Individual and group pelvic floor muscle training versus no treatment in female stress urinary incontinence: a randomized controlled pilot study

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2011 Dec;159(2):465-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Oct 1.


Objective: To compare the effects of pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) performed during group treatment sessions (GT) and individual treatment sessions (IT) to a control group (CG) of women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

Hypothesis: The group treatment sessions would have better effects compared to individual treatment sessions.

Study design: This randomized controlled pilot study included women aged over 18 years, who complained of urinary leakage on stress and who had not undergone physical therapy for SUI before. Forty-nine women were randomly allocated to the PFMT in group treatment session (GT) (n=17), PFMT in individual treatment session (IT) (n=17) and control group (CG) (n=15). The study was carried out in an outpatient physical therapy department in São Carlos, Brazil. Subjects on intervention groups were treated with the same PFMT protocol for 6 weeks, with two 1-h weekly sessions. The GT group carried out the PFMT in group treatment session and IT group in individual treatment session. The CG did not receive any treatment during the corresponding time. They were evaluated before and after treatment for primary outcome, urinary loss, and secondary outcomes, King's Health Questionnaire, pressure perineometry, pelvic floor muscle strength by digital palpation and subjective satisfaction. Participants, evaluator and the physical therapist were not blinded. Forty-five women completed the study and were included in the analysis. The statistical analysis was performed using Wilcoxon test for intragroup analysis and Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney test for intergroup analysis (p<0.05).

Results: In intragroup analysis, there was a significant reduction in urinary loss measured by pad test only in the IT group. For primary outcome, there was a significant difference only after treatment between GT and CG (p<0.0001; effect size -0.91; 95% confidence interval from 0.56 to 5.80) as well as between IT and CG (p<0.0001; effect size -0.90; 95% confidence interval from 0.54 to 5.84). There were differences after treatment in GT and IT groups for secondary outcomes: perineometry, muscle strength and in the domains of the quality of life questionnaire. For the CG group, there were not significant differences in any variables. In intergroup analysis for all variables, there were no differences between GT and IT groups. The two treated groups had similar subjective satisfaction (86%). There were no complaints of adverse effects due to treatment from either group.

Conclusion: The results indicated similar improvement in clinical variables and in satisfaction with the treatment between IT and GT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brazil
  • Exercise Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Exercise Therapy* / psychology
  • Female
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / psychology
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / therapy*
  • Urination