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Update on Behavioral and Physical Therapies for Incontinence and Overactive Bladder: The Role of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training

Abstract

Behavioral and physical therapies have been used for many years to treat incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB). This paper focuses on programs that include pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) as a component in treatment for women or men. PFMT was long used almost exclusively for treatment of stress incontinence. When it became evident that voluntary pelvic floor muscle contraction can be used to control bladder function, PFMT was also integrated into the treatment of urge incontinence and OAB as part of a broader behavioral urge suppression strategy. PFMT has evolved over decades, both as a behavioral therapy and a physical therapy, combining principles from behavioral science, nursing, and muscle physiology into a widely recommended conservative treatment. The collective literature indicates that PFMT is effective for incontinence, as well as urgency, frequency, and nocturia. It can be combined with all other treatment modalities and holds potential for prevention of bladder symptoms.

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Dr. Kathryn L. Burgio reported receiving consultancy, grants/grants pending, and travel/accommodations expenses covered or reimbursed by Pfizer.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Burgio, K.L. Update on Behavioral and Physical Therapies for Incontinence and Overactive Bladder: The Role of Pelvic Floor Muscle Training. Curr Urol Rep 14, 457–464 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11934-013-0358-1

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Keywords

  • Pelvic floor muscle training
  • Behavioral treatment
  • Physical therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Behavioral medicine
  • Combination therapy
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Overactive bladder
  • Pelvic floor disorders
  • Urgency
  • Urinary frequency
  • Nocturia
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms