Prevalence of urinary incontinence in women powerlifters: a pilot study

Lolita Wikander, Donelle Cross, Daniel E. Gahreman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction and hypothesis: Increased intra-abdominal pressure is associated with urinary incontinence (UI) as is increasing age, obesity, and participating in sport at an elite level. We aimed to determine the prevalence of UI in competitive women powerlifters and establish if commonly cited risk factors affect the incidence of UI.

    Methods: The authors developed a 17-item questionnaire to investigate the prevalence of UI and the relationship of UI with age, body mass, resistance training experience, and competition grade in competitive women powerlifters. The questionnaire was distributed through three major powerlifting federations in Australia for 16 months. The data of 134 competitive women powerlifters were collected anonymously using Qualtrics, and were analysed using multivariate analysis.

    Results: In combination, the age of lifters, resistance training experience, body weight categories, and competition grade accounted for a significant 28% of the variability in the Incontinence Severity Index (ISI) (p < 0.01). However, the ISI was not significantly different among age groups, body weight categories, or competition grade. Approximately, 41% of women powerlifters had experienced UI at some stage in life, and 37% of women powerlifters currently experienced UI during training, competition, or maximum effort lifts. However, the rate of UI experienced during daily life activities was approximately 11%.

    Conclusions: This study showed that competitive women powerlifters experience a higher rate of UI during lifting-related activities than in daily life and that the rate of UI correlates positively with age, body weight categories, resistance training experience, and competition grade.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2031-2039
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
    Issue number12
    Early online date21 Jan 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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