Studies report high prevalence of urinary leakage among athletes, especially during high-impact activities, such as running and jumping. This condition may affect the athletes' concentration and performance, and urinary incontinence early in life may increase the risk of urinary incontinence later in life, e.g. during pregnancy and post-partum. The purpose of this project is to study pelvic floor function and effects of pelvic floor muscle training in athletes participating in high-impact sports including acrobatic activities, jumps and heavy lifting.
Exercise and the Pelvic Floor
The main purpose is to study how exercise and sport activity affects pelvic floor function in elite athletes
Study 1: In this cross-sectional study, we will assess the prevalence and associated risk factors of urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor dysfunctions in Norwegian elite female artistic gymnasts, team gymnast and cheerleaders. Athletes fulfilling the inclusion criteria (>13 years of age, have participated or will participate in the Norwegian National Championship in 2018/2019) will be invited to participate. The athletes will respond to a web-based questionnaire.
Study 2: In this cross-sectional study, we will assess the prevalence and associated risk factors of urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor dysfunctions in Norwegian male and female powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters. Athletes fulfilling the inclusion criteria (>18 years of age, have participated or will participate in the Norwegian National Championship in 2018/2019) will be invited to participate. The athletes will respond to a web-based questionnaire.
Study 3: In this case-control study, we will compare pelvic floor muscle function (vaginal resting pressure, pelvic floor muscle strengthht and endurance) in 28 female Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters and 28 female non-exercising controls. Standardized questionnaires will be used to assess and compare prevalence and symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunctions. A trained gynecologist (Akershus University Hospital) will examine the participants to evaluate and quantify anatomical pelvic organ prolapse (POP-Q).
Study 4: In this randomized controlled trial, we will assess the effect of pelvic floor muscle training on prevalence and symptoms of stress urinary incontinence in female elite artistic gymnasts, team gymnasts and cheerleaders. The athletes will be randomized to either an exercise group or a control group. The exercise group will conduct home-based strengthening training of the pelvic floor muscles during a 3-month period. To measure the amount of urine lost during exercise, we will use a pad-weight test. We will also use a standardized questionnaire (ICIQ-UI-SF) to evaluate and compare prevalence, amount of leakage, bother of urinary incontinence in the two groups