Stress Urinary Incontinence in the female athlete
One of the most common, but rarely discussed issues that female athletes face is urinary incontinence during exercise. This phenomenon is also known as stress urinary incontinence and is defined as the involuntary leaking of urine during activities like running, jumping, laughing or coughing. One study estimates that leaking of urine occurs in 47% of exercising women (average age was 38 years in this study). Many attribute this problem due to pregnancy and childbirth; however, studies have shown that 25-28% of high school and collegiate athletes who have never been pregnant report stress urinary incontinence. These numbers are even higher in sports that significantly increase the intra-pelvic pressure like gymnastics and trampoline where 60-80% of athletes report incontinence!
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