Q: I have an embarrassing problem. At the end of a sprint or a short, hard climb, I come very close to losing bladder control. I’m 45 and have no health problems. I notice that these “close calls” are becoming more frequent. Any insights? — N.W.
COACH FRED: That’s an interesting question and a rare one, too. I can’t remember hearing this problem during my 30 years in the sport.
Problems involving bladder control may be caused by over-hydration with water combined with under-consumption of sodium. The body flushes out the water so you have a frequent need to urinate, but not just during periods of hard effort.
Another mechanism is a saddle with a hard nose or nose that’s tilted up. Either condition puts excessive pressure on the urethra, which makes you feel that you need to urinate. But, again, you’d normally feel this all through a ride — unless when you sprint or power up a climb you’re sitting forward “on the rivet” and really compressing the soft tissue.
Try to find a urologist with some experience in cycling. Any time you have a pronounced change in bladder habits, it’s wise to rule out anything serious.