A new study has found that 1 in 3 female triathletes suffer from pelvic floor disorders, including urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence.
Researchers from Loyola University Health System (LUHS) surveyed 311 (median age range of 35-44) who participated in triathlete groups. Eighty two percent of these women were currently training for a triathlon. Results showed that, on average, the women ran 3.7 days a week, biked 2.9 days a week and swam 2.4 days a week.
Of the women who reported pelvic floor disorder symptoms, 16 percent had urge incontinence, 37.4 percent had stress incontinence, 28 percent had fecal incontinence and 5 percent had pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
In addition to the pelvic floor disorders, the women were also at risk for triad syndrome, which included symptoms of abnormal bone strength (29 percent), irregular menstruation (24 percent) and abnormal eating patterns (22 percent).
The data was presented July 24 at the American Urogynecologic Society 2014 Scientific Meeting in Washington, D.C.
“While both pelvic-floor disorders and the female athlete triad are prevalent in female triathletes, both are often ignored,” said Dr. Johnny Yi, urogynecologist and study investigator. “Doctors should be aware of how common these conditions are in this group of athletes and treat patients appropriately to avoid long-term health consequences.”