What is known from the existing literature about the available interventions for pelvic floor dysfunction among female athletes? A scoping review

Neurourol Urodyn. 2022 Jan 30. doi: 10.1002/nau.24883. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Female athletes may be at higher risk of developing pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). However, despite the great number of epidemiologic studies, the interventions have not been standardized.

AIM: The present scoping review aimed to map and summarize the literature to identify the available interventions for PFD among female athletes.

METHODS: Seven databases were searched up to May 2021. Studies considering female athletes practising sports at any performance level with any type of PFD were eligible for inclusion. Any clinical intervention and any context were considered. No language, study design, and publication type restrictions were applied. Additional studies were identified through gray literature and the reference lists of articles included. The results were presented numerically and thematically.

RESULTS: From 2625 initial records, 35 studies met inclusion criteria. The majority of articles were narrative reviews, considering athletes with urinary incontinence practising multiple or high-impact sports. Authors discussed a wide range of interventions: preventive (n = 8); conservative (n = 35), pharmacological (n = 12), and surgical (n = 10). In particular, the Pelvic Floor Muscle Training was considered in 30 studies.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first scoping review to provide a comprehensive overview of the topic. Besides the great number of available interventions, specific programs and randomized controlled clinical trials for female athletes are still limited. Findings highlighted evident gaps in the primary research confirming that the current management is based on expert opinion. This review may be useful for the overall management, and it may represent a starting point for future research.

PMID:35094428 | DOI:10.1002/nau.24883

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