A meta-analysis of pelvic floor muscle training for the treatment of urinary incontinence

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2017 Sep;138(3):250-255. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.12232. Epub 2017 Jul 6.


Background: Symptoms associated with urinary incontinence (UI) frequently affect quality of life.

Objectives: To assess the effects of pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) among women with UI.

Search strategy: The Cochrane Library, PubMed, and Web of Science databases were searched using relevant terms for all English-language studies published up to August 15, 2016.

Selection criteria: Studies that evaluated the effects of PFMT on UI symptoms, PFM function, and quality of life were included.

Data collection and analysis: Data were screened and collected by two independent investigators. Pooled effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Main results: Twelve studies were included, involving 763 patients. Use of PFMT increased PFM strength when measured by digital palpation and the Muscle Strength Oxford Scale (standardized mean difference [SMD] 1.18, 95% CI 0.56-1.80). The PFM pressure was increased by PFMT when measured using a perineometer (SMD 0.40, 95% CI 0.07-0.73). Finally, PFMT improved quality of life (SMD 1.67, 95% CI 0.41-2.94).

Conclusions: Regular use of PFMT provided symptom relief and improved quality of life among women with UI.

Keywords: Meta-analysis; Pelvic floor muscle training; Pelvic floor muscles; Quality of life; Stress urinary incontinence; Urgency urinary incontinence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Floor / physiology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Urinary Incontinence / psychology
  • Urinary Incontinence / rehabilitation*