The efficacy of pelvic floor muscle training for pelvic organ prolapse: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Int Urogynecol J. 2016 Jul;27(7):981-92. doi: 10.1007/s00192-015-2846-y. Epub 2015 Sep 25.


Introduction and hypothesis: Our objective was to assess the effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) as a treatment for women with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or as an adjunct to prolapse surgery.

Methods: Relevant literature sources were searched using databases including PubMed, Ovid, Web of Science, Scopus,, EBSCO, CINAHL, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, CNKI, VIP, Wanfang, and CBM until 5 July 2015. Eligible studies were restricted to randomized controlled trials (RCT). The available data were pooled using Review Manager version 5.2. For data deemed not appropriate for synthesis, a narrative overview was conducted.

Results: In total, 13 studies with 2,340 patients were included. Our results indicated women receiving PFMT gained a greater improvement than controls in prolapse symptom score [mean difference (MD) -3.07, 95 % confidence interval (CI) -3.91 to -2.23] and POP stages [risk ratio (RR) 1.70, 95 % CI 1.19-2.44]. The number of women who said their prolapse was getting better was higher (RR 5.48, 95 % CI 2.19-13.72) and other discomfort syndromes, such as vaginal, bladder, and rectum, were lower in the PFMT groups than in controls. Meanwhile, women after PFMT had greater improvement in muscle strength and endurance but did not show a significant difference for further treatment needs. In addition, the results evaluating PFMT as an adjunct to prolapse surgery were inconclusive because of the variability in methods of measuring outcome.

Conclusions: Our meta-analysis demonstrated women who received PFMT showed a greater subjective improvement in prolapse symptoms and an objective improvement in POP severity.

Keywords: Conservative treatment; Meta-analysis; Pelvic floor muscle training; Pelvic organ prolapse.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / therapy*