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

Int Urogynecol J. 2010 Apr;21(4):401-8. doi: 10.1007/s00192-009-1046-z. Epub 2010 Jan 22.


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.

Methods: 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 (cmH(2)O). Two questionnaires--pelvic floor distress inventory (PFDI-20) and pelvic floor impact questionnaire (PFIQ-7)--were also collected.

Results: At baseline, the Pilates and PFMT groups measured 14.9 +/- 12.5 and 12.5 +/- 10.4 cmH(2)O, respectively (p = 0.41). Both the Pilates and PFMT groups got stronger (6.2 +/- 7.5 cmH(2)O, p = 0.0002 and 6.6 +/- 7.4 cmH(2)O, p = 0.0002, respectively), with no difference between groups p = 0.85. PFIQ and PFDI scores improved from baseline but not between groups.

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

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise Movement Techniques*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pelvic Floor / physiology*