Urinary incontinence in female athletes with inadequate eating behavior: a case-control study

Int Urogynecol J. 2023 Feb;34(2):431-438. doi: 10.1007/s00192-022-05349-5. Epub 2022 Sep 14.


Introduction and hypothesis: Female athletes can develop symptoms of urinary incontinence (UI) as well as risk behaviors for eating disorders owing to the type of training and sports modality. Such symptoms are intensified by the demands for results and an idealized body composition. Our aim is to investigate the possible association between urinary incontinence and risk behaviors for eating disorders in female athletes.

Methods: A case-control study was conducted with 270 female athletes who answered the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire (ICIQ-SF) and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26). Different sports modalities and their respective impact levels were considered in the study. Female athletes were divided into two groups, i.e., athletes with UI (case group) and those without UI (control group). Multiple logistic regression was used to calculate associated factors.

Results: From all variables included in the study, only abnormal eating behavior was found to be associated with UI according to the multiple logistic regression test. Participants with UI were 2.15-fold more likely to have risk behaviors for eating disorders.

Conclusions: Female athletes with UI were more likely to have risk behaviors for eating disorders. Multidisciplinary teams that provide care for these athletes should be attentive to symptoms that may not appear to be associated at first glance but may reflect a condition that needs to be treated.

Keywords: Athletes; EAT-26; Eating behavior; Female; ICIQ-SF; Urinary incontinence.

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Sports*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Incontinence* / diagnosis