Anne, 43, from near Gatwick, Sussex has been running since her early 20s, completing ultra-marathons regularly. Before her first child was born, she achieved 20 half-marathons in just 12 months to raise money for charity. But that all stopped when she had her three children, aged four, three and one years’ old, because running makes Anne feel like she needs to go to the loo.
I love running and joining in races as it is so social. You meet lots of like-minded people and it is a great stressbuster. I used to work on the airlines as a member of the cabin crew and running really helped with jet lag. After a run, you feel so much better. I was at my peak the year before my eldest daughter was born and took part in a charity event, using my cabin crew downtime to run 20 half-marathons in different countries around the world.
Latterly I had to stop in the middle of a race to go to the loo so I wouldn’t be surprised if my problems began then. However, since I’ve had my children, it has got much worse.
I have the feeling like I need to go for a wee when I am running. I can’t switch off my mind. I don’t have day to day issues - it only happens just as soon as I start to run. It is an awful sensation.
I kept trying to run in the months after each of my daughters were born but I felt unstable inside myself. I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I even noticed the need to go to the loo when I was playing football with my eldest daughter in the garden. When I am not running around it doesn’t happen.
I decided if I ignore it, I will exacerbate the problem for when I am older. So, I needed to take action now.
I went to see Mr Anand Singh, a urogynaecologist, and was diagnosed with a prolapsed bladder. However, I was told that this could improve by up to 50% once I stop breastfeeding. He also advised me to work on improving my pelvic floor muscles and recommended the NHS Squeezy app which provides an exercise plan and regular reminders. I find the easiest way to do my pelvic floor exercises is when I am out walking with my daughter in her pushchair. I challenge myself to hold my pelvic floor muscles when walking between lampposts.
I am also going to see a women’s health physiotherapist and hope that too will improve my technique. I knew there wasn’t going to be a magic wand to fix this, but hopefully slow and steady will win the race, excuse the pun! I would love to train back up for another half marathon, but my ultimate goal would be to get back to running 5k around the block, two or three times a week, without this uncomfortable feeling.
For more information or to book a consultation with Mr Singh, make an enquiry today.