Observational Study on the Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence in Female Athletes

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 May 24;18(11):5591. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18115591.


Purpose: To study the prevalence of UI in female athletes, the category of sports with the highest number of cases, the most incident risk factors and the bio-psycho-social consequences.

Methods: Preparation of a survey, based on two validated questionnaires answered by 63 participants, to carry out an analytical, transversal and observational study. All participants were European, adult, female athletes (mean age 30.78 years, standard deviation 12.16 years).

Results: UI has a high prevalence (44.4%) in female athletes (compared to 10% in non-athletes), being more frequent in those who practice long-distance running. As age and years of sport practice increase, the incidence of this pathology increases. Absorbent pads are used by more than half of women with incontinence, while the rest wet their underwear. Menopause, childbirth and surgery in the region are risk factors for UI, while the presence of urinary tract infections or candidiasis is not. The results state that urine loss does not cause anxiety or depression, but it does affect sporting life.

Conclusions: The prevalence of UI in this study is very high and more common in female athletes and the incidence increases with age and other risk factors. The salient consequence of this study is that urine loss affects their sporting environment, but does not induce depression or anxiety.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04352647.

Keywords: incontinence; sports; urinary incontinence; urinary stress; women’s health.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Incontinence* / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence* / etiology

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04352647