Effect of electromyographic biofeedback as an add-on to pelvic floor muscle exercises on neuromuscular outcomes and quality of life in postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence: A randomized controlled trial

To compare the efficacy of pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFME) with and without electromyographic biofeedback (BF) in increasing muscle strength, improving myoelectric activity, and improving pre-contraction and quality of life in postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence.

Randomized controlled trial of 49 postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence. Participants were allocated across three groups: control, PFME alone, and PFME + BF. Forty-five women completed the study (14 control, 15 PFME, 16 PFME + BF; mean age 58.26 years). Outcome assessment was carried out using digital palpation (modified Oxford grading scale), electromyography, and the International Consultation Incontinence Questionnaire-Short Form (ICIQ-SF) quality of life instrument. The treatment protocol consisted of eight twice-weekly, 20-min one-on-one sessions. Controls were assessed only at baseline and after 1 month.

The PFME and PFME + BF groups exhibited significant increases in muscle strength (Oxford scale) (P < 0.0001), precontraction while coughing (P < 0.0001), maximum voluntary contraction, duration of endurance contraction, and ICIQ-SF scores (P < 0.0001). PFME + BF was associated with significantly superior improvement of muscle strength, precontraction while coughing, maximum voluntary contraction, and duration of endurance contraction as compared to PFME alone (P < 0.05).

This preliminary study suggests that pelvic floor muscle training, with and without biofeedback, is associated with increased muscle strength, myoelectric activity, precontraction of pelvic floor muscles, and improved quality of life in postmenopausal women with stress urinary incontinence.

Neurourology and urodynamics. 2017 May 16 [Epub ahead of print]

Adriane Bertotto, Renata Schvartzman, Silvana Uchôa, Maria Celeste Osório Wender

Graduate Program in Medical Sciences, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil., Department of Physical Therapy, Universidade Católica de Pernambuco (UNICAP), Recife, PE, Brazil.

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