Treatment of stress urinary incontinence with a mobile app: factors associated with success

Int Urogynecol J. 2018 Sep;29(9):1325-1333. doi: 10.1007/s00192-017-3514-1. Epub 2017 Dec 8.


Introduction and hypothesis: Stress urinary incontinence is common among women. First-line treatment includes pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) and lifestyle advice, which can be provided via a mobile app. The efficacy of app-based treatment has been demonstrated in a randomized controlled trial (RCT). In this study, we aimed to analyze factors associated with successful treatment.

Methods: Secondary analysis of data from the RCT. At baseline and 3-month follow-up, participants (n = 61) answered questions about symptoms, quality of life, background, and PFMT. Success was defined as rating the condition as much or very much better according to the validated Patient Global Impression of Improvement questionnaire. Factors possibly associated with success were analyzed with univariate logistic regression; if p < 0.20, the factor was entered into a multivariate model that was adjusted for age. Variables were then removed stepwise.

Results: At follow-up, 34 out of 61 (56%) of participants stated that their condition was much or very much better. Three factors were significantly associated with success: higher expectations for treatment (odds ratio [OR] 11.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.02-64.19), weight control (OR 0.44 per kg gained, 95% CI 0.25-0.79), and self-rated improvement of pelvic floor muscle strength (OR 35.54, 95% CI 4.96-254.61). Together, these factors accounted for 61.4% (Nagelkerke R2) of the variability in success.

Conclusion: These results indicate that app-based treatment effects are better in women who are interested in and have high expectations of such treatment. Also, the findings underline the importance of strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and offering lifestyle advice.

Keywords: Mobile applications; Pelvic floor muscle training; Self-management; Stress urinary incontinence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pelvic Floor
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Sweden
  • Telemedicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / psychology*
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / therapy*