Slouching Has An Unexpected Effect On Your Pee

Much of how we operate in the world today is not conducive to good posture. Although poor posture can alternatively stem from injury, ill-fitting footwear, or muscle weakness, experts at City Chiropractic Clinic explain that it can also be the result of long workdays spent in front of the computer, continuously hunching over our phones, or sitting at a desk that lacks proper ergonomic support. Over time, slouching can lead to sleep issues, headaches, jaw pain, and arthritis. Poor posture can also negatively impact respiration, blood flow, and the size and strength of certain muscles. As far as health risks go, bladder problems might be the last thing you'd associate with slouching, but allowing our shoulders and neck to continuously droop forward can have a little-known effect on our pee.

As outlined in 2023 research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, it is our body's muscle cylinder that helps facilitate correct posture. Included in this group of muscles are our pelvic floor muscles. In the long run, however, slouching can take a toll on these muscles, increasing the risk of incontinence (via Harvard Health Publishing).

How slouching can weaken our pelvic floor muscles and lead to incontinence

Poor posture affects more than just our neck and shoulders. "Slouching increases abdominal pressure, which puts pressure on the bladder," physical therapist Meghan Markowski told Harvard Health Publishing. "The position also decreases the ability of the pelvic floor muscles to hold against that pressure." As a result, some people may experience involuntary urinary leakage, otherwise known as stress urinary incontinence.

Affecting nearly 16% of women, stress urinary incontinence often strikes following any bodily actions that place added pressure on the intraabdominal muscles, such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercising (via StatPearls). Treatment for the condition may involve bladder retraining, Kegel exercises, surgery, or the use of certain medications. Patients may also be advised to steer clear of spicy foods, citrus, or chocolate. This is also true for beverages known to aggravate the bladder, such as tea, coffee, or alcohol. To reduce the risk of stress incontinence, here's how we can protect our pelvic floor muscles by maintaining good posture.

How we can maintain good posture when standing and sitting

Posture is important no matter if we're standing up, sitting down, or reclined on the couch with remote in hand. By having our body in proper alignment, we can protect ourselves from back pain, fatigue, muscle strain, joint damage, and more (via City Chiropractic Clinic). Experts at Body Harmony Physical Therapy suggest that when standing, we place our feet squarely underneath our shoulders while keeping our knees nice and relaxed. Keep your shoulders back, but not to the point of strain, and maintain an equal distribution of weight on each foot.

For seated positions, place your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest. We want to keep both feet planted firmly on the ground, as crossing your legs can be bad for your posture. Rather than leaning to one side of the chair, keep your weight evenly distributed across your sit bones. Release any tension in the head, neck, or shoulders, and keep the shoulders back. Placing a lumbar cushion behind your lower back can also be helpful. Finally, don't forget to move around. While it's easy to get sucked into our laptop, you want to get up and walk or stretch for about 3 to 5 minutes approximately every half hour to help keep your posture in good shape.