Effectiveness of multidimensional exercises for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence in elderly community-dwelling Japanese women: a randomized, controlled, crossover trial

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Dec;55(12):1932-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2007.01447.x. Epub 2007 Oct 18.


Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle (PFM) and fitness exercises in reducing urine leakage in elderly women with stress urinary incontinence (UI).

Design: Randomized, crossover, follow-up trial.

Setting: Urban community in Japan.

Participants: Seventy women aged 70 and older who reported urine leakage one or more times per month; 35 were randomly assigned to intervention and the other 35 to control.

Intervention: The intervention group attended an exercise class aimed at enhancing PFMs and fitness. Duration of the exercise was 60 minutes per session twice a week for 3 months. After 3 months of exercise, the intervention group was followed for 1 year.

Measurements: Body mass index (BMI), urine leakage, walking speed, and muscle strength were measured at baseline, after the intervention, and at follow-up.

Results: In the intervention group, maximum walking speed and adductor muscle strength increased significantly after the intervention; there were no significant changes in the control group. After 3 months of exercise, 54.5% of the intervention group and 9.4% of the control group reported being continent. Within the cured group of UI, a significantly higher proportion had decreased their BMI at 3 months (P=.03) and increased walking speed at 3 (P=.04) and 12 (P=.047) months.

Conclusion: Decrease in BMI and increase in walking speed may contribute to the treatment of UI, although the data do not support a positive correlation between strengthening of adductor muscle and improvement of UI, which needs more research.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anthropometry
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Japan
  • Pelvic Floor / physiology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / therapy*