Pre-participation gynecological evaluation of female athletes: a new proposal
To propose the inclusion of a gynecological investigation during the evaluation of athletes before competitions, using a specific instrument called the Pre-participation Gynecological Examination (PPGE).
The study assessed 148 athletes, mean age of 15.4±2.0 years, who engaged in eight different sports modalities, and who responded to a questionnaire named Pre-Participation Gynecological Examination (PPGE), to the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire – Short Form (for urinary loss), and to the Eating Attitudes Test (for eating disorders).
Fifty percent of the participants reported irregular menstrual intervals, 23.0% did not know about sexually transmitted diseases, and 72.4% denied having, at least, an annual gynecological appointment. The study identified 18.2% who had urinary loss, and 15% presented with an increased risk of eating disorders. Moreover, 89.9% were not familiar with the occurrence of urinary incontinence in athletes and did not know that they were susceptible to the female athlete triad. A total of 87.1% of them stated that would not mention these issues to their coaches even if this would improve their health or performance.Conclusion The Pre-Participation Gynecological Examination can be considered an easy-to-apply instrument that allowed the diagnosis of alterations often underestimated by the athletes themselves. After its application, the alterations were identified, and determined the athletes’ referral to appropriate evaluation and treatment.