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Pelvic Floor Muscle Therapy (PFMT) or Kegels

Pelvic floor muscle therapy is effective and can help millions.

•  A study by Bo et al showed that over 30% of women are unable to voluntarily contract the pelvic floor muscles at their first consultation even after thorough individual instruction.1

•  In a study by Neumann et al, incontinent episodes were reduced from 5 times a week to zero after pelvic floor muscle therapy, and to 1 per week after 1 year.2

•  This same study by Neumann et al showed that one year after pelvic floor muscle therapy, 80% had positive outcomes on all outcome measures (stress test, 7-day diary of incontinent episodes, and condition-specific QoL questionnaire).2

•  Pelvic floor muscle therapy is effective treatment for stress urinary incontinence with cure rates up to 73% and cure/improvement rates up to 97%.3


1 Bo K., Larsen S., Oseid S. et al: Knowledge About and the Ability to Correct Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises in Women with Stress Urinary Incontinence. Neurology and Urodynamics 1988;7(3):261-262.

2 Neumann P.B., Grimmer K.A., Grant R.E. et al: Physiotherapy for Female Stress Urinary Incontinence. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol 2005 Jun;45(3):226-32.

3 Neumann P.B., Grimmer K.A., Deenadayalan Y: Pelvic Floor Muscle Therapy and Adjunctive Therapies for the Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women: A Systematic Review. BMC Women’s Health 2006 Jun 28;6:11.

Urinary Incontinence

The statistics on urinary incontinence (UI) are shocking.

• UI affects 200 million people worldwide.1       

• UI affects up to 50% of women, resulting in substantial medical, social, and economic burdens. 2  

• The prevalence of severe stress urinary incontinence (SUI), defined as large amounts of urine leaking weekly, affects approximately 29% of women aged 25-44 years, 33% of women aged 45-60 years, and 86% of women over age 60 years. 3  

• Recent studies confirm earlier findings that the majority of the patients never talk about their problem. Only 25–33% of the women afflicted look for help. 4  

• On average, women wait 6.5 years from the first time they experience symptoms until they obtain a diagnosis for their bladder control problem(s).5  

• Two-thirds of individuals who experience loss of bladder control symptoms do not use any treatment or product to manage their incontinence. 5   

• UI is a stigmatized, underreported, under-diagnosed, under-treated condition that is erroneously thought to be a normal part of aging. One-third of men and women ages 30-70 believe that incontinence is a part of aging to accept.5    

• Recent surveys of white-collar women, female army service members, public school teachers and athletes demonstrate that a relatively high proportion (21-33%) suffer from incontinence, with the potential to significantly impact their work productivity.6   

• The estimated societal cost of UI is $19.5 billion dollars.7   

• For women, the largest cost category was routine care (70% of total costs), followed by nursing home admissions (14%), treatments (9%), complications (6%), and diagnosis and evaluations (1%). 8    

• UI also contributes to caregiver burden and in one study was rated as the third most troublesome caregiving task. 9    

• Women suffering from SUI may feel less attractive, be less sexually active and have low self-esteem. Other consequences include anxiety and depression. Nygaard et al. reported that severely incontinent women are 80% more likely to suffer depression whereas women affected by moderate incontinence have a 40% higher risk for depression than continent women.4     


1 Vulker R.: International Group Seeks to Dispel Incontinence “Taboo”. JAMA, 1998, No. 11:951-53.

2 Richter H.E., Albo M.E., Zyczynski H.M., et al: Retropubic vs. Transobturator Midurethral Slings for Stress Incontinence. N Engl J Med. 2010 Jun 3;362(22), 2066-2076.

3 Ramsden M., Williams E., Siegel S.: Female Stress Urinary Incontinence: Office-based Urethral Bulking Agent Procedure. Urol Nurs.2010;30(5):297-305.

4 Contreras O.O.: Stress Urinary Incontinence in the Gynecological Practice. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2004 Jul;86 Suppl 1:S6-16.

5 Muller N.: What Americans Understand and How They are Affected by Bladder Control Problems: Highlights of Recent Nationwide Consumer Research. Urol Nurs. 2005:25(2):109-115.

6 Bitker M., Hu T., Moore K., et al. “Ch. 14: Economics of Incontinence.” Incontinence. 2002 ed. Vol.2.Bristol:International Continence Society, 2002.977.

7 Giovanni A., Bartoli S., Tarricone R.: Systematic Review of Urinary Incontinence and Overactive Bladder Cost-of-Illness Studies. Open Pharmacoeconomics Health Econ J 2(2010):11-24.

8 Wilson L., Brown J.S., Shin G.P., et al.: Annual Direct Cost of Urinary Incontinence. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 98(3):398-406.

9 Colling J, Owen T.R., McCreedy M., et al:The Effects of a Continence Program of Frail Community Dwelling Elderly Persons. Urol Nurs 2003 Apr;23(2):117-22, 127-31.