*Warning: This post is a little bit gross. Okay. Sorry. A lot gross.
By NATALIA HAWK
You might have noticed that crotch sweat has been making headlines this week.
I know. Crotch sweat isn’t even a phrase I was particularly aware of until a few days ago – but hey, thanks news cycle. It comes after tampon/pad brand U by Kotex released a commercial for sports liners. Liners that are specifically designed to absorb sweat as well as, um, everything else:
In case you can’t watch it – the commercial shows a few different girls exercising and then noticing their sweat patches on their pants and freaking out. One tries to cover it up with boxing pads. Another RUNS INTO THE OCEAN in a vain attempt to distract everyone from her sweaty crotch. Because that’s not drawing more attention to yourself. No, not at all.
My first thought after watching the commercial? Thank you, women’s hygiene brands, for giving me something else to worry about. Because there wasn’t enough on my to-stress-about list – now I must continue to continually check my crotch while working out.
My second thought? How ridiculous is it that we’re worrying about crotch sweat. Really, when it comes to embarrassing incidents when exercising, crotch sweat should be the least of your worries. Because when extreme exercise comes into the equation, extreme things can start happening to your body. Things that normally work really well start working… not so well.
Exhibit A: Runner’s diarrhea.
I never intended to write anything with the word “diarrhea” in it. Ever. But here I am, typing it out.
I first became aware of runner’s diarrhea when I read an article somewhere on the Interwebs by a woman who became a runner, only to discover that it made her want to go to the bathroom.
All the time. An uncontrollable urge that made her too scared to do marathons in the fear that she’d have to stop halfway through and find a port-a-loo.
I’ve tried to track down this article since, to no avail. I have a theory that the author deleted it to prevent further embarrassment. But the general conclusion was that she wasn’t alone in her, um, urges. And you might not know this, because nobody ever talks about it – but Runner’s diarrhea is a thing. So much so that if you type it into Google, it comes up with over 90,000 results to help you fix that little problem.
Apparently it can affect anywhere from a quarter to a third of all marathon runners. Something to do with your leg muscles working really hard and drawing blood away from your intestines, resulting in a very urgent need to find a bathroom.
If this ever happens to you – don’t stress too much. The winner of the 2005 London Marathon, Paula Radcliffe, infamously had to stop for a toilet break on the side of the road… and the entire event was broadcast live.
Bet she would have preferred a bit of a crotch sweat broadcast across the world. Just sayin’.
So this brings us to Exhibit B: exercise incontinence. A matter brought to the public attention after CrossFit released a video, asking women – “do you pee when you work out?”
The video is 3 minutes and 14 seconds of women admitting that they have wet themselves during workouts. “I do ten double-unders, I’m standing in a puddle,” says one woman. “It’s not pretty.”
It’s since spurned hundreds of comments on the Facebook page. One person has even called for Huggies to sponsor the 2014 Crossfit games. There are HEAPS of women admitting that they pee when they exercise and that they’re not particularly worried about it.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association has since responded to the video, emphasising that incontinence can be treated by physiotherapists and that it’s not supposed to be a badge of honour.
But the general vibe of the video is one that I like and that provides a refreshing angle compared to the crotch sweat ad. Because – guess what – when you’re working out, shit happens. Occasionally literally. You’re going to sweat all over the treadmill, you’re going to accidentally fart in yoga class, you might have to stop halfway through your distance run to go to the bathroom in a bush.
But let’s not stress each other out by demonising basic body functions. Let’s embrace the crotch sweat. Let’s acknowledge that runner’s diarrhea exists. And if you ever pee when you work out – you definitely know you’re not alone.
Have any of the above things ever happened to you when working out? How did you deal with it?