Short-term effect of adding pelvic floor muscle training to bladder training for female urinary incontinence

The objective of this study was to assess whether bladder training (BT) combined with high-intensity pelvic floor muscle training (BT + PFMT) results in superior outcomes in the short term than BT alone on female urinary incontinence (UI). 108 women with diagnoses of stress UI (SUI, n = 50), urgency UI (UUI, n = 16), or mixed UI (MUI, n = 42) were randomly assigned to 6 weeks of BT + PFMT or BT alone (control group). The primary outcome measure was self-reported improvement. Secondary outcome measures were UI severity, symptom distress, quality of life (QOL), mean number of UI episodes and micturitions per day, and pelvic floor muscle strength and endurance (PFME). Overall and in the SUI and MUI subgroups, significantly more patients in the BT + PFMT group reported cured and improved symptoms. Overall and in SUI patients, the BT + PFMT group also improved to significantly higher degree in UI severity, symptom distress, QOL, daily UI episodes, and PFME. The only parameter displaying more improvement in patients with UUI was QOL, and UI severity in patients with MUI (p  0.05).

High-intensity PFMT combined with BT is more effective than BT alone in the short term for treating UI or SUI. It appears that the combination therapy may also result in greater benefits for patients with UUI and MUI. Based on the results of this study, further studies with larger sample sizes (for UUI) and long-term follow-ups are called for.