Urinary incontinence is a common problem in women and may significantly impair their quality of life. Although women often report stress urinary incontinence during exercise, current data indicates that most types of exercise are not a risk factor for the development of urinary incontinence. However, certain extreme high-impact sports such as parachute jumping may cause pelvic organ support defects that result in stress urinary incontinence. Eating disorders also increase the risk of urinary incontinence in athletes. Overall, women should be encouraged to pursue physical activity that will benefit their general health without the risk of development of urinary incontinence later in life. Women athletes should be counseled about the increased risk of urinary incontinence with ultra high-impact sports and eating disorders.
Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Practitioners
After completion of this article, the reader should be able to list the most common types of urinary incontinence, to outline the risk factors for the development of urinary incontinence, and to describe the pathogenesis of exercise-associated urinary incontinence.