Female triathletes at risk for pelvic floor disorders and other complications

Female triathletes are at risk for pelvic floor disorders, decreased energy, menstrual irregularities and abnormal bone density, according to researchers at Loyola University Health System (LUHS). These data were presented at the American Urogynecologic Society 2014 Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC.

The study found that one in three female triathletes suffers from a pelvic floor disorder such as , and pelvic organ prolapse. One in four had one component of the female athlete triad, a condition characterized by decreased energy, menstrual irregularities and abnormal bone density from excessive exercise and inadequate nutrition.

"There has been a surge in popularity of high-impact sports such as triathlons, but little has been known until now about the prevalence of pelvic health and certain other issues associated with endurance training and events," said Colleen Fitzgerald, MD, study investigator and physiatrist, LUHS.

Researchers surveyed 311 women for this study with a median age range of 35 – 44. These women were involved with triathlete groups and most (82 percent) were training for a triathlon at the time of the survey. On average, survey participants ran 3.7 days a week, biked 2.9 days a week and swam 2.4 days a week.

Of those who reported pelvic floor disorder symptoms, 16 percent had urgency urinary incontinence, 37.4 percent had , 28 percent had bowel incontinence and 5 percent had . Training mileage and intensity were not associated with pelvic floor disorder symptoms. Twenty-two percent of those surveyed screened positive for disordered eating, 24 percent had menstrual irregularities and 29 percent demonstrated abnormal bone strength.

"While both and the female athlete triad are prevalent in female triathletes, both are often ignored," said Johnny Yi, MD, 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."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Clinical review published in JAMA

Jun 06, 2014

Many women experience bothersome urine loss with laughing, coughing and sneezing (stress urinary incontinence) AND on their way to the bathroom (urge urinary incontinence). When women experience both types of urine leakage, ...

Recommended for you

Mali announces new Ebola case

21 hours ago

Mali announced Saturday a new case of Ebola in a man who is fighting for his life in an intensive care unit in the capital Bamako.

Plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar: WHO

21 hours ago

An outbreak of plague has killed 40 people in Madagascar, the World Health Organization said, warning that the disease could spread rapidly in the country's densely populated capital Antananarivo.

UN chief: Ebola cases in Mali a 'deep concern'

Nov 21, 2014

The United Nations chief warned Friday that Ebola may be easing in part of West Africa but is still hitting hard in other areas and outpacing the international response.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.