International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 401–408 | Cite as

A randomized clinical trial comparing pelvic floor muscle training to a Pilates exercise program for improving pelvic muscle strength

  • Patrick J. CulliganEmail author
  • Janet Scherer
  • Keisha Dyer
  • Jennifer L. Priestley
  • Geri Guingon-White
  • Donna Delvecchio
  • Margi Vangeli
Original Article


Introduction and hypothesis

The purpose of this study is to determine whether a Pilates exercise program and a pelvic floor muscle-training (PFMT) program could provide similar improvements in pelvic muscle strength.


Sixty-two women with little or no pelvic floor dysfunction were randomized to Pilates or PFMT. Each group had 24 biweekly 1-h sessions with either a physical therapist or Pilates instructor. Strength was measured via perineometry (cmH2O). Two questionnaires—pelvic floor distress inventory (PFDI-20) and pelvic floor impact questionnaire (PFIQ-7)—were also collected.


At baseline, the Pilates and PFMT groups measured 14.9 ± 12.5 and 12.5 ± 10.4 cmH2O, respectively (p = 0.41). Both the Pilates and PFMT groups got stronger (6.2 ± 7.5 cmH2O, p = 0.0002 and 6.6 ± 7.4 cmH2O, p = 0.0002, respectively), with no difference between groups p = 0.85. PFIQ and PFDI scores improved from baseline but not between groups.


Further study is required to determine if Pilates can actually treat pelvic floor dysfunction.


Pelvic floor muscle training Kegels Pilates Perineometry 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick J. Culligan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Janet Scherer
    • 1
  • Keisha Dyer
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. Priestley
    • 2
  • Geri Guingon-White
    • 3
  • Donna Delvecchio
    • 3
  • Margi Vangeli
    • 4
  1. 1.Atlantic Health Division of UrogynecologyMorristownUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsKennesaw State UniversityKennesawUSA
  3. 3.Atlantic Rehab GroupMorristownUSA
  4. 4.Bodies in Balance Pilates StudioMadisonUSA

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