Initial management of stress urinary incontinence: pelvic floor muscle training and duloxetine


Dr R Freeman, Urogynaecology Unit, Directorate of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Derriford Hospital, Derriford Road, Plymouth, Devon PL6 8DH, UK. Email


Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is common among women of all ages and can have a negative impact on quality of life (QoL). Often, women refrain from seeking treatment due to the fear that surgery might be the only option, or that no other treatments exist. SUI symptoms can often be treated with simple measures such as pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT), weight loss, devices, etc. However, PFMT has low compliance rates, and few continue long term. More recently, another treatment option has been introduced, i.e. the relatively balanced serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) duloxetine. PFMT and/or SNRI are recommended as a first-line therapy for the initial management of SUI in women in the guidelines of the third International Consultation on Incontinence. SNRI have received a grade A recommendation. As PFMT and duloxetine target different areas (i.e. pelvic floor muscle and distal urethral sphincter/rhabdosphincter, respectively), combined therapy might provide additional benefit. A recent study comparing the effect of combined treatment with no active treatment found that combination therapy was significantly better for all outcomes, including frequency of SUI episodes, pad use, improvements in QoL and global impression of improvement scores. The data suggest that combination therapy might provide another treatment option for SUI symptoms in women.