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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2011 Jul;114(1):60-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 May 14.

Prevalence and impact of urinary incontinence among female athletes.

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Higher School of Health, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal.



To assess the prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI) in a group of female athletes and to explore its impact on their lives.


In total, 106 female athletics, basketball, and indoor football athletes were recruited. Data were collected through a questionnaire and a focus group and analyzed via Pearson's χ(2) test, 2-way analysis of variance, and thematic analysis.


Urinary incontinence was experienced by 41.5% of the athletes. Its prevalence across the 3 types of sport was similar and was not affected by age. However, athletes who experienced UI had a lower body weight (P = 0.011) and a lower body mass index (P = 0.035). Most (95.5%) athletes had never discussed their condition with a health professional. In the focus group, all athletes described preventive urination to avoid urine leakage. It was mentioned that UI affected their performance and made them feel uncomfortable and frustrated.


Urinary incontinence is a prevalent condition among athletes that is not openly discussed. However, it causes regular changes in their physical performance and daily life. More research is needed to increase awareness of UI and to design interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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