Review Article

International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 44-51

First online:

Pelvic floor exercises for female stress urinary incontinence

  • L. MouritsenAffiliated withDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, KAS Gentofte

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Urinary continence is maintained by passive and active forces at the bladder neck and along the urethra. Pelvic floor exercises can improve these forces, provided there is sufficient muscular awareness, nerve supply and intact muscles. Instructions in the exercises must include a test for correct muscle use. Biofeedback methods seem superior. Patients must attend intensive repeated instruction for 2–3 months and perform daily exercises at home. All patients can benefit from pelvic floor exercises, but to save money and time various scoring systems, including grade of incontinence, menopausal state and pelvic muscle strength can be applied. Patients with mild incontinence and a strong pelvic floor prior to exercises have the best prognosis. Long-term follow-up after exercises shows a cure rate of 50% for stress incontinence, but this depends on the continuation rate of exercise performance. A sustained effect demands continuous or repeated exercises and attempts to protect the pelvic floor.


Long-term follow-up Patient selection Pelvic floor exercises Stress urinary incontinence