Original Article

A prospective comparative urinary incontinence study between nulliparous female basketball athletes and non-athletes indicates a key role for health professionals in prevention

  • FRANCESCA ROLLI
  • DANIELA FRIGERI

Pelviperineology 2016;35(3):77-80

Background:

The body of a female basketball player undergoes considerable physical effort, since the rigid surface of the basketball court does not absorb the impact.

Aim of the study:

This study aims at estimating the real prevalence of symptoms associated with urinary incontinence (UI) in nulliparous female basketball players in comparison to nulliparous non athletes.

Materials and methods:

Through anonymous surveys and voiding diaries, distributed to 60 female non-athlete and 60 female basketball players, we examined the symptoms related to pelvic floor weakness and urinary incontinence. The participating athletes were asked whether they would agree to undergo a pubococcygeus (PC) muscle test at the Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Unit of Azienda Ospedaliera di Parma (Italy). Eight of them accepted.

Results:

the percentage of symptomatic subjects amounted to 50% among athletes and 30% among non-athletes. Analyzing the responses of the asymptomatic athletes, we found that 90% of them do physical preparation and 66.6% of them lift weights more than once a week. The responses also showed that 73.3% of the participants were unaware of the pelvic floor functions. The PC muscle tests on the eight volunteers revealed a severe weakness of the analyzed musculature, with antagonistic muscle action, in half of the women who underwent the tests.

Conclusions:

The results highlight the fact that this group of fit professional women were unaware of their anatomy and unable to voluntarily strengthen the perineal muscles. In a female athlete, complementing general training with strengthening exercise for the perineal muscles is of crucial importance. An integrated role of an empathic professional with the necessary expertise in this field is emphasized.

Keywords: Urinary incontinence; Basketball players; Symptoms; Prevention.