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Obstet Gynecol. 1990 May;75(5):848-51.

Exercise and incontinence.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.


Three hundred twenty-six women filled out questionnaires to assess the relationship between exercise and incontinence. Two hundred ninety participants stated that they exercised regularly. Overall, 152 (47%) noted some degree of incontinence, which correlated positively with the number of vaginal deliveries (P less than .0005). Eighty-seven exercisers (30%) noted incontinence during at least one type of exercise. Incontinence exclusively during exercise was seen in only one woman. Exercises involving repetitive bouncing were associated with the highest incidence of incontinence. Seventeen incontinent exercisers (20%) stopped an exercise because of incontinence, whereas 16 (18%) changed the way a specific exercise was done and 48 (55%) wore a pad during exercise. Thirty-five percent had discussed their incontinence with a health care professional. These data suggest that incontinence during exercise is a common, although little known, problem. In addition to the behavioral adaptations which women initiate on their own, surgical and nonsurgical treatments may be of benefit.

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