Athletic incontinence

A man urinating while cycling in the 1989 Race Across America

Athletic incontinence (athletic leakage, athletic leaks, exercise-induced urinary incontinence) is the specific form of urinary incontinence that results from engaging in high-impact or strenuous activities. Unlike stress incontinence, which is defined as the loss of small amounts of urine associated with sneezing, laughing or exercising, athletic incontinence occurs exclusively during exercise.[1] Athletic incontinence is generally thought to be the result of decreased structural support of the pelvic floor due to increased abdominal pressure during high-impact exercise. As such exercises that build and develop the pelvic floor may be an important step to counteracting athletic incontinence.[2] In addition to high-impact exercise, this weakening can also stem from childbirth and age.[3]


Studies have shown that 30%-40% of all women deal with athletic incontinence, with some studies reporting up to 69% of women as sufferers.[1][3][4] Athletes in high impact sports such as gymnastics and basketball are likely to suffer from incontinence, with over 60% of subjects in each sport reporting they suffer from athletic leaks during activity.[5]

Rarely do sufferers of athletic incontinence seek treatment, with one study showing that over 95% of subjects had not sought professional advice on their condition.[6] Those who participated in the study claimed they didn’t seek help because they were embarrassed or thought it was a normal condition.

See also


  1. 1 2 Barten, Kelly (December 21, 2009). "Exercise-induced urinary incontinence (leaking urine while running) - it's more common than you think, and treatable". Retrieved January 2, 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  2. Bø, K (2004). "Urinary incontinence, pelvic floor dysfunction, exercise and sport.". Sports Medicine. 34 (7): 451–64. doi:10.2165/00007256-200434070-00004. PMID 15233598.
  3. 1 2 Robbins, Laura (December 21, 2009). "Stress Urinary Incontinence in the Female Athlete". Retrieved January 2, 2014. External link in |website= (help)
  4. Krucoff, Carol (August 30, 1999). "Fitness : The Bane of Female Athletes Too, Incontinence Can Be Treated". Los Angeles Times.
  5. Nygaard IE, Thompson FL, Svengalis SL, Albright JP (September 1994). "Urinary incontinence in elite nulliparous athletes". Obstet Gynecol. 84 (3): 183–7. PMID 8041527.
  6. Phillips, Allan (January 17, 2013). "Pelvic Floor Dysfuction, Urinary Incontinence, and Female Athletes". Retrieved January 2, 2014. External link in |website= (help)
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