1. Matzo, Marianne PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN

Article Content

It appears to work for urinary incontinence in women.


Urinary incontinence is more common among women (affecting an estimated 10% to 40%). Its prevalence peaks in mid-life (50 to 54 years of age), then slightly declines or stabilizes until age 70, after which it steadily rises. The two most common types of incontinence in women are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. A recommended treatment for either type&-or for "mixed" incontinence, combining both&-is pelvic floor muscle training. This systematic review was intended to determine whether the training is more effective than no treatment, than placebo or sham treatments, or than other inactive control treatments.


The authors reviewed 13 trials (involving 714 women), but analyzed only six (involving 403 women). Variations in design and methodology among the studies rendered interpretation difficult. The findings indicate that more women reported either improvement or cure of any type of urinary incontinence&-and also one fewer incontinence episode daily&-with the use of pelvic floor muscle training. Most women reported no serious adverse effects of the treatment.


The crux of the matter. Pelvic floor muscle training is effective in the treatment of stress, urge, and mixed urinary incontinence in women. Those who report the most favorable effect are younger (in their 40s and 50s, when stress incontinence alone is more common) and have trained in the use of the exercises for at least three months.


Hay-Smith EJC, Dumoulin C. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006(1):CD005654.