Urinary Incontinence in Sport Women: from Risk Factors to Treatment – A Review
Thuane Da Roza, Renato Natal Jorge, Teresa Mascarenhas and Jose Alberto Duarte
Affiliation: Rua Dr Roberto Frias, s/n; 4200-465, Porto, Portugal.
Keywords: Athletes, high impact sports, intra-abdominal pressure, muscle training, pelvic floor muscles, physical exercise,
physiotherapy, stress urinary incontinence.
Although a variety of the health benefits have been attributed to regular physical activity, some studies
suggested that strenuous exercise may be considered as an independent risk factor for the onset of urinary incontinence in
young women. The aim of this article is to provide a review of the scientific literature concerning the role of physiotherapy in
the prevention and treatment of urinary incontinence in sport women. Stress urinary incontinence is defined as a leakage
of urine during elevated intra-abdominal pressure that can occur during exercise. This dysfunction may affect the quality
of life, carrying negative implications on psychological, social and athletic performance. Pelvic floor muscle training has
been shown to be an effective treatment in women in general population. However, few studies have been conducted
showing the effects of the pelvic floor training in sportswomen. In addition, there are no randomized clinical trials
studying this subject. Evidence suggests that stress urinary incontinency may be related to delays in pelvic floor muscles
contraction in response to sudden increase of intra-abdominal pressure. Further research is necessary to determine the
pelvic floor muscles function in women that perform physical activity with different levels of exigency.
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