Physical, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine in the Treatment of Pelvic Floor Disorders

  • Alex Arnouk
  • Elise De
  • Alexandra Rehfuss
  • Carin Cappadocia
  • Samantha Dickson
  • Fei Lian
Female Urology (K Kobashi, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Female Urology


Purpose of Review

The purpose of the study was to catalog the most recent available literature regarding the use of conservative measures in treatment of pelvic floor disorders.

Recent Findings

Pelvic floor disorders encompass abnormalities of urination, defecation, sexual function, pelvic organ prolapse, and chronic pain, and can have significant quality of life implications for patients. Current guidelines recommend behavioral modifications and conservative treatments as first-line therapy for pelvic floor disorders. We have reviewed the literature for articles published on physical, complementary, and alternative treatments for pelvic floor disorders over the past 5 years. Review of pelvic floor muscle physiotherapy (PFMT) and biofeedback (BF) shows a benefit for patients suffering from bladder dysfunction (incontinence, overactive bladder), bowel dysfunction (constipation, fecal incontinence), pelvic organ prolapse, and sexual dysfunction (pelvic pain). Combination of PFMT and BF has shown improved results compared to PFMT alone, and some studies find that electrical stimulation can augment the benefit of BF and PFMT. Additionally, acupuncture and cognitive behavioral therapy has shown to be an effective treatment for pelvic floor disorders, particularly with respect to pelvic pain.


This update highlights beneficial conservative treatments available for pelvic floor dysfunction, and supplements the current literature on treatment options for patients suffering from these disorders.


Biofeedback Pelvic floor dysfunction Incontinence Pelvic floor muscle therapy Pelvic pain Acupuncture 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Alex Arnouk, Elise De, Alexandra Rehfuss, Carin Cappadocia, Samantha Dickson, and Fei Lian each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

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

Supplementary material

11934_2017_694_MOESM1_ESM.mp4 (61.1 mb)
Video 1 Introduction to PFMT (MP4 61.0 MB).
11934_2017_694_MOESM2_ESM.mp4 (229.1 mb)
Video 2 Introduction to Female Pelvic Floor Muscle Exam (MP4 229 MB).
11934_2017_694_MOESM3_ESM.mp4 (284.7 mb)
Video 3 Female Pelvic Floor Muscle Exam (MP4 284 MB).
11934_2017_694_MOESM4_ESM.mp4 (234.7 mb)
Video 4 Sample Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises (MP4 234 MB).


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Arnouk
    • 1
  • Elise De
    • 1
  • Alexandra Rehfuss
    • 1
  • Carin Cappadocia
    • 1
  • Samantha Dickson
    • 1
  • Fei Lian
    • 1
  1. 1.Continence Center, Urological Institute of Northeast New York, Division of UrologyAlbany Medical CollegeAlbanyUSA

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