Pelvic floor muscle training in the prevention and treatment of urinary incontinence in women – what is the evidence?

Authors


: Søren Brostrøm, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Glostrup Hospital, DK-2600, Glostrup, Denmark. E-mail: soren@brostrom.dk

Abstract

Many women suffer from urinary incontinence (UI). During and after pregnancy, women are advised to perform pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) to prevent the development of UI. In established UI, PFMT is prescribed routinely as first-line treatment. Published studies are small, underpowered and of uneven methodological quality. Variations in study populations, intervention types and outcome measures make comparisons difficult. While further studies are needed, the available evidence suggests a lack of long-term efficacy of peripartum PFMT. In established UI, there seems to be a modest immediate response to PFMT. Based on the available evidence, we believe that a critical reappraisal of PFMT is needed, and judgments on the place of PFMT in current clinical practice should be reserved until further evidence, including cost-benefit analyses, has unequivocally demonstrated a clinically relevant efficacy.

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