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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2012 December;48(4):689-705


lingua: Inglese

Comparisons of approaches to pelvic floor muscle training for urinary incontinence in women: an abridged Cochrane systematic review

Hay-Smith J. 1, Herderschee R. 1, 2, Dumoulin C. 3, Herbison P. 4

1 Rehabilitation Teaching and Research Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand; 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; 3 School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada; 4 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand


Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) is a first-line therapy for women with stress, urgency or mixed urinary incontinence (UI). Supervision and content of PFMT programmes is highly variable. The most effective approach to training is not known. The aim of the review was to compare the effects of different approaches to PFMT for women with UI. This was a systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized or quasi-randomized trials in women with stress, urgency or mixed UI that compared one approach to PFMT with another. The Cochrane Incontinence Group Specialised Trials Register (17 May 2011) was searched. Two reviewers independently assessed trials for eligibility and risk of bias, and extracted data. Data were analyzed as described in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (version 5.2.2). From 574 records we included 21 trials (1490 women randomized) that addressed 11 comparisons. Comparisons made included: differences in training supervision (amount, individual versus group), in approach (one versus another, the effect of an additional component) and the exercise training (type of contraction, frequency of training). There were few trials or data in any comparison. In women with stress UI, 10% who received more health professional contact (weekly or twice-weekly group supervision plus individual appointments) did not report improvement compared to 43% who had individual appointments only (risk ratio for no improvement 0.29, 95% confidence interval 0.15 to 0.55, four trials). While women receiving more contact were more likely to report improvement, the confidence interval was wide, and more than half of “controls” reported improvement. This finding, of subjective improvement in both active treatment groups, with more improvement reported by those receiving more health professional contact, was consistent throughout the review. Considerable caution is needed in interpreting the results of the review. Existing evidence is insufficient to make any strong recommendations about the best approach to PFMT. A consistent pattern of more self-reported improvement with more health professional contact was observed; the few data consistently showed that women receiving regular (e.g. weekly) supervision were more likely to report improvement than women doing PFMT with little or no supervision. The clinical rehabilitation impact is to offer women reasonably frequent health professional contact during supervised PFMT.

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