INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVE:
Urinary incontinence is a significant source of morbidity among women in the United States. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can improve muscle strength and flexibility, yet there is little literature on whether physical activity may help strengthen the pelvic floor to improve incontinence. This study seeks to examine the relationships between physical activity, both work and recreational, and urinary incontinence among women.
We examined women older than 20 years of age in the 2008-2018 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) cycles who answered self-reported urinary incontinence and physical activity questions. A weighted, multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine the association between incontinence and physical activity levels after adjusting for age, body mass index, diabetes, race, parity, menopause and smoking.
A total of 30,213 women were included in analysis, of whom 23.15% had stress incontinence, 23.16% had urge incontinence, and 8.42% had mixed incontinence (answered "yes" to both stress and urge incontinence) (Table 1). Women who engaged in moderate recreational activity were less likely to report stress and urge incontinence (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.62-0.99 and OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.48-0.90, respectively). Although some workplace activities trended toward a direct association with incontinence, none were statistically significant. However, a statistically significant inverse association was found between the time spent performing moderate intensity activities (both leisure and work) and all three types of urinary incontinence (Table 2).
Moderate physical activity and a greater time spent participating in moderate physical activity are associated with a decreased likelihood of stress, urge and mixed incontinence in women. This relationship holds for both recreational and work-related activity.
Source of Funding: