chafe or move around during your runs and workouts. It can also hold up to two ounces of drips and dribbles — which is about the same as a shot glass. So you can go for entire marathons without worrying about staining the outside of your shorts.

The best way to see the difference is to feel it for yourself. Try MDP today to finally get back to what you love most.

In Conclusion

Loss of bladder control during strenuous activity is perhaps one of the most common forms of urinary incontinence. Stress incontinence happens when pressure is placed on the bladder from running, lifting, jumping, coughing, sneezing, and more.

You can lessen your bladder leakage during a run by strengthening your pelvic floor, reducing smoking, managing your fluid intake, and working on your running form. You can also protect yourself from drips and dribbles with MDP, a new way to fight back against incontinence.



Definition of mild, moderate and severe incontinence on the 24-hour pad test | NCBI

Urinary incontinence - Symptoms and causes | The Mayo Clinic

Don't Quit Exercising Because Of Urinary Incontinence | National Association for Continence