Laura Gallagher Cox, 32, and her partner Izzy Songhurst, 23, both of Team GB's trampolinists, have revealed how they now endure stress incontinence when competing. The problem arises for many female athletes in high-impact sports such as gymnastics or rugby when the pelvic floor is constantly pressed downward to the point of being overly tight. Laura and Izzy told The Telegraph that they had to wear pads while competing or use the toilet five times every session. They said the anxiety they experience as a result of the worry of leaking can cause them to lose focus.
Although it is often perceived as a condition affecting women after childbirth, or something that develops with age, active women are more at risk of developing incontinence. Athletes' pelvic floor problems are not a result of too weak muscles, but rather a result of too tight muscles and the imbalance of how they contract as a result of training. There is a 177% higher risk of pelvic floor problems for female athletes than sedentary women, and this is the case for a wide range of sports including athletics, basketball, volleyball, cross country skiing, and running.
Incontinence is a common issue; over 3.3 million Canadians are managing incontinence. Never feel embarrassed or ashamed. You can use various tools and resources to help you through this. Look into online groups, forums, and videos. These can provide great support and more information.
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