Why do I pee when I run? The surprising truth

Running is a great exercise that helps to keep us healthy and active. However, for some people, running can lead to an awkward and embarrassing situation – peeing while running. While it may seem like a strange phenomenon, the truth is that it’s quite common, especially among women. This article aims to explore the reasons behind peeing while running and what you can do to prevent it.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence refers to the accidental leakage of urine, which can be caused by a weak bladder or pelvic floor muscles. A weak bladder can be caused by pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, obesity, or certain medications. Pelvic floor muscles, on the other hand, can weaken due to aging, pregnancy, childbirth, or surgery.

Types of Urinary Incontinence

There are two main types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence: This occurs when there is increased pressure on the bladder, causing it to leak urine. It is commonly associated with activities that involve physical exertion, such as running, jumping, or coughing.
  • Urge incontinence: This occurs when you have a sudden urge to urinate, and you can’t hold it in. It can be caused by diseases such as diabetes or Parkinson’s, or as a side effect of certain medications.

Why Do You Pee When You Run?

Running can cause increased pressure on the bladder, especially for women. As you run, the abdominal muscles contract, and the pelvic floor muscles relax, leading to a temporary weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. This can cause urine to leak out, especially if the bladder is already full.

How to Prevent Urinary Incontinence While Running

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help to prevent urinary incontinence while running. Kegel exercises are a great way to target the muscles that support the pelvic floor. To do Kegels, tighten the muscles that you would use to stop urinating, hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds, and then release. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times, two to three times per day. Over time, this can help to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder and prevent leaks.

Try Bladder Training

Bladder training involves gradually increasing the time between bathroom breaks to help the bladder get used to holding more urine. Start by keeping a bladder diary to monitor your bathroom habits. Then, try to hold off on going to the bathroom for a few extra minutes each day. Over time, your bladder will adjust to holding more urine, reducing the likelihood of leaks.

Wear Protective Clothing

Wearing protective clothing such as panty liners or specialized underwear can help to absorb any leaks that may occur while running. These products are designed to be discreet and comfortable, helping to prevent any awkward or embarrassing situations.

Consult a Doctor

If you experience frequent or severe urinary incontinence, it’s important to see a doctor. They can help to diagnose the cause of your incontinence and recommend treatments such as medications or surgery.


Peeing while running can be an embarrassing problem, but it’s not uncommon. It is often caused by weak bladder or pelvic floor muscles, which can be strengthened through exercise or bladder training. If you experience frequent or severe incontinence, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Commonly Asked Questions About Peeing While Running

  • Can running cause long-term bladder damage?
  • While running can cause temporary leaks, it does not typically cause long-term bladder damage. However, if you experience frequent leaks or incontinence, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Is incontinence more common in women than men?
  • Yes, urinary incontinence is more common in women than men. This is due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and other factors that can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.

  • Can drinking more water help prevent leaks?
  • While it may seem counterintuitive, drinking more water can actually help to prevent leaks. When you don’t drink enough water, the urine becomes concentrated, which can irritate the bladder and lead to leaks. Drinking more water can help to dilute the urine and reduce irritation.

  • Can incontinence be treated?
  • Yes, incontinence can be treated. Treatment options include pelvic floor exercises, bladder training, medications, or surgery.

  • Are there any natural remedies for incontinence?
  • Some natural remedies for incontinence include herbal supplements, acupuncture, and biofeedback. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor before trying any natural remedies, as they may interact with medications or have unwanted side effects.


1. Mayo Clinic. 2021. Urinary Incontinence. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20352808 [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].

2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2021. Urinary Incontinence in Women. [online] Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/urinary-incontinence-women [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].

3. National Association for Continence. 2021. Bladder Control for Women. [online] Available at: https://www.nafc.org/womens-bladder-control [Accessed 1 Oct. 2021].

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