Muscle Training Can Help Leaky Bladder

Published Online: Saturday, January 1, 2005

Strengthening the bladder muscles may be an effective treatment for at least half of women with the most common type of incontinence? stress urinary incontinence (SUI). This form of incontinence causes leakage of urine when sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercise puts pressure on the bladder. The study involved 447 women between the ages of 26 and 80 years old. The purpose of the study was to examine which patient characteristics predicted whether muscle training would be effective for SUI.

For the study, the women received individual muscle training from the same physiotherapist. The women attended twice-weekly 30- minute sessions for 10 weeks. The results of the study showed that 49% of the women considered their treatment successful. They completed an average of 11 training sessions. On the other hand, 51% experienced only some improvement, no change, or a worsening of their condition.

Reporting in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (November 2004), the researchers said that predictors that muscle training would not work included 2 or more leakages per day prior to treatment, long-term use of psychiatric drugs, and leaking at first cough. If all 3 predictors were present, there was only a 15% chance of successful treatment.

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