Urinary incontinence in competitive women weightlifters

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Urinary incontinence has the potential to diminish athletic performance and discourage women from participating in sport and exercise. This study determined the prevalence and possible risk factors for urinary incontinence in competitive women weightlifters. This research was a cross-sectional, survey-based study completed by 191 competitive women weightlifters. The frequency and severity of urinary incontinence was determined using the Incontinence Severity Index. Urinary incontinence was defined as an Incontinence Severity Index score > 0. The survey questions focused on risk factors, the context and triggers for urinary incontinence, and self-care strategies. Approximately, 31.9% of participants experienced urinary incontinence within three months of completing the survey. Incontinence Severity Index scores were significantly correlated with parity (r=0.283, p=0.01) and age (r=0.216, p=0.01). There was no significant correlation between Incontinence Severity Index score and the number of years participating in any form of resistance training (r= -0.010, p= 0.886) or weightlifting (r= -0.045, p= 0.534), Body Mass Index (r=0.058, p= 0.422) or competition total (r= -0.114, p= 0.115). The squat was the most likely exercise to provoke urinary incontinence. While the number of repetitions, weight lifted, body position and ground impact may increase the likelihood of urinary incontinence occurring during a lift, it is difficult to determine which factor has the greatest influence. Some self-care strategies used by competitive women weightlifters who experience urinary incontinence, such as training while dehydrated, have the potential to diminish athletic performance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Early online date3 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jun 2021


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