The effect of pelvic floor exercise program on incontinence and sexual dysfunction in multiple sclerosis patients

Abstract

Purpose

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neuroinflammatory disease of the central nervous system that involves different neurological areas. In addition to lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), sexual dysfunction (SD), and psychopathological effects, MS sometimes seriously impairs the quality of life (QoL). We hypothesize that the pelvic floor exercise program (PFEP) could improve bladder, sexual function, depression, and QoL in MS patients.

Methods

Patients diagnosed with MS completed the Incontinence Questionnaire Short Form (ICIQ-SF), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life-54 (MSQoL-54) questionnaire, and either the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) or the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM). Maximum bladder volumes (MBV) and post-voiding residual (PVR) volumes were measured using ultrasonography. The patients who regularly completed the PFEP for 12 weeks were asked to fill out the questionnaires again, and their MBV and PVR were remeasured.

Results

Seventy-two patients with relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) were included in the study. Forty-two (58.3%) RRMS patients reached the end of the study. The patients’ post-PFEP average MBV statistically increased (p = 0.01). In contrast, no statistically significant difference was found in the PVR (p = 0.2). After exercise, the FSFI values in women increased (p = 0.02), and ICIQ-SF and BDI values in all the RRMS patients statistically decreased (p = 0.004, p = 0.01, respectively), but there was no improvement in the MSQoL-54 score (p > 0.05).

Conclusion

PFEP, which causes a reduction in LUTS by enhancing the MBV of RRMS patients, can be seen as an investment in the future in terms of reducing depression in MS patients and preventing or delaying SD in women.

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Funding

The authors did not receive support from any organization for the submitted work.

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Authors

Contributions

BA: project development, data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing. AAG: project development, data collection. TIKO: data collection, manuscript editing. AU: project development, manuscript editing. NT: data collection.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bengu Altunan.

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This work with a smaller number of patients has been presented at the 6th EAN Congress as Virtual Congress, on 23–26 May 2020.

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Altunan, B., Gundogdu, A.A., Ozcaglayan, T.I.K. et al. The effect of pelvic floor exercise program on incontinence and sexual dysfunction in multiple sclerosis patients. Int Urol Nephrol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11255-021-02804-y

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Keywords

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms
  • Sexual function
  • Depression
  • MSQoL-54
  • Pelvic floor exercise program