Common cultural narratives typically characterize bladder leaks as a condition that only impacts people in their later years, postpartum, menopause, or beyond. The research, however, tells a different story.
A study published in 2021* looked at the data from nine different studies focused on urinary incontinence in female athletes under the age of 19. It found that roughly 49 percent of female adolescent athletes experienced urinary incontinence. It's distressing enough to think that this many young athletes are experiencing bladder leaks. It's worse when you realize that 87 percent of them will not mention it to their coaches.
Supporting the young women in our lives.
As a community dedicated to supporting women living with urinary incontinence, we wanted to share this research with you so that, if you have the chance to talk to a young woman in your life that may be struggling with this issue in silence, that we do so, supporting them (or their grown ups) them in their journeys.
Start with simply asking.
Not surprisingly, most teen athletes struggling with leaking are too embarrassed to tell their coaches or parents. Checking in with them without judgment can help to normalize the experience and let the teen in your life know you're there to help and that they're not alone.
Treatment is available.
Working with a pelvic floor physical therapist can often make a world of difference when it comes to bladder leaks (for teens or adults!). Feel free to refer to our Specialist Directory to help your loved ones find and explore options near them.
*Rebullido TR, Gómez-Tomás C, Faigenbaum AD, Chulvi-Medrano I. The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence among Adolescent Female Athletes: A Systematic Review. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology. 2021; 6(1):12.