Role of chronic exercise on pelvic floor support and function

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To summarize recent literature about the potential role of chronic exercise on pelvic floor support and function.

Recent findings

Stress urinary incontinence is common during physical activity. Scant evidence suggests a dose-response association between higher volumes of exercise and urinary incontinence. Athletes do not appear to have greater pelvic floor muscle strength or worse pelvic floor support compared to nonathletes. Pelvic floor muscle electromyographic activity increases substantially as running speeds increase.

Summary

Based on the current literature, no strong conclusions can be drawn about whether chronic exercise exerts a positive or negative influence on pelvic floor support and function. Adopting longitudinal research methodology that prospectively monitors exercise exposure and subsequent changes in pelvic floor support and function would help to reduce selection bias associated with cross sectional studies on groups of athletes.

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