Friday, October 5, 2012

Just for the ladies: Peeing your panties on the track

If you've been around derby for very long, you know that weird things can happen on the track.  You learn your all of your body's weaknesses, whether there are preexisting conditions, or odd new aches and pains, you learn all about your body in derby.  Sometimes you learn that your body has a strange weakness that just blindsides you...like peeing your pants when you're hit.

Some skaters treat peeing their pants like a sort of like a rite of passage into the derby world, but I've never had that issue; yes, I've received hits so hard that the moved my fallopian tubes into my lungs for a second or two, but I've never experienced stress incontinence.  I know that it's impossible to completely avoid some incontinence situations, but hopefully this description of incontinence and  some of these tips will help you minimize the occurrences you experience on the track.

So what causes incontinence?  Shocking, one of the biggest risk factors of incontinence is being a woman.  Great!  Also, childbirth, coughing over a long period of time due to bronchitis, getting older (once again, great!), obesity and smoking can open you up to the terrors of tinkling on the track.  Most of the accidents on the track are usually chocked up to stress incontinence; you know you have stress incontinence if you pee a little when you sneeze, stand up fast, exercise intensely, or have sex.  That last one seems to be a little problematic, but it's listed as one of the symptoms, so I had to list it.

Much of stress incontinence can be controlled by behavioral changes; if you do change your behaviors and are still having issues with incontinence on the track or in daily life, please talk to your doctor about it.  It might be something that is easily solvable!  If your bouts with stress incontinence happen infrequently, then maybe following some of these behavioral changes will cut down or eliminate your need to wear a panty liner while you're jamming!

Did you know your bladder can hold up to two cups of urine?


1.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol which are all diuretics.  Right before practice, I tend to taper off drinking any Diet Coke products up my water drinking.  I think of it as "flushing my system" before I have to skate.

2.  Avoid fruit juices, carbonated beverages, and spicy food before practice.  Actually, that sounds like a great idea even if you don't have incontinence issues.  All of those things tend to irritate the bladder, which can lead to accidental, well accidents!

3.  Go to the bathroom more often.  When I get to practice, I go and pee.  After I gear up, I go and pee.  Usually that's enough to keep me from feeling like my bladder is full.  If I have any doubts, jumping up and down tends to make me feel like I should urinate one more time before I take the track.

4.  Eat more fiber.  There is a correlation between having regular bowel movements and not having stress incontinence.  Nom nom fiber!

5.  Lose weight.  Evidently, the heavier you are, the more you're courting stress incontinence.  Find a healthy diet, and a healthy exercise plan and you might feel better about a lot of aspects of your physical health.

6.  Do your kegels.  Yeah yeah, but they're good for you in so many ways.  In this link, the Mayo clinic suggests you do them three times a day.  Wow.  That's a lot of time spent thinking about weird muscles, but it will help stress incontinence.  If you aren't the kind of woman who can lie around and work on her kegels like that, other experts have suggested exercising them while you're in traffic, especially at red lights.  Who knows, it might be a funny experience for you, but always remember to empty your bladder BEFORE you do your kegel exercises.  I think that one is pretty self explanatory.

7.  Stay calm.  When we're nervous, we have to pee more, and our bladders go into hyperdrive.  Deep breaths and calming thoughts can help.

If you still find yourself having the occasional accident on the track, just try to remember that you aren't alone in your situation.  There are many many derby sisters who proudly wave the yellow flag with you.  Maybe one of these days, you'll cause someone else to wet their panties when you hit them!




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