Urinary incontinence (UI) is prevalent among female athletes and can interfere with their ability to exercise. Running is a popular sport but involves high impact that may contribute to UI. It is important to understand factors related to UI in female runners to optimize participation in this activity.
The primary aim of this study was to identify the proportion of female runners experiencing UI during running and identify variables that are associated with UI during running. A secondary aim of this study was to understand factors related to women's decision to seek treatment of UI.
Cross-sectional survey study.
An online anonymous survey was developed, including questions related to running behavior, childbirth history, running history surrounding pregnancy, and UI. Inclusion criteria included women who were at least 20 years old and running at least once per week. Univariate logistic regression was used to determine associations between variables of interest and UI.
A total of 803 subjects participated in the study. The prevalence of UI during running was 16%. Most runners reporting UI did not consult health care providers (70%). Risk factors for UI included number of deliveries (P < .001), number of vaginal deliveries (P < .001), the 40- to 44-year-old age range (P = .027), and the perimenopausal phase (P = .044).
It is important to screen female runners for UI, particularly after vaginal deliveries and into perimenopause, to help manage UI-related symptoms. Increased education about interventions for UI is needed for female runners.