Pelvic floor muscle training is better than hypopressive exercises in pelvic organ prolapse treatment: An assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial

Neurourol Urodyn. 2019 Jan;38(1):171-179. doi: 10.1002/nau.23819. Epub 2018 Oct 12.


Aims: To verify if hypopressive exercises (HEs) can improve pelvic organ prolapse (POP) symptoms equally or better than pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT).

Methods: Randomized controlled trial. Symptomatic women with untreated stage II POP according to the Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification System (POP-Q) having the ability to contract their pelvic floor muscles were invited. The outcome measures were POP symptoms as measured by specific questions and Prolapse Quality of Life (P-QoL); POP severity as measured by POP-Q; and PFM function. Intervention consisted by 12 weeks of PFMT or an HE home exercise program with bimonthly sessions with a physiotherapist. The protocol consisted of three initial sessions to learn how to perform the exercises correctly, followed by 3 months of exercise with monthly progression. Volunteers filled out exercise diaries to record their compliance.

Results: PFMT presented better results in terms of the following symptoms: a bulge/lump from or in the vagina, heaviness or dragging on the lower abdomen, and stress incontinence. PFMT also presented better results regarding the Prolapse impact and role, social and personal limitations of P-QoL. Regarding the total number of symptoms at the end, the PFMT group presented a mean of 1.7 (±1.2), and the HE group presented a mean of 2.8 (±1,1); the effect size was 1.01 in favor of the PFMT group (95%CI = 1.002-1.021).

Conclusion: Both groups exhibited improvements in POP symptoms, quality of life, prolapse severity, and PFM function. PFMT was superior to HE for all outcomes.

Trial registration: NCT01196598.

Keywords: hypopressive exercises; pelvic floor muscle training; pelvic organ prolapse.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Floor*
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / psychology
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / etiology
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / therapy

Associated data