Trying out a spinning class or purchasing new running shoes can push your workout to the next level. But 44-year-old Shawna Wager of Minneapolis needed to take control of her bladder before she could push herself any further. Now she's training for the Chicago half-marathon – leak-free.
Running a road race requires endurance, pacing and sheer willpower. But when you have to worry about bladder control as well, you can't be at your best, Wager says. One in every three women is affected to some degree by bladder leakage.
"It's truly awful. You run with a lot of anxiety and not a lot of confidence," she says. Incontinence pads provided some relief, but not a permanent solution.
"Really, I had only tried using pads, which isn't a solution it is simply a coping mechanism. I also altered the time of day I ran – always first thing in morning, before drinking anything. I also never drank anything during a run – not a very healthy approach to exercise."
Training aside, her bladder leakage had an impact on other leisure activities and daily living. Another "tipping point" to finding a permanent solution happened on a horseback riding trip with her family in Banff, Canada. "I always related running with bladder leakage and didn't think twice about being able to horseback ride. Well, little did I realize that trotting on my horse also caused leakage. This was probably the most humiliating time because if you've ever ridden a horse, you know you don't wear black running shorts."
Wager decided on a permanent solution to her problem and had the American Medical System's MiniArc Precise procedure done in January 2011. This minimally invasive approach requires one incision to surgically place a small strip of mesh material called a sling under the urethra to give it more support. Wager had the surgery one morning and lunch at a favorite restaurant the same day. She felt great and ready to train two weeks later, but followed her doctor's orders to take six weeks off her exercise regimen to fully recover.
"I now have so much freedom and spontaneity in my life," she says. "I can run anytime during the day and actually be hydrated when doing so. I also can now be active with my family. I love playing basketball, volleyball and tennis -- and really was unable to do these leisure activities with my family prior to having the procedure."
Find more information on the procedure at livelifedry.com >>
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