International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 901–911 | Cite as

Postural activity of the pelvic floor muscles is delayed during rapid arm movements in women with stress urinary incontinence

  • Michelle D. Smith
  • Michel W. Coppieters
  • Paul W. Hodges
Original Article


The aim of this study was to determine whether postural activity of the pelvic floor (PF) and abdominal muscles differs between continent and incontinent women during rapid arm movements that present a postural challenge to the trunk. A further aim was to study the effect of bladder filling. Electromyographic activity (EMG) of the PF, abdominal, erector spinae (ES), and deltoid muscles was recorded with surface electrodes. During rapid shoulder flexion and extension, PF EMG increased before that of the deltoid in continent women, but after the deltoid in incontinent women (p = 0.002). In many incontinent women, PF EMG decreased before the postural activation. Although delayed, postural PF EMG amplitude was greater in women with incontinence (p = 0.010). In both groups, PF EMG decreased and abdominal and ES EMG increased when the bladder was moderately full. These findings would be expected to have negative consequences for continence and lumbopelvic stability in women with incontinence.


Electromyography Postural control Bladder fullness 



This research was supported by participants from the 50+ Registry of the Australasian Centre on Ageing at The University of Queensland, and the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.


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Copyright information

© International Urogynecology Journal 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle D. Smith
    • 1
  • Michel W. Coppieters
    • 1
  • Paul W. Hodges
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation SciencesThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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