Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Interventions in Female Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

Athletes are almost 3 times more at risk of experiencing urinary incontinence (UI) than sedentary women, with prevalence rates varying from 10.9% in low-impact sports such as cycling to 80% when engaging in high-impact sports such as trampoline gymnastics. To treat UI, pelvic floor muscle (PFM) training (PFMT) is recommended as a first line of treatment.

The aim of the present study was to perform a meta-analysis of the available literature on the efficacy of PFMT interventions in young, nulliparous female athletes.

A literature research was conducted using PubMed, Sport Discus, and Web of Science.

The inclusion criteria were studies with PFMT intervention in female athletes or recreationally active women. Interventions could be carried out for treatment or prevention of pelvic floor dysfunctions.

Systematic review with meta-analysis.

Level 5.

A descriptive analysis of the articles included in the systematic review was carried out. Meta-analyses could be performed on 6 of the included articles, evaluating the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of the PFMs, the amount of urinary leakage (AUL), and the vaginal resting pressure (VRP). Random-effects model and standardized mean differences (SMD) ± 95% CI were reported.

The meta-analysis showed that PFMT produced a significant increase in MVC (SMD, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.11 to 1.08; P = 0.02) and a significant reduction of AUL (SMD, -1.13; 95% CI, -1.84 to -0.41; P < 0.01) in female athletes. No effects were shown in VRP (SMD, -0.05; 95% CI, -1.27 to 1.17; P = 0.93).

PFMT is shown to be effective in increasing PFM strength and reducing urine leakage in female athletes, being a powerful tool to prevent and treat pelvic floor dysfunction in this population.

Sports health. 2023 Sep 09 [Epub ahead of print]

Celia Rodríguez-Longobardo, Olga López-Torres, Amelia Guadalupe-Grau, Miguel Ángel Gómez-Ruano

Social Sciences of Physical Activity, Sport and Leisure Department, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain., Faculty of Sport Sciences, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain., GENUD Toledo Research Group, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo, Spain.

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