(HealthDay News) — Female triathletes frequently have pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) and screen positive for at least one component of the female athlete triad (Triad), according to a study presented at the American Urogynecologic Society and the International Urogynecological Association 2014 Scientific Meeting, held from July 22–26 in Washington, D.C.

Johnny Yi, MD, from the Loyola University Health System in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a nationwide web-based survey of female triathletes aged >18 years. There were 311 respondents from seven regions of the United States. Validated questionnaires were used to estimate the prevalence of PFDs, pelvic girdle pain (PGP), and the Triad.

The researchers found that 16 and 37.4% of respondents experienced urgency urinary incontinence and stress urinary incontinence, respectively, while 5% experienced pelvic organ prolapse and 37% anal incontinence. Eighteen percent of respondents had PGP, with higher levels for those with stress urinary incontinence, urgency urinary incontinence, and anal incontinence. Twenty-two percent of the respondents who completed the Triad questionnaire screened positive for low energy availability; 24% for menstrual irregularities; and 29% for abnormal bone strength. Overall, 24% screened positive for one component of the Triad. No significant association was seen for PFDs and the Triad.

“Doctors should be aware of how common these conditions are in this group of athletes and treat patients appropriately to avoid long-term health consequences,” Yi said in a statement.

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