How does Uresta compare to common solutions for managing bladder leakage?

When it comes to managing stress urinary incontinence (SUI), the impact on a woman’s quality of life cannot be overstated. This common condition affects millions of women and often leads to discomfort, embarrassment, and limitations on daily activities. While there are various options available to manage SUI, Uresta Bladder Support stands out as a cost-effective and life-enhancing solution. In this blog, we will explore how Uresta compares to popular alternatives for managing bladder leakage.

Uresta Bladder Support

Uresta Bladder Support offers a range of benefits that can significantly improve a woman’s life:

  • Confidence and Freedom: Uresta stops leaks, providing women with the confidence to engage in daily activities without the constant worry of embarrassing accidents.
  • Clean and Comfortable: By stopping leaks, Uresta eliminates the feeling of dampness, discomfort, or bulkiness that comes with pads. Women tell us they are back to wearing sexy underwear!
  • No Rashes or Odour: No more leaks mean no more unpleasant odours, or rashes caused by friction and moisture from damp pads.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Uresta is reusable for up to one year, making it an environmentally conscious choice compared to disposable options.
  • Cost-Effective in the Long Run: Uresta is the most cost-effective option as it is reusable. Women are estimated to spend $750 on incontinence supplies annually.
  • No medical intervention: Uresta is self-managed, non-invasive, and does not require medical intervention.
  • Readily Accessible: Uresta doesn’t require a prescription, eliminating the long waitlist to see your physician. Uresta ships in 3-5 business days and comes with free shipping! Note if you are in the US, Uresta does require a prescription. Click here to learn more.

Comparing Uresta to Common Alternatives

Let’s compare Uresta to some commonly used alternatives for managing stress urinary incontinence:

Incontinence Pads

Incontinence pads are often the first choice for managing SUI as they are readily accessible, seemingly affordable, and easy to use – but, they can get in the way of your lifestyle:

  • Doesn’t stop leaks: Pads merely absorb leaks and do not improve quality of life.
  • Uncomfortable: Pads can be bulky and damp, and due to friction and moisture, it is common for women to get rashes from regular use.
  • Anxiety and insecurity: Women worry about leaks or that others may notice their odour. This limits their confidence and prevents them from doing the activities they love.
  • Wasteful: Pads are one-time use and are wasteful and harmful to the environment.
  • Expensive: Pads might seem affordable upfront, but the annual cost of pads can really add up. In fact, it is estimated that women spend $750 on pads and incontinence supplies per year.
  • Not ideal for active women: Pads can shift out of place due to sudden movement and sweat, making it difficult to use during physical activity.


Reusable Incontinence Underwear

While leak-proof underwear for bladder leakage is reusable and less wasteful, they still don’t allow you to be worry free:

  • Doesn’t stop leaks: Similar to pads, they only absorb leaks and do not improve quality of life.
  • Uncomfortable: Incontinence underwear is bulky, uncomfortable, and causes rashes from regular use.
  • Anxiety and insecurity: As mentioned, leaks come with worry and anxiety due to odour or others noticing leaks.
  • Can contain harmful chemicals: Some brands of incontinence underwear have been linked to harmful PFA chemicals (known as forever chemicals), which can be harmful to humans.
  • Expensive: While incontinence underwear is reusable, you need several pairs to manage your bladder leakage. One pair of incontinence underwear can cost between $35 to $50.


While surgery can eliminate leaks altogether, it is an invasive approach and comes with its own set of challenges:

  • It may not be successful: Not everyone is able to fully eliminate their leaks with surgery, especially for high-impact activities (running, jumping, etc.). Clinical estimates of failure rates range from 5-20%.
  • Risk of complications: Like any surgery, there is always the risk of complications. In the context of incontinence surgeries, mesh surgery has been the subject of a number of international class action lawsuits in recent years. Surgical procedures can be an effective option for women with more advanced pelvic conditions, including advanced pelvic organ prolapse. If you are considering surgery, it is important to consult a Urogynecologist/gynecologist who has been specifically trained for incontinence-related surgeries.
  • Long waitlists: Women often need to wait several months, if not over a year, for consultation and surgery.
  • Recovery: Like any surgery, there is a recovery period that one must consider.
  • Not always permanent: Although it is often assumed to be a “permanent fix”, many women will need to repeat the surgical procedure every 5-10 years.

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

Pelvic floor physiotherapy can be effective in eliminating leaks without medical intervention but requires time, effort, and money to see improvement.

  • Improves quality of life: If successful, can be a great solution by addressing the root cause of the issue – loss in pelvic muscle strength.
  • Non-surgical and conservative approach: Pelvic floor physiotherapy helps improve incontinence without the need for surgical intervention.
  • Does not always work: Not all women are able to fully eliminate their incontinence with pelvic floor physiotherapy, especially during exercise.
  • Requires effort to see results: Pelvic floor physiotherapy requires time, effort, and consistency, which can be challenging for some women to commit to, and some may not have access to a physio near them.
  • Expensive: Not everyone has coverage or financial means for ongoing physiotherapy. Regular visits can add up quickly, regardless of coverage.

Uresta and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy

We are huge supporters of pelvic floor physiotherapy and believe that Uresta is an excellent complement to physiotherapy as it can provide immediate relief from leaks, while working on your pelvic floor. While Uresta doesn’t necessarily strengthen your pelvic muscles, it immediately improves your quality of life, and won’t make your incontinence worse.

For some women, pelvic floor strengthening may not be enough to eliminate their leaks fully, and they may require longer-term support from Uresta.

When it comes to managing stress urinary incontinence, Uresta Bladder Support offers women a cost-effective and life-enhancing solution. While alternatives like pads, underwear, surgery, and pelvic floor physiotherapy have their merits, Uresta stands out for its immediate relief, comfort, and affordability. It empowers women to regain control of their lives and enjoy the confidence and freedom they deserve.


Why the Uresta Pessary is not a band-aid solution for stress incontinence.


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We often get asked whether Uresta is a band-aid solution or taking the easy way out. Can we all do ourselves a favour and stop guilting ourselves? Uresta is not the easy way out if it improves your quality of life!

Bladder leakage, or stress urinary incontinence, impacts 1 in 3 women after the age of 30 and 1 in 2 by the time of menopause. It is also more prevalent with active women, as 50% of women experience bladder leaks while working out. While bladder leakage is common, it isn’t something you need to tolerate and is a quality-of-life issue.  There are solutions that can help, and there is no right or wrong when improving your quality of life.

Now this is where I get passionate because women often look at Uresta and say, ” Well, why not fix the problem”? Or “I feel like I’m taking the easy way out by purchasing Uresta – this is just a Band-Aid.No one should feel guilty about making their quality of life better. Uresta does not worsen your condition, and while it doesn’t improve your incontinence – it provides immediate relief of bladder leaks.

If you read our reviews – you will often see women say things like – “It gave me my life back,” “Uresta is a game-changer,” “I wish I knew about this earlier,” and “I’m so much more confident.Bladder leaks are something that I know impact women’s ability to play with their kids, be active, return to work post-maternity leave, be confident at work, or just enjoy a night out with friends.

Now this is not meant to be an anti-pelvic floor physiotherapy message. We love pelvic floor physiotherapy and work with thousands of amazing pelvic floor physios across Canada and the US who use Uresta to complement their pelvic floor strengthening exercises.  They tell us all the time that Uresta is like a brace for your bladder!

However, pelvic floor physiotherapy is not an option for all women. In some cases, this is due to limited time or financial resources, lack of access to a physio in their local area, or even underlying tissue damage that cannot easily be repaired through rehabilitation exercises.

For women who can enjoy the many benefits of pelvic floor physiotherapy, it is important to remember that some may still experience continued leakage. Especially when doing higher-impact activities or, say, if they have an extreme cough or sneeze. In the latest clinical study completed on Uresta, the average age of women was 42, and 85% had previously tried to fix their incontinence with pelvic floor physiotherapy.

I also know that it takes time, effort, and money to see results from physiotherapy – I get women messaging me saying – “I know it is bad, but I just don’t want to do my pelvic floor exercises and want relief.” That is okay – there is no need to guilt yourself! Our lives are chaotic enough.

I want you to know there is no shame or guilt in how you manage your leaks. Even if that means using multiple disposable pads daily or just straight-up peeing your pants in a workout class. Do what you need to simplify your life, remove some chaos, enjoy the activities you love, be more confident, and be less stressed. And don’t feel guilty about how you go about doing that! That is my wish for all the women out there.

A summary of the SOGC’s clinical care guideline for the conservative management of stress incontinence in women.

We have news! Uresta was referenced in the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada’s (SOGC) latest published clinical care guidelines as one of the solutions for the conservative management of stress incontinence (i.e. without surgical intervention).

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) publishes clinical care guidelines every four years on various women’s health conditions. Obgyns and family doctors rely heavily on these guidelines as a gold standard of care. This recommendation goes a long way in validating Uresta’s effectiveness and non-invasive nature in managing stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

Let’s take a closer look at the SOGC No. 397 – Conservative Care of Urinary Incontinence in Women clinical guideline and break down their 5 key recommendations for managing stress incontinence conservatively.

Dr. Sinéad Dufour is an Associate Clinical Professor at McMaster University with expertise in physical therapy and rehabilitation science. Her research focuses on conservative management of pelvic floor dysfunction, interprofessional collaboration for pelvic health, and pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain. Dr. Dufour is an active member of the SOGC and has led the development of several clinical practice guidelines. She is also a clinical advisor to women’s health businesses and a frequent international conference speaker, driven by her passion for optimizing perinatal care and promoting women’s pelvic health.

Dr. Maria Wu is an academic urogynecologist and assistant professor at Western University, with a clinical practice in urogynecology and general gynecology. Her research interests include patient-reported outcomes in urogynecology, pelvic floor surgery outcomes in women with gynecological cancers, and health administrative data research. Dr. Wu is also involved in several national and international committees, including the Canadian Society of Pelvic Medicine Scientific Committee and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Canada Urogynecology Committee. She aspires to be a leader in female pelvic medicine research, including generating Canadian clinical practice guidelines in urogynecology.

Key Recommendations for Managing Stress Incontinence Conservatively — SOGC Clinical Guideline:

1. Lifestyle Management for stress incontinence

The SOGC article emphasized the importance of lifestyle modifications in managing urinary incontinence. For example, factors such as obesity and smoking can increase the risk of urinary incontinence. In contrast, weight loss, dietary changes, and smoking cessation are lifestyle modifications that can positively impact symptoms.

In addition, the article notes that dietary changes, such as reducing fluid intake or avoiding bladder irritants such as coffee, tea and carbonated drinks (even without caffeine), can also help manage urinary incontinence symptoms. Patients may be advised to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and acidic or spicy foods. The article also highlights the importance of regular bowel movements, as constipation can contribute to urinary incontinence symptoms.

2. Pelvic Floor Muscle Training

Pelvic floor muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are an essential component of conservative care for urinary incontinence. The article provides detailed instructions on how to perform pelvic floor muscle exercises and suggests incorporating them into daily routines to maximize their effectiveness.

The article notes that patients should be properly instructed on how to perform pelvic floor muscle exercises to ensure that they are engaging the correct muscles. Patients may be advised to contract their pelvic floor muscles for a certain amount of time and then relax them for a certain amount of time. The article suggests gradually increasing the duration and intensity of the exercises as tolerated.

Learn more about Kegel Exercises and how to do them.

3. Behavioral Management for managing incontinence

Behavioural management techniques can help patients identify and address triggers that may worsen urinary incontinence symptoms. The article suggests that patients keep a bladder diary to track their fluid intake, urinary frequency, and incontinence episodes. This information can help patients identify patterns and make changes to their behaviour.

Patients may also be advised to use timed voiding techniques, where they empty their bladder at regular intervals rather than waiting until they feel the urge to urinate. The article notes that patients may need to gradually increase the time between voids as they gain bladder control.

4. Intravaginal Mechanical Devices (i.e. pessaries), including the Uresta Pessary

Intravaginal mechanical devices (also known as a pessary) can provide relief from incontinence by providing support to the bladder neck and to the urethra by inserting vaginally.

This is where we come in! The SOGC article specifically introduces Uresta, as a clinically proven incontinence pessary. Uresta is designed to support the urethra and reduce stress urinary incontinence. The Uresta Bladder Support is made of medical-grade silicone and is inserted into the vagina, similar to a tampon. It can be worn during normal activities, such as exercise, and can be easily removed for cleaning and reuse.

The guideline recognizes that these devices can provide effective, and immediate relief of incontinence and that women’s confidence improved with the use of intravaginal medicanical devices, like the Uresta Bladder Support.

Learn more about pessaries and how they can help.

The SOGC’s guidelines emphasize the importance of conservative management solutions for stress urinary incontinence , and Uresta has been recognized as a leading solution in managing SUI non-invasively. By incorporating these recommendations into daily routines, there is hope that women can manage their urinary incontinence symptoms and improve their quality of life without the need for surgery.

 Is Uresta right for you? Take our Free Assessment to find out!


When Can I Start Running Postpartum?

Getting back into or taking up running postpartum might seem like a daunting task. The key is to ensure your body is READY when your head is. Jump in too quickly and we could get seriously hurt — not ideal when we’re trying to care for a tiny human.

We’ve consulted Pelvic Floor, Pilates & Sports Physiotherapist, Diane Rizzardo, to compile a list of top tips to make the transition back to running postpartum easy and fun! Keep reading for 5 tips on how to start running postpartum.

1. Get medical clearance to start running postpartum.

Whether you’ve had a cesarean section or vaginal birth, getting the go-ahead from your care team is essential. You’ll want to consult your primary care provider/ OBGYN/ Midwife and pelvic floor physio to ensure you’re ready to add running to your fitness routine postpartum. Remember, there is important healing going on that you can’t see but that your healthcare providers can test for, such as changes in your center of gravity/ balance, strength and flexibility.

A “return-to-run” screening should occur so you’re not at risk of developing a new injury or aggravating an old one. This screening may include hopping on one foot, standing with your eyes closed, squats, jogging in place etc. Usually, it takes around three months postpartum for people to pass their return-to-run screening and safely return to running.

If your pelvic floor physio feels you’re ready to start running but you’re still experiencing some urinary leakage, Uresta can be the perfect temporary solution. Think of Uresta like an ankle brace when you’re returning to soccer practice after spraining your ankle – you can use Uresta to support your healing and put pressure on the urethra to prevent stress urinary incontinence when exercising. Uresta may or may not be a long-term solution for you, but it’s worth conversing with your pelvic floor physio or primary care provider.

Read more – Latest clinical study shows the world that Uresta truly is a gamechanger for women when it comes to bladder leaks.

2. When returning to running postpartum, start gradually and listen to your body.

Use a return to running program, but also prepare to be flexible. These instructions might sound contradictory, but let us explain. Following a gradual return to running program can help you reach your one-mile, 5 km, half-marathon or ultra-marathon goals. But whatever program you choose, be sure to allow some flexibility if you’ve slept poorly, had difficulty nourishing your body, or need a day off. You should never feel pressure to get a run in while going through your healing process.

Your return to running program should also start with a run/walk component, as you need time for your tendons and other tissues to get used to the increased loading of running. If you start a run and notice that you feel low energy or are getting a new ache or pain, you should either slow your pace, stop or move to a run/ walk program instead of trying to push through disc

If you need any recommendations on return to running programs, feel free to reach out to Diane at Elevate Women’s Health.

3. Try running uphill to protect your pelvic floor.

You might notice that running downhill causes you to feel the need to pee or places lots of stress or heaviness through your abdominals or lower back, especially if you have a diastasis recti or had a cesarean section. This is because when running downhill, gravity is working to pull you down and forward.

To alleviate these pressures, try running uphill instead. You’ll gain strength by working your glutes and quads going uphill, and it places your pelvis in a position that puts more emphasis on the back of your pelvic floor, where you have bigger muscles to provide support and take the pressure off your bladder.

4. Use equipment to support running postpartum.

a. Try Uresta if you’re experiencing Bladder Leaks.

If you notice bladder leaks at any point throughout our return to running program, try Uresta. When inserted, Uresta puts gentle pressure on your urethra to stop the flow of urine when exercising. You also should work with a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist – specifically, one who isn’t just teaching you how to do Kegels. You may need to learn to relax your pelvic floor muscles before you can teach them to tighten or engage. Learn more – 5 Habits to Improve Your Pelvic Floor Health.

b. Try a maternity sports bra or extra-supportive sports bra.

Whether breastfeeding or not, your breasts have undergone significant changes from pregnancy to postpartum. Go to a store where you can get properly fitted with a supportive sports bra. You’ve most likely changed sizes, and having proper support for your chest will improve your running form and prevent compensatory injuries. At Uresta, we love After9’s nursing and regular sports bras.

c. Try running with a jogging stroller.

If you’re running with a stroller, be sure you get a running-specific stroller. Running-specific strollers will ensure your and your baby’s safety as they have a streamlined design with a comfortable child’s seat and a high-quality braking system. Keep the stroller close to you, and remember you can’t run with your baby until they have good neck and head control, typically around six months old.

5. Remember to stay hydrate and nourish your postpartum body.

You might notice your thirst or hunger needs are different postpartum. Be sure to pack a snack and drink lots of water, especially during and after exercising. Ensuring you stay hydrated and your blood sugar levels are stable will make you feel better while you get back to your regular activity levels.

Yes, this might mean you need to take some extra bathroom breaks but trust us, it’s worth it. And if you’re using Uresta for support to stop bladder leaks, you can pee without having to take it out!

Remember, everybody and every postpartum experience is different. If running doesn’t feel good for your body, even after trying the tips above, try a lower-impact form of cardio such as the elliptical, stationary/ spin bike, swimming or power walking until you can progress safely back up to running. There are many ways to stay active, and trying something new may open you up to a new activity you’ll learn to love!

Diane Rizzardo

Pelvic Floor & Pilates, Sports Physio


About Diane Rizzardo

Diane is a Pelvic Floor, Pilates & Sports Physiotherapist based in Burnaby, BC. Diane strongly believes that Physiotherapy should encompass both prehabilitation and rehabilitation to provide everyone the best opportunity to participate in their daily life as well as all of their active endeavors.

Diane combines Clinical Pilates, Orthopedic and Neurological principles and treatment techniques in order to assist clients to get back to full activity participation following an injury and strives to empower clients with the tools to stop injuries from reoccurring.

Having had injuries herself after a career as a varsity soccer player, she appreciates first hand how physiotherapy can have a significant role in a client’s rehabilitation.

Can Tampons and Menstrual Cups Stop Stress Incontinence or Bladder Leaks?

Why tampons may stop your bladder leakage, but why we don’t recommend it and why the Uresta pessary is a better alternative.

Have you ever noticed that your bladder leakage is reduced when you’re using a tampon? Some women we’ve worked with have mentioned they’ve seen less incontinence while running or working out when using a tampon. In these scenarios, your tampon is acting like a pessary.

Bladder leaks (aka stress urinary incontinence or SUI) happen when the muscles that support your urethra lose strength or become damaged. As a result, these muscles can give out during moments of extra pressure like sneezing, coughing, and jumping, resulting in bladder leaks.⁠

The use of tampons might stop incontinence due to their shape as they apply subtle pressure to the urethra through your vaginal wall – similar to how the Uresta pessary works (see below for how it works). If you want to learn more about what a pessary is, read our blog here.

However, there are a variety of reasons why we don’t recommend the long-term use of tampons or menstrual cups to stop bladder leakage.

Why not just use a tampon for bladder leakage?

1. Tampons are not made for bladder leakage.

For most women, the pressure (or support) applied by a tampon might make a slight difference to their incontinence, but it will not be significant enough to reduce or stop their bladder leaks meaningfully. Also, only a few women will see improvement in their incontinence when a tampon is in use. Unlike tampons, the Uresta pessary is specifically designed to apply the right amount of pressure to support your pelvic organs to stop bladder leakage.

To learn more, visit our FAQ section – why can’t I just use a tampon?

2. Tampons can cause pain with the removal and drying of vaginal tissues.

Tampons are designed for use during your menstrual cycle. That means tampon use outside your menstrual cycle can cause vaginal dryness and pain when extracting. Have you ever removed a dry tampon towards the end of your cycle – not fun!

Watch Kim Vopni, The Vagina Coach, YouTube video on Using a Tampon for Incontinence.

3. Risk of toxic shock syndrome + other chemicals in tampons.

Improper use of tampons poses the risk of toxic shock syndrome, particularly when used for extended periods. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a rare but potentially life-threatening bacterial infection caused by the overgrowth of certain bacteria, such as staphylococcus aureus. Symptoms include a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, and a rash that looks like a sunburn. If left untreated, TSS can be fatal.

Also, some common chemicals that wind up in menstrual products include chlorine bleaching, pesticides, rayon, fragrances, dyes, etc. There are 100% cotton tampons on the market free of these potentially harmful chemicals with long-term use, however, we still don’t recommend using tampons or menstrual cups outside your menstrual cycle for the above reasons.

To learn more, check out the Well + Good article 5 Things You Need to Know About Common Tampon Ingredients

4. Tampons are wasteful in the long run.

Tampons can be wasteful with long-term use due to their disposable nature. Tampons and pads are often made from single-use materials such as cotton, plastic, and silicone. When discarded, they contribute to the growing problem of plastic pollution in the environment. Since many of these materials are not biodegradable, they remain in the environment for a long time, contributing to the growing problem of landfills.

Why Uresta is a better alternative for incontinence.

1. The Uresta pessary is much more likely to reduce your leaks.

The Uresta pessary is specifically designed to provide direct support to your urethra to stop bladder leaks. In fact, in a recent independent clinical study 97% of women saw a reduction in their leaks when using Uresta. That means if a tampon doesn’t stop or reduce your leaks, that does not mean that Uresta won’t work for you. The Uresta pessary comes in 5 different sizes so you can find the perfect level of support.

When the Uresta pessary goes inside your vagina, it supports your urethra from underneath (see the graphic below) and bladder muscles to keep them braced so that pee doesn’t escape during moments of extra pressure. That way, pee stays in the bladder during everyday activities.⁠

2. The Uresta pessary is much more comfortable as it’s non-drying.

Uresta is made of medical-grade silicone, which is much easier to insert and remove than a tampon. This material is also non-absorbent and, therefore, will not result in any vaginal dryness. If you feel any discomfort, you can always use a water-based lubricant to help with the application process. The support from the Uresta pessary is not enough to prevent you from peeing normally, which means you don’t need to remove Uresta to pee.

3. The Uresta pessary is sustainable and affordable.

Uresta is also sustainable and more cost-effective in the long run since it can be washed and reused.

4. The Uresta pessary comes in a range of sizes – find the one that works best for you.

Uresta comes in 5 different sizes, and each size applies a different level of support and pressure to stop bladder leaks. To make finding your perfect fit easy, our starter kit (just $139) comes with the 3 sizes which work for over 80% of women. You can then experiment to find the one that works best for you, and if you need to try the other two sizes, we’ll send them to you for free.

Get your starter kit.

In our most recent clinical study, 97% of women said they saw reduced bladder leaks when using the Uresta pessary! Not to mention, 94% of those women said they would recommend Uresta to a friend, and 91% felt more confident when using Uresta.

See the full blog post here

Curious if Uresta is right for you? Take our Free Assessment to find out!

How this pelvic floor physiotherapist stopped her leaks when running.

If you’ve followed us for a while, you will know that we are a massive fan of Caroline Packard, a pelvic floor physiotherapist. We first connected with Caroline a few years ago after she started using Uresta herself to manage her stress incontinence.

Today with the help of Uresta and pelvic floor physiotherapy, Caroline is able to run leak-free and no longer requires the support of Uresta. This is a massive achievement, as Caroline was once told by her physician that she would never be able to run leak-free without undergoing a sling surgery. This was crushing for Caroline to hear – at 33 years old, she really did not want to undergo surgery. Caroline is a very active mom, and she began to dread running because of her stress incontinence, something she once loved.

Caroline started her career as a generalist physiotherapist, but her pelvic health issues motivated her to specialize in pelvic health. When we first met Caroline, she was just starting to share her struggles with incontinence through her Instagram channel. Caroline’s content is incredibly informative on pelvic health, while at the same time engaging. Today it is no surprise that she has 130K followers on Instagram. If you don’t follow her, I highly recommend you do!

We are excited to share Caroline’s story with you – one of how she turned a setback into a career opportunity and two how she conquered her leaks.

Here is Caroline’s experience with stress incontinence and her tips for resolving stress incontinence – especially when running or exercising. Caroline recently shared her story with iRun – we thought it was incredibly informative and relatable to so many women, so we wanted to share with you here on the blog.

How I stopped by leaking when running

By Caroline Packard

Something I never told my closest friends, I now share openly on social media—I used to pee my pants when I ran.

A life-long runner, I ran through almost my entire pregnancy until it no longer felt “good” anymore.  So I was more than eager for my first run post-baby without a giant belly, only to be greeted by a leaky bladder that made running at any pace unpleasant.

While postpartum leaking is common, affecting 1 in 3 women, it’s not normal and signals intra-abdominal pressure overloading the muscular system, leading to leaks. This prevalence increases in high impact female athletes, like runners.

At 30-years-old, I found myself ‘incontinent.’  As my bladder function waned so did my joy of running, as the emotional toll of dealing with an ‘embarrassing’ issue made me avoid a sport I had always loved.

At the time, I was practicing as a “generalist” physical therapist and tried interventions on my own without success. I then sought help from pelvic floor physical therapy. I saw minimal improvement initially with therapy and after my third pregnancy a surgeon told me without urethral sling surgery, I would never be able to run without leaking. I was devastated.

Determined I had not exhausted all conservative options, I tried pelvic floor PT again.  Professionally, I switched gears and dove headfirst into Pelvic Floor PT education and training. Applying all I had learned personally and professionally, I was thrilled to finally see improvement. 

I was so blown away at the ability to overcome my struggle through small changes and share this knowledge helping other women do the same. While pelvic floor PT treatment should always be personally tailored, here are eight tips that can be generally helpful to those dealing with stress urinary incontinence:

  1. Don’t empty just in case: Less urine, less leaking, right? WRONG! Like Pavlov’s dog, this teaches the bladder to hold progressively less urine AND the urine becomes more concentrated, irritating the lining of the bladder, causing MORE urge and leaking.
  2. Identify food triggers: MANY foods and drinks can irritate the bladder. For me it was a B12-containing pre-workout supplement.
  3. Better breathing: Pelvic floor health and function is directly correlated to proper (diaphragm) breathing.
  4. Running form change: forward lean, short stride, faster cadence, forefoot strike—all help align the pelvic floor with the diaphragm for improved bladder control with less force on the pelvic floor.
  5. Total body mobility: In particular, loss of mobility in the back and hips affects pelvic floor function.
  6. Strength training: I teach women to incorporate pelvic floor function into total body strength training. It’s way more than Kegels!
  7. Add support: Much like a bra, a Uresta pessary acts as an internal support for the bladder and urethra to stop leaks. This was truly a game changer for me, allowing me to work on running form changes without leaking.
  8. Realistic goals: Changing habits and building strength takes time. There are no end dates, we’re looking for life-long improvement and long-term function.

What was once my source of embarrassment and emotional pain has now become my mission in life. When I first experienced leakage, I would not even tell my closest friends. Now, I share my story with the world to encourage women struggling with pelvic floor issues. I am in the process of formulating workout programs that incorporate expertise from pelvic floor specialists specifically for women who leak or have another pelvic floor dysfunction.

We can absolutely keep moving and doing the activities we love, leak free!

5 Habits for a Healthy Pelvic Floor

We recently sat down with physiotherapist (and friend) Melissa Dessaules to learn what improves and impacts your pelvic floor health.

Melissa has extensive training in managing and treating pelvic floor issues. She’s adopted a proactive approach to improving pelvic health so that men and women can feel empowered as they weather the changes that come with aging, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and living an active lifestyle.

Keep reading for insight from Melissa on 5 habits for a healthy pelvic floor.

1. Whole-body strengthening.

Your pelvic floor is only as strong as its surroundings. Whole-body strengthening is a fantastic way to support a healthy pelvic floor. When you work on strengthening your core, legs, back, and upper body, the benefits will lighten the load on the pelvic floor.

Since most clients come to me with pelvic floor symptoms, we often start with working on pelvic floor strengthening. I ensure to incorporate legs, back, core, and upper body strengthening because they influence your pelvic floor. We then move outside of the pelvis to adopt a whole-body approach.

To learn more, check out The Pelvic Floor Project podcast Episode 59. Strength training to feel confident and capable in your body with Teresa Waser

2. Focus on healthy eating and sleep.

Healthy eating and getting good quality sleep are critical functions for your overall health and well-being. If we don’t eat a healthy balanced diet or get adequate sleep, our whole body is tired — including our nervous system and pelvic floor.

For example, when we’re sleep-deprived and not eating well, we tend to feel sluggish and wouldn’t expect to have as much success at the gym. The same goes for the pelvic floor. A tired pelvic floor will not perform as well as it could. Symptoms of a fatigued pelvic floor include urinary incontinence (even small drops) when you cough, laugh or sneeze, pass unwanted gas, leak unwanted stool, and pelvic prolapse. 

3. Keep your tissues healthy and moisturized.

Our vulvovaginal tissues (vulva/vagina tissues) should be pink, plump, and lubricated. Some stages of a woman’s life, like the postpartum period or perimenopause, can lead to hormone changes that affect our vulvovaginal tissues. Our delicate tissues can appear dry, fragile, sore, or pale in color. You may experience discomfort during your day-to-day activities or pain during sexual intercourse. In this case, your vulvovaginal tissues may benefit from a vaginal moisturizer or topical estrogen.

Keep an eye on your anatomy and consult your healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms or changes. They contribute to your overall pelvic health.

To learn more, check out The Pelvic Floor Project podcast Episode 54. Vulvovaginal hormone therapy with urologist Dr. Rachel Rubin.

4. Learn how to manage internal pressure.

Common ways we mismanage internal pressure is excessive straining when we pee or poop, constantly sucking in our tummy, or holding our breath when we exercise or do any heavy lifting. These factors create muscle tension and a lot of downward pressure on your pelvic floor.

Over time, this downward pressure begins to weaken your pelvic floor muscles. The resulting symptoms might be urinary incontinence, leaking unwanted stool, and pelvic prolapse.

Adjusting your habits to minimize the cumulative downward pressure you put on your pelvic floor in a day can be just as beneficial as strengthening your pelvic floor.

To learn more, check out The Pelvic Floor Project podcast Episode 46. Bladder leaks with cough, sneeze, or physical activity with Adrienne Sim.

5. Be mindful of your habits.

To tune into positive and negative pelvic floor habits, I start my client appointments with a simple awareness exercise. I ask my clients to focus on what it feels like when they tighten their pelvic floor vs. when they relax it. I have them practice this exercise a few times a day to recognize the different sensations.

I then ask them to start noticing their subconscious habits throughout the day. Are you squeezing in your tummy all the time? How is your breathing – slow and steady or tight and constricted? Are you experiencing chronic stress? Are you holding your breath when lifting or exercising? Are you standing in a compressed posture or with your knees locked and hips thrust forward?

Awareness is the first step to working toward positive pelvic floor habits. When you recognize the difference in pelvic floor over-tension vs. a more relaxed state, you will likely be able to pick up on which patterns may influence your symptoms.

Your pelvic floor health is a product of its environment. No amount of kegel exercise will change your habits!

To learn more, check out The Pelvic Floor Project podcast Episode 1. How well do you know your pelvic floor?

There are many ways to improve your pelvic floor and its overall function for long-term health. I don’t mean to overwhelm you with a lengthy to-do list. I wish to encourage and empower your understanding of pelvic floor anatomy and function so you can work towards its longevity.

Knowledge is power, and this is the only body you have! Find a pelvic health physiotherapist in your area that you know, like, and trust, and ask them to do an assessment to learn more about your body. Feel free to ask them about any of the points listed above.

To learn more about what improves and what impacts your pelvic floor health, check out 5 Surprising Habits That Could Be Impacting Your Pelvic Health.

About Melissa Dessaules:

Melissa Dessaulles is a registered physiotherapist with extensive postgraduate training in the management and treatment of pelvic floor related symptoms and perinatal health.

She’s the founder of Mommy Berries, a platform to educate and support women throughout pregnancy, birth and recovery with a focus on proactive health care.

She’s also the host of The Pelvic Floor Project Podcast, aimed at providing evidence-based information through conversation with experts in their field.

Melissa lives in Kelowna BC Canada with her husband and 2 kids. Her physiotherapy practice is located at KLWNA Health and Wellness.

Read more from Melissa: 5 Surprising Habits That Could Impact Your Pelvic Health

5 Surprising Habits That Could Impact Your Pelvic Health

5 Surprising Habits That Could Impact Your Pelvic Health

We recently sat down with physiotherapist (and friend) Melissa Dessaules to learn what improves and what impacts your pelvic floor health.

Melissa has extensive training in managing and treating pelvic floor issues. She’s adopted a proactive approach to improving pelvic health so that men and women can feel empowered as they weather the changes that come with aging, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and an active lifestyle.

Keep reading for insight from Melissa on five surprising habits that could impact your pelvic health.

1. Stress.

Managing stress is key to a healthy pelvic floor. When stressed, we tend to tense our muscles as a reflex to our " fight-or-flight response," prepping our body to react to a specific stressful situation. While stress is a normal reaction that happens to everyone, prolonged stress and muscle tension can lead to various issues, including headaches, aches and pains, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and – you guessed it – a troubled pelvic floor.

Clients are never surprised to hear stress causes muscle tension in the neck or jaw, but they’re often surprised to learn their pelvic floor symptoms, such as incontinence, hemorrhoids, pain, or bladder urgency, are associated with stress-related muscle tension.

Recognizing where you hold stress in the body and knowing that prolonged stress can affect the long-term health of your pelvic floor is often enough to help my clients change how they deal with their stress.

Other ways to manage stress on a day-to-day basis:

  • Try guided meditation.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Prioritize healthy eating.
  • Try journaling.
  • Focus on getting good sleep.
  • Seek professional counseling services.

2. How you breathe.

Your diaphragm and pelvic floor work closely together, creating and regulating pressure in the body. When you inhale, your diaphragm moves downward, lengthening your abdominal wall and 2 pelvic floor. When you exhale, your diaphragm rises while your abdominal walls contract and your pelvic floor lifts.

The better your diaphragm moves, the better your pelvic floor moves and functions.

Paying attention to how you breathe and practicing mindful breathing techniques will encourage healthy movement, stretching, lengthening, and relaxation of your diaphragm and pelvic floor.

Here are some ways to tap into your breathe:

  3. Sucking in your tummy.

Similar to how your diaphragm and pelvic floor are connected, your abdomen and pelvic floor are closely related.

Notice what happens in your pelvic floor when you suck in your tummy vs. when you let it relax. Notice how when you flex your abdominal muscles, your pelvic floor tightens? Your pelvic floor responds automatically like a ‘reflexive clamp’ when you squeeze your tummy muscles, ensuring no pee/poop comes out when you flex.

However, prolonged tightness in your abdomen can lead to stomach gripping, pelvic floor fatigue, or a hypertonic pelvic floor. Symptoms include constant tension of your pelvic floor, urinary incontinence, urination issues, constipation, vaginal pressure/heaviness, and pain during sexual intercourse.

To relax your tummy muscles, I often tell clients to focus on letting their tummy muscles ” just be”.Focus on releasing the tension in your tummy, and your pelvic floor will eventually relax.

Other solutions:

  • Try to break the habit – consciously relax with various breathing techniques when you recognize you’re contracting your tummy.
  • Swap tight or restrictive clothing for comfier form fitting solutions.
  • Notice if it’s stress related (see #1).
  • Incorporate core strengthening into your exercise routine. Holding your tummy in all the time isn’t the same as strengthening.

4. How you pee and poop.

Remember that the pelvic floor muscles are reflexive or automatic, so it’s expected that we don’t often think about them. For this reason, many people adopt habits, often at an early age, that negatively influence our pelvic floor function.

For example, some people learn to excessively strain when they pee or poop, which creates muscle tension and a lot of downward pressure on their pelvic floor. Others develop a habit of waiting too long or responding too quickly to any signal needing to go to the bathroom. Even how you sit on the toilet can impact your pelvic floor’s ability to relax.

The key is to relax your pelvic floor when toileting to avoid causing harmful muscle strain and problematic symptoms such as constipation, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, or pelvic organ prolapse.


  • Read up on the proper ways to pee/poop – check out this blog post from Southern Pelvic Health on “How to Poop”.
  • Take your time.
  • Find your optimal toileting position – you should be seated comfortably with no need to strain.
  • Don’t hold your breath when pushing.
  • Place your hands on your abdomen and relax your belly forward – this is a helpful reminder to relax the neighbouring muscle groups.
  • Remember to breathe.

5. Constipation.

Constipation is often a key source of symptoms like hemorrhoids, incontinence, prolapse, pelvic pain, and pelvic weakening. Constantly straining from passing bulky stools puts pressure on the bladder, rectal and vaginal walls and can lead to prolapse over time.

I always tell clients that the best thing they can do to avoid long-term issues with their pelvic health is to be proactive in managing constipation. A healthy balanced diet and adequate water consumption are critical to keeping things regular on the journey through your digestive tract.

In some cases, constipation may be caused by medication, pregnancy, aging, or underlying health issues. Be sure to consult your doctor if constipation symptoms persist longer than a few days.

How to manage constipation:

  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fiber or take fiber supplements.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Get plenty of exercise.
  • Refer back to #4 on the proper ways to pee and poop.
  • Consult your doctor to see if you need over the counter medication.

To learn more, check out The Pelvic Floor Project podcast episodes: –

About Melissa Dessaules:

Melissa Dessaulles is a registered physiotherapist with postgraduate training in managing and treating pelvic floor-related symptoms and perinatal health.

She’s the founder of Mommy Berries, a platform to educates and supports women throughout pregnancy, birth and recovery with a focus on proactive health care.

She’s also the host of The Pelvic Floor Project Podcast, aimed at providing evidence based information through conversation with experts in their field.

Melissa lives with her husband and two kids in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Her physiotherapy practice is located at KLWNA Health and Wellness.



Should you be going Kegel Exercise?

Kegel Exercises — What are they? How do they work? Who should do them? And when to expect results.

What are Kegel exercises?

Kegel exercises (also known as pelvic floor exercises) were developed in 1948 by American gynecologist, Dr. Arnold Kegel, to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles for optimal long-term function.

Your pelvic floor is a group of involuntary muscles, meaning the work without you having to think about them, located between your tailbone, pubic bone, and sit bones. This muscle group supports your bowels, bladder and sexual organs, aids in sexual function, and plays a major role in pelvic/hip stability. Most importantly, a good functioning pelvic floor ensures we don’t let out pee or poop unexpectedly.

Keeping these pelvic floor muscles fit helps prevent urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and accidentally passing gas or poop, and has even been known to improve your orgasm.

Who should or should not do Kegels?

Many factors are known to weaken your pelvic floor muscles, such as weight gain, pregnancy, childbirth, excessive straining from constipation, chronic coughing, surgery, and aging.

Both men and women can benefit from Kegel exercises, as men can also experience pelvic floor weakening as they age or if they’ve had prostate surgery.

You might benefit from Kegel exercises if you:

  • You experience urine leakage (even small drops) when you cough, laugh or sneeze.
  • You experience urine leakage when you bend down, lift something up, or when you walk, jog, or exercise.
  • You experience a strong and uncomfortable need to urinate before reaching the toilet.
  • Leak unwanted stool.

Keep in mind, Kegels aren’t for everyone. If you’re prone to a hypertonic pelvic floor, a condition where your pelvic muscles are in a state of spasm or continuously contracting, these exercises might do more harm than good. Contracting tired or tense muscles can lead to muscle strain and injury. Common symptoms for a hypertonic pelvic floor include but are not limited to, pain or issues with urination, conspiration, and pain during sexual intercourse. Talk to your doctor to learn if Kegels are right for you.

How to do Kegel exercises — A step-by-step guide:

Step 1 – Practice locating & contracting your pelvic floor muscles.

Kegels are relatively straightforward once you identify where your pelvic muscles are located. The easiest way to locate your pelvic floor muscles is to pretend you’re trying to avoid passing gas, or tightening your vagina around an invisible tampon. Stopping urination mid-stream is another effective way to locate your pelvic floor, but avoid repetitive use of this technique as it can lead to incomplete bladder emptying.

Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles, you can do Kegel exercises while sitting, standing, or even lying down. The best position for you will be the one where you can really feel your exercises.

If you’re just starting out or your pelvic muscles are weak, we recommend you start with a laying down version.

Step 2 – Perfect your Kegel technique.

To do a Kegel, start by tightening your anus, as if trying to avoid passing gas, while keeping your buttocks relaxed. Contract for three seconds, and then relax for three seconds. Do this a few times. You should feel an isolated squeezing and lifting sensation in your pelvic floor.

Next, try tightening your vagina as if trying to close the entrance shut. Again, contract for three seconds, and then relax for three seconds. Do a few repetitions. You should feel your anus and lower abdomen tighten.

Now, imagine you’re stopping the flow of urine by tightening the area around your urethra. This one can be tricky, especially if you’re just starting out. Contract for 3-2-1, and relax for 3-2-1. Do as many repetitions as feels comfortable. If you feel your anus, vagina, and lower abdomen contracting all at once – you’re on the right track.

Combine all three steps by contracting simultaneously, and you have yourself a Kegel.

Step 3 – Focus on technique, relax, breathe.

For best results, focus on isolating and tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Avoid contracting your legs, upper abdomen, shoulders or any other muscles during the process.

Remember to breathe when you’re doing Kegel exercises. Your diaphragm and pelvic floor work closely together, creating and regulating pressure in the body. Learning to train both these muscle groups in tandem will ensure you’re doing Kegel exercises correctly.

Step 4 – Repeat with gradually increasing reps & frequency.

When just starting out, aim to do at least two sets of 5 repetitions a day, and work your way up from there. A good training standard to aim for is 10 Kegel cycles, 3 to 4 times a day.

Remember to only do enough Kegel exercise reps that feel comfortable for you. Similar to working out at the gym, gradually increase the number of Kegel reps you do so you gain strength and endurance over time and avoid discomfort of injury due to muscle strain.

Extra tips:

  • Set an alarm in the morning and evening for a gentle reminder to do two daily sets of Kegels.
  • Avoid contracting your legs/abs and other muscles during the process.
  • Remember to breathe when you’re doing Kegel exercises. Your diaphragm and pelvic floor work closely together, and learning to train both these muscle groups together will ensure you’re doing Kegel exercises correctly.
  • There’s no equipment required to do Kegel exercises – you can do them anytime, anywhere and as many feels comfortable to you.

When to expect results.

If you do Kegel exercises daily, and gradually increase your repetitions and frequency, you should expect to see results within a few weeks or months. Results can show in a variety of ways, such as less frequent urinary incontinence, less urgency to pee, less fecal incontinence, and more.

Most women say they notice less urine leakage within 12 weeks after starting and sticking with a Kegel exercise routine.

Like training any muscle, making Kegel exercises a permanent part of your daily routine will ensure you see continued benefits.

Try Uresta.

If you need more immediate relief from urinary incontinence, Uresta can be a temporary solution while you work on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.

You may get to a place with your pelvic floor strengthening where your bladder leakage symptoms are entirely eliminated, and you may no longer need Uresta. Or you may find that your pelvic floor strengthening hasn’t fully eliminated your urinary incontinence, and you still need Uresta for a little extra support.

Uresta is a non-invasive, at-home solution that will not weaken your pelvic floor when in use, and an effective and safe way to immediately manage bladder leakage before it happens, not after. We’ve successfully helped thousands of women around the world, and every day more people make bladder leakage a thing of the past.

Is Uresta right for you? Take our Free Assessment to find out!


Why not just see a pelvic floor physiotherapist?


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I want to address a common question that we receive, which is “Why not see a pelvic floor physiotherapist?”.

We want to make it clear that we are big fans of pelvic floor physiotherapy and we do not believe it’s a decision between one over the other. We also want to make sure women realize that a bladder support such as Uresta will not weaken your pelvic floor muscles or worsen your symptoms over time. Uresta isn’t the “easy way out”, its simply an option that women have to improve their quality of life.

We believe that Uresta is a great complement to pelvic floor physiotherapy and we work with many pelvic floor physios across North America (many of which who use Uresta themselves!). We are huge advocates of learning what is going on in your body and how you can improve your incontinence symptoms or prevent them from getting worse. If there is one thing that I’ve learned at Uresta is that women do not know enough about their pelvic health and daily habits that could be negatively contributing to their overall pelvic health.

Uresta can be a temporary solution that you use to stop leaks while you work on your pelvic floor to improve your symptoms. For some women, they can get to a place where their leaks are fully eliminated with pelvic floor strengthening – if that is the case, that is fantastic! For other women however, they may find that their symptoms have improved but that they still need a little extra support from time to time (especially with exercising). And for some women it is not always a muscle related issue but could be damage to connective tissues that cannot be fixed with physiotherapy.

It is also important to highlight that with pelvic floor physio it takes time, effort and consistency to improve your leaks. We also know you’re busy and you may not have the time to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist and do your exercises. We also know that stress urinary incontinence is a huge quality of life issue for women that can be holding you back at work, socially, or from being physically active.

Uresta can provide immediate relief from leaks and improve your quality of life instantly. While at the same time Uresta does not make your muscles weaker or your incontinence any worse. Our wish at Uresta is that we can empower you to crush any activity you want with confidence and without the worry of leaks.

And let’s be honest some of those kegel exercises and can be a bit mundane. I’ve had women say that using Uresta motivated them to work on their pelvic floor and do all the mundane exercises her physio gave her because Uresta gave her a taste of what life was leak-free – and she loved it!

The reality is, is that there are many solutions from just straight up peeing your pants, to pads, to physio, to Uresta, to expensive electromagnetic treatments that can help address stress incontinence. At Uresta, we want you to be informed of all the available solutions and the pros and cons of each.

The right decision in our minds is that one that works best for you and improves your quality of life. And I certainly would never want any woman to feel that they are taking the easy way out by using Uresta. Life is hard enough – we don’t need to put more pressure on ourselves.