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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction in the Female Athlete

Louis-Charles, Kaina, MPH1; Biggie, Kristin, MD2; Wolfinbarger, Ainsly1; Wilcox, Becky, PT, MPT, PRPC3; Kienstra, Carolyn M., MD2

Current Sports Medicine Reports: February 2019 - Volume 18 - Issue 2 - p 49–52
doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000563
General Medical Conditions: Section Articles

Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) is a term used to describe a variety of disorders involving moderate to severe impairment of the pelvic floor muscles. It can be divided into two broad categories. Relaxing PFD is more common, presenting with urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, or pelvic organ prolapse. Nonrelaxing PFD symptoms include impaired ability to evacuate urine or stool, sexual dysfunction, and pelvic pain. Unfamiliarity with this diagnosis among medical providers along with nonspecific symptoms often lead to a delayed or missed diagnosis for patients. Here, we present the case of a collegiate soccer player with PFD to illustrate the severity of presentation and progression of this disorder. We review the current literature regarding nonrelaxing PFD and all types of PFD in female athletes to raise awareness and recognition of this condition.

1Sports Medicine Institute, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL;

2Department of Pediatrics and Sports Medicine Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL; and

3Physical Therapy of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK

Address for correspondence: Carolyn M. Kienstra, MD, University of Miami School of Medicine, 1580 NW 10th Ave., Miami, FL 33136; E-mail:

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Sports Medicine.