Pee a little when you run?

May 30, 2017

Peeing a little when you run is a very common symptom. While the severity can range for an annoying, possibly embarrassing, inconvenience to a huge obstacle in participating in your favourite sport. As a Naturopathic Doctor I care about health promotion and am invested in the quality of your health. For me, running is a wonderful tool for a health promotion and disease prevention and when I hear clients are “peeing a little” I get concerned. Not only because I want you to be happy, healthy and running freely but mostly because “peeing a little” is a sign of pelvic instability, putting you at increased risk for other injuries.

Supporting our pelvic floor and internal organs isn’t something we tend to think about…until things go wrong.  New moms, post surgical patients and those suffering from constipation are just a few who may be suffering more than others.  During delivery, the muscles of the pelvic floor are stretched and can be weakened.   Possible bruising, tearing and residual pain can contribute to incontinence and as well as prolapsed organs. The chronic downward pressure from years of constipation can also wreak havoc on this region.  What does that mean?  You might pee a little when you run!

Medications and surgical procedures are available for over active or weak bladders but are generally reserved for more severe cases and do not often fully address your risk of injury or love of running.  There is often a huge gap in prescribing therapy and without the right medical advice, we might feel we are left to accept the fact that we have to manage peeing and running, and for me this is unacceptable.

As with any condition, it is important to understand your options and address why you may be suffering.  In regards to incontinence, your practitioner needs to know, are your muscles too weak and you need to support your pelvic floor? Or are these same muscles too tense and in a constant state of contraction?  For some, the root of their problem might stem from a mental emotional platform, or even be attributed to certain foods or bladder stimulants commonly in the environment.  A thorough diagnosis and assessment should be complete and pelvic instability should not be ignored.

Treatment options are available and we believe an integrative model provides the most comprehensive support. Your options might include pelvic physiotherapy, nutrition advice to decrease stimulation from irritation or constipation, and even acupuncture.

In fact, studies show acupuncture is a safe and effective method of reducing the amount of leakage we may experience.  Whole-body benefits are received with acupuncture in which other ailments and imbalances such as post partum depression and constipation can be addressed at the same time.  Often patients feel relaxed and refreshed post treatment.  Four or more weekly acupuncture treatments have been shown to significantly improve symptoms.

Rest assured it certainly is OK to “pee a little” but it’s not ok to settle when you have options and your future running self is at risk. Regaining bladder control is empowering and can reward us with the confidence to maintain an exercise program and active lifestyle.  Naturopathic Doctors are trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.  Making use of your extended health care insurance can help you live the life you want!

For more information on how to support your pelvic floor, sign up for this months complimentary seminar and Pelvic Floor Program!


Dr. Jennifer Tanner, has a broad, evidence based practice with a focus on sports and performance based medicine. Being a marathon runner and having been a competitive equestrian, an active lifestyle is important. Dr. Tanner uses a variety of tools including Acupuncture and Clinical Nutrition, putting an emphasis on “food as medicine” and addressing the root causes of inflammation . In conjunction with the Integrative Health team, Dr. Tanner is thrilled to help people achieve an optimal state of health and pursue their performance based health goals!

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