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Eur J Sport Sci. 2018 Nov;18(10):1405-1412. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1496146. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Prevalence of urinary incontinence in high-impact sports athletes and their association with knowledge, attitude and practice about this dysfunction.

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a Physiotherapy Department , Federal University of Pernambuco , Recife , Brazil.
b Statistics Department , Federal University of Pernambuco , Recife , Brazil.



To evaluate the prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI) in female athletes practising high-impact sports and its association with knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP).


Observational study.


A semi-structured evaluation form, KAP survey and the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire - Short Form were used. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to verify the association of UI with KAP, sociodemographic, gynaecological and sports-related variables, with significant variables remaining in the model (p < .05), through a stepwise strategy.


The prevalence of UI in 118 athletes was 82 (70%), of which 19 (23%) had pure stress UI, 19 (23%) had pure urgency UI and 44 (54%) had mixed UI; with 50 (61%) athletes losing urine during training and 37 (45%) during competitions. Regarding the KAP survey, 37 athletes (31%) demonstrated adequate knowledge, 63 (53%) adequate attitude and zero adequate practice. In the multivariate analysis, a sports practice time of over 8 years and dyspareunia presented significant values, with odds ratios (OR) of 2.66 and 2.99, respectively. Knowledge was significantly associated with UI (OR 0.43). UI had a slight impact on QOL.


There is a high prevalence of UI yet low levels of adequate knowledge and practice regarding the occurrence of UI in sports, with sports practice time over 8 years and dyspareunia factors predisposing female athletes to UI by 2.7 and 3 times, respectively. Athletes with adequate knowledge were 57% less likely to develop UI.


Urinary incontinence; athletes; attitudes; exercise; health knowledge; practice; prevalence

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