The Stress Urinary Incontinence in CrossFit (SUCCeSS) Study

Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2020 Feb;26(2):101-106. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000815.


Objective: To evaluate the prevalence and severity of urinary incontinence (UI) in women who participate in CrossFit classes compared with women who participate in non-CrossFit group fitness classes.

Methods: The authors conducted a cross-sectional study of women who participate in either CrossFit or non-CrossFit group fitness classes using an online survey. Participants provided demographic information and completed the Incontinence Severity Index and Urinary Distress Inventory. Participants were recruited from local CrossFit and non-CrossFit gyms, online via social media, and an electronic CrossFit Newsletter. Associated comorbidities, exercises associated with UI, and coping mechanisms for urinary leakage were also assessed.

Results: Four hundred twenty-three women meeting inclusion criteria completed the survey, including 322 CrossFit participants and 101 non-CrossFit participants. We found that CrossFit participants were older than non-CrossFit participants and more likely to self-identify as non-Hispanic white. CrossFit participants more commonly reported UI (84% vs 48%, P = <0.001), higher severity of UI (Urinary Distress Inventory score: 20.8 vs 12.5, P < 0.001), and specifically more stress UI (73% vs 47%, P < 0.001). Weightlifting and jumping movements were the most common exercises associated with UI in CrossFit participants. Age and participation in CrossFit are significant and independent predictors of UI.

Conclusions: More than 80% of CrossFit participants reported UI and half of these reported moderate-severe UI, as compared with women who participate in non-CrossFit classes, less than half of whom reported UI with a small minority reporting moderate-severe UI. Exercises most associated with UI were jumping and weightlifting.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fitness Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • High-Intensity Interval Training* / adverse effects
  • High-Intensity Interval Training* / methods
  • Humans
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress* / diagnosis
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress* / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress* / etiology
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress* / psychology