Finish researchers show that biofeedback training is much more effective than pelvic floor exercises alone for incontinent women.

Aukee P , Immonen P , Penttinen J , Laippala P , Airaksinen O .
Source Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Middle-Finland Central Hospital, Jyväskylä, Finland.

To compare electromyography-assisted biofeedback training to pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) alone in patients with female stress urinary incontinence.


A prospective randomized pilot study was conducted between March 1998 and February 2000 at the university hospital for outpatient care. Participants were women with urodynamically tested stress incontinence aged 31 to 69 years without previous incontinence operations, 30 volunteers altogether. The biofeedback group received an electromyography-guided biofeedback device for home training and the PFMT-alone group trained without any device at home. All patients were advised to practice for 20 minutes per day five times a week for 12 weeks.


According to the data analysis, muscle forces increased significantly in both supine (P <0.001) and standing (P <0.001) positions. In the supine position, the increase was significantly higher in the biofeedback group (P = 0.024). The results showed close to a significant decrease in the leakage index in the biofeedback group (P = 0.068), but in the PFMT-alone group, no change occurred. With respect to the pad test, the decrease was significant, but it was the same for both groups (P = 0.907).


The findings of this study show that pelvic floor muscle activity is increased and the amount of leaked urine is decreased after 3 months of PFMT. These preliminary results show a significant improvement compared with the PFMT-alone group in PFMT outcome measures in patients using electromyography-assisted biofeedback training.