Date of Graduation

Spring 5-17-2018

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Behavioral Health (MSBH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Dr Kathleen Raffel

Second Advisor

Stephanie Ludwig



Introduction, definition: Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leaking of urine (a few drops to a few milliliters). It can happen while exercising with no urge to urinate (stress urinary incontinence), with a sudden urge to urinate (overactive bladder or urgency urinary incontinence), or a combination of the two (mixed urinary incontinence). This issue is very common among female athletes. However, because of the reluctance to discuss this problem, it remains underdiagnosed and undertreated.

Methods:An anonymous and confidential survey was distributed to the 90 University of San Francisco female student athletes from seven different varsity sports in December 2017.

Results: The results obtained showed that 50% of the women surveyed had experienced leaking of urine while exercising due to stress urinary incontinence or mixed urinary incontinence. Fourteen out of the 63 women who had experienced symptoms in the past reported an impact on their performance at training or while competing, at least once. Only 14 women had heard about stress urinary incontinence, and only three had discussed the issue with a coach or a healthcare professional.

Pilot project: In order to reduce the stigma around stress urinary incontinence, spread knowledge of the condition, and propose prevention and rehabilitation exercises, small posters were hung in the women’s restrooms and locker rooms in the athletic facility of the University of San Francisco. Subsequently, a public Facebook page was created to reach a larger population with the same messages.

Keywords: Stress Urinary Incontinence, Female Athletes, Rehabilitation, Prevention, Pelvic Floor Muscles, Collegiate, University, Sport, Stigma, Nulliparous