Original Article

International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 257-264

First online:

A randomized controlled trial of pelvic floor muscle exercises to treat postnatal urinary incontinence

  • P. D. WilsonAffiliated withDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago
  • , G. P. HerbisonAffiliated withDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago

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Abstract

A randomized controlled trial was carried out to evaluate the extent to which a program of reinforced pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFME) reduces urinary incontinence 1 year after delivery. Two hundred and thirty women who were incontinent 3 months postpartum were randomized to either a control group doing standard postnatal pelvic floor muscle exercises (n=117) or to an intervention group (n=113) who saw a physiotherapist for instruction at approximately 3, 4, 6 and 9 months postpartum. Results collected 12 months after delivery included prevalence and frequency of incontinence and PFME, sexual satisfaction, perineometry measurements and pad tests. Twenty-six (22%) of the control group and 59 (52%) of the intervention group withdrew before the final assessment. The prevalence of incontinence was significantly less in the intervention group than in the control group (50% versus 76%,P=0.0003), and this group also did significantly more PFME. There were no significant differences between the groups as regards sexual satisfaction, perineometry measurements or pad test results.

Keywords

Conservative treatment Pelvic floor muscle exercises Postnatal urinary incontinence Randomized controlled trial