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We pee during workouts

Pee your pants in workouts? So do pro-athletes ...

Pee-leaks in sports (or athletic leaks or exercise-induced leakages) are a very common occurrence in women. Take this: between 10% and 55% of women between 12 and 69 years old experience athletic leaks, depending on the nature of the sport.

You may think it’s because you are getting older, are not fit enough or not slim enough and have popped out a few children along the way. But now get this: pee-leaks occur in up to 80% of young, childless elite athletes, depending on the nature of the sport. We will leave the discussion of whether sports leaks are ‘normal’ or just ‘common’ to the medical experts. But we can’t help thinking that if the issue concerns around half of all women, it sounds very much like ‘normal’ to us.

So, why do pee-leaks happen in sports?

Well, here is another interesting fact: nobody really knows. Conventional opinion was that pee-leaks are a result of decreased strength in the pelvic floor area. However, a newer research found that there was not a significant difference in the strength of pelvic floor muscles of untrained women compared to athletes who were competing in their sports for at least 3 years. Not clear is whether this suggests that exercising doesn’t strengthen the pelvic floor significantly or whether there is a different underlying cause.

Experiencing pee-leaks myself and in discussing the topic candidly with other women, we suspect that 3 aspects may play a role:

One factor is the intensity of the workout: take trampoline versus golf or swimming.

Another aspect is the level of physical and mental fatigue of the athlete: after a busy day of work, rushing to get dinner on the table and hurrying to get to the gym in time, you are more likely to leak during an intense workout than on a Sunday morning after breakfast. And this may also be where the often cited fitness level plays a role, because professional athletes have a better endurance and can go longer or harder before fatigue sets in. But eventually …

And from what we understand from the many conversations we have had, the time of the monthly cycle may be a contributing factor too and pee-leaks during workouts are more likely during heavy period days.

With more research in the future we will hopefully soon have a better understanding of the cause of the issue and what a ‘cure’ or treatment could be. For sure, strengthening the pelvic floor is always a good idea, but we may get disappointed if we hope this to be the silver bullet.

And how do women cope?

It has saddened us to see the impact athletic leaks can have on women, both on their self-esteem and in their choice of exercises. We know of women who have stopped exercising altogether or are avoiding certain exercises. Most women we know use disposable panty liners, only wear black leggings so that the stains don’t show too badly, or they just don’t go hard in the workout when it is ‘one of those days’.


We are not scientists or medical doctors, but we are practical women who want to face the issue and find workable solutions. We hope that with our absorbent sports undies we can help making women care a lot less about their pee-leaks so that they can focus on what matters more: their wellness, wellbeing, athletic goals and intentions.

Works Cited

Lourenco, Thais Regina de Mattos, et al. 2018. Urinary incontinence in female athletes: a systematic review. National Library of Medicine. [Online] 2018.

Ludviksdottir, Ingunn, et al. 2018. Comparison of pelvic floor muscle strength in competition-level athletes and untrained women. National Library of Medicine. [Online] 2018.

Bø, Kari, 2004. Urinary incontinence, pelvic floor dysfunction, exercise and sport. National Library of Medicine. [Online] 2004.

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