Introduction. Urinary incontinence (UI) is perceived as a problem that affects older and multiparous women. However, recent studies report that involuntary loss of urine also affects athletes, young and nulliparous. There is controversy over the role of exercise in UI. Thus the purpose of the review is to describe and evaluate scientific evidence concerning the prevalence of UI in female volleyball athletes.
Methods. The review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). The selected databases were PubMed, LILACS, PEDro, Medline, Cochrane, and ScienceDirect. The searches were performed between December 2016 and January 2017. The descriptors and Boolean operators used in the search were as follows: ‘urinary incontinence AND athletes AND volleyball.’ After peer evaluation, 47 studies were identified, and 6 articles were selected for review. The methodological evaluation was based on Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE).
Results. The review identified the UI prevalence of 9–30% during sports practice and 17–18% in the day-by-day life. Practising physical exercise of high impact appears to be a causing factor of UI in women.
Conclusions. Practising volleyball in the female population can be an important UI risk factor. Owing to the high prevalence of UI, coaches and athletes must be aware of the importance of training the pelvic floor muscles simultaneously with the sports practice.
Key words: stress, urinary incontinence, muscles of the pelvic floor, sport