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Stress incontinence in women runners: Uresta can help

For female runners experiencing bladder leaks while running, Uresta may be a game-changer

female runner stretching

Many women runners experience stress urinary incontinence (SUI), which causes discomfort and unnecessary embarrassment from bladder leakage when exercising. Uresta, a bladder support device developed in Canada that has recently become better known, has been years in the making–and may be a game changer for many women.

A recent independent study published in the International Urogynecology Journal reported some very promising results with regular use of Uresta. The study followed a group of 40 female runners and CrossFit participants for 12 months while using Uresta, 85 per cent of whom had tried pelvic floor physiotherapy. Ninety-seven per cent of women using Uresta saw a reduction in their leaks, and 90 per cent of the women continued using it after one year.

We caught up with the CEO of Uresta, Lauren Barker, for some insight on how the product works.

Uresta question diagram
Photo: Uresta

Can you share some of the stats on women experiencing stress incontinence? 

One in three women over 30 experience bladder leaks when coughing, sneezing, jumping, etc. However, it is estimated that 50 per cent of females experience it while exercising due to the extra pressure on the bladder during exercise, like running.

The most common causes are childbirth, age (our muscles weaken as we age), and hormonal changes caused by menopause.

Uresta graphic
Photo: Uresta

How was Uresta invented? 

Uresta was founded by Dr. Scott Farrell, a urogynecologist in Halifax. He recognized the need for a solution for stress incontinence that stopped the leaks from happening but didn’t require medical intervention, and could be self-managed. Uresta was invented well over a decade ago and has been through multiple clinical studies and regulatory approval processes.

Women are just starting to learn about Uresta now, as Dr. Farrell recently partnered with a group of female entrepreneurs and investors who have been working on improving and growing consumer awareness for it.


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How exactly does Uresta work?

SUI is related to muscle weakness or tissue damage in the pelvic floor. Running (jumping, coughing) puts extra pressure on the bladder, and if the muscles in the pelvic floor aren’t strong enough it will let urine slip out. Uresta inserts vaginally, providing support to the urethra and bracing the bladder for those moments of extra pressure (the vaginal canal is under your urethra and bladder).

Uresta doesn’t prevent you from urinating normally, meaning you don’t need to take it out to pee, and it’s made of hypoallergenic medical resin. Uresta is safe to use all day or just when you need it (like running).

Who is it designed for? Is there anyone who shouldn’t try it? 

Uresta is designed for any woman who experiences stress incontinence. This is a common issue for runners, but can help any woman who experiences this type of leak. Uresta should not be used by women if they are pregnant, when they are menstruating or if they’ve had recent vaginal surgery.

How can women access Uresta?

Uresta retails for $139 on the website–shipping is free and there is no tax on medical products. Most private or group insurance plans cover the cost of Uresta, though reimbursement requirements differ by plan. Uresta is also covered by HSA and FSA spending accounts. Uresta also offers a 30-day refund period on the Uresta Starter Kit, so you can try it risk-free. More information about Uresta can also be found on their Instagram account here.