Stress Urinary Incontinence Among Young Nulliparous Female Athletes
Urinary incontinence (UI) is described as unintentional voiding of urine that is usually seen in post-partum and post-menopausal women due to the weakening of pelvic floor muscles (PFM). Recent studies have shown an increase in the prevalence of stress urinary incontinence (SUI) among young nulliparous female athletes. The association between UI and high-impact physical activity is due to increased intra-abdominal pressure during high-impact sports exceeding intra-urethral pressure. Usually,
... levator ani muscle (LAM) helps in urethral closure. However, weakening or injury of LAM can reduce the pelvic support and cause UI in young female athletes. This study aims to assess the prevalence of SUI among young nulliparous athletes and also explore the association between SUI and athletic sports in young females. We searched PubMed and Google Scholar as databases to find specific articles about the topic. After the inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied, 52 articles were selected for this review. It is found that there is an increased UI prevalence, mainly SUI, among young nulliparous female athletes, especially in volleyball players and long-distance runners. Nulliparous athletes involved in high-impact exercises were found to have an increased cross-sectional area of LAM and puborectalis muscle width. SUI is usually under-reported and underdiagnosed due to lack of knowledge and unawareness, which can negatively affect the personal and social life of young females. PFM training is considered the first line of therapy among nulliparous athletes. However, it is unclear whether the high-impact effects of sports cause UI through PFM fatigue or PFM damage. More research is needed to better understand this effect.