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Assessment of abdominal and pelvic floor muscle function among continent and incontinent athletes

Abstract

Introduction and hypothesis

Studies have shown that there is a co-contraction between the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. This study aimed to evaluate pelvic floor and abdominal muscle function in continent and incontinent female athletes and to investigate the association between these muscle groups.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional study. Forty nulliparous professional female athletes who competed at the municipal level or above participated in this study. All participants underwent a pelvic floor muscle (PFM) and abdominal muscle assessment. PFM function and strength were assessed using the modified Oxford Scale and a perineometer. Abdominal muscle function and strength were assessed using a 4-Pro isokinetic dynamometer. To assess athletes’ urinary continence, the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Short-Form (ICIQ-UI-SF) was used.

Results

There was a positive association between PFM and abdominal muscle strength among the incontinent athletes (p = 0.006; r = 0.577). The incontinent athletes had greater PFM strength than the continent athletes (p = 0.02). There was no difference in abdominal muscle function between the groups.

Conclusions

We found that incontinent athletes have greater PFM strength than continent athletes. This suggests that urinary incontinence in this population is not due to PFM weakness. The positive association between abdominal and PFM strengths in incontinent athletes may be due to frequent co-contraction between these muscle groups.

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Fig. 1

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Correspondence to Keyla Mara dos Santos.

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dos Santos, K.M., Da Roza, T., Mochizuki, L. et al. Assessment of abdominal and pelvic floor muscle function among continent and incontinent athletes. Int Urogynecol J 30, 693–699 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-018-3701-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-018-3701-8

Keywords

  • Athletes
  • Abdominal muscles
  • Pelvic floor
  • Urinary incontinence