From Our 2008 Archives
Women, Sports, and Stress Incontinence
Study: Urinary Stress Incontinence Often Strikes Women During Sports, Exercise
Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD
Sept. 25, 2008 -- It's a delicate subject, but one that many women experience.
Urinary incontinence, or leaking urine, is a common, embarrassing female problem that keeps women from working out or playing sports.
Researchers wanted to take a look at stress urinary incontinence in the general population of women who play sports for recreation to see if they could find out who is more at risk and what can be done about it. Stress urinary incontinence is characterized by involuntary leakage of urine related to activity, such as coughing, sneezing, or lifting.
The study was led by Stefano Salvatore, MD, from the University of Insubria in Varese, Italy. The researchers gathered information from 679 women whose average age was 36. The participants were not professional athletes and were still having regular periods.
The women played basketball (17%), tennis and squash (11%), skied and windsurfed (7%), were cyclers and volleyball players (6%), and swimmers (4%).
Stress Urinary Incontinence and Sports
Among the women surveyed:
Of the 101 women who experienced stress urinary incontinence:
The authors write that women who deal with stress urinary incontinence "should be given information and offered diagnostic and conservative therapeutic options."
The authors point out that pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles around the bladder "can be very helpful."
The results are published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
SOURCES: Salvatore, S. British Journal of Sports Medicine, manuscript received ahead of print. News release, British Journal of Sports Medicine.
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