Can I still have sex?
Over 25 million Americans experience leakage – it’s common! Luckily with protective hygiene products you can feel secure and protected from leaks throughout the day. But, taking off those products to engage in intercourse can make you feel unprotected and lead you to wonder if you will leak during sex and how you can prevent it. The good news is that many people who have leaks still live sexually active lifestyles – so don’t let the fear of leaking hold you back!
Leaking during sex can happen to both men and women during sexual activity or when having an orgasm. But, why does this happen in the first place?
Stress Incontinence occurs when physical activity, such as sex, places pressure (stress) on your bladder. You may be familiar with experiencing these unintentional leaks when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or exercise. You are more likely to experience leaks of this nature when your bladder is full, so it is recommended to empty your bladder shortly before engaging in intercourse to decrease the chances of leaking during sex.
Female Urinary Leakage During Sex
Stress incontinence is a common occurance for females leaking during sex, especially when combined with weakened pelvic floor muscles from childbirth, menopause, or previous gynecological surgeries. If you leak during orgasm, it is often due to the extra muscle contractions occurring in weakened muscles combined with increased stress placed on your bladder.
Leakage can also occur due to Urge Incontinence, which is when the bladder contracts when it shouldn’t–leading to a frequent need to urinate. This is commonly called ‘overactive bladder’ or OAB.
Male Urinary Leakage During Sex
Males are anatomically less likely to experience leakage during sex, as the opening to the bladder closes during arousal. If you experience leakage during the day and would like more peace of mind that it won’t occur during sex, simply empty your bladder shortly before intercourse.
Men who have recently undergone treatment for prostate cancer, such as surgery or radiation, are more likely to experience leakage for a short period of time. Many men only experience this for a short period of time after a prostatectomy, and find it decreases over time. Discuss with your Urologist how best to strengthen your pelvic floor after this surgery.
Some individuals find that certain sexual positions can increase the likelihood of leaks. It is recommended to avoid positions that place extra physical pressure on your lower, front abdomen–where your bladder if located. Be sure to communicate with your partner about what you find most comfortable.
The most immediate way to help prevent Stress Incontinence is to empty your bladder shortly before intercourse. This can help decrease the amount of leakage , if it were to occur, and give you peace of mind that you’ve made an effort to prevent it.
If you’re experiencing Urge Incontinence, it is commonly recommended to try bladder training. This behavioral therapy consists of a daily schedule of emptying your bladder at fixed times, whether you feel you need to urinate or not. This training is often done in combination with daily pelvic floor exercises. We recommend visiting your doctor to discuss adding bladder training into your daily routine to help prevent leaks.
Pelvic Floor Exercises can help strengthen the muscles that often lead to intercourse-related leakage. The Pelvic Floor is an important part of both female and male anatomy as these muscles help support the bladder, bowels, and uterus. Consistently training these muscles can not only improve your enjoyment of sexual intercourse, but can help reduce the likelihood of leaks.
When to Consult a Professional
If you’re finding that you experience leakage after taking the above preventative steps, consult a doctor about your experience. Many women find visiting a pelvic floor physical therapist to also be helpful, as they can develop an exercise plan specific to your needs. And don’t be nervous–they’ve heard it all and are there to help you.
Remember, many people experience leaks and still have happy, healthy sex lives–and you can, too!
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