Design of programs to train pelvic floor muscles in men with urinary dysfunction: Systematic review

Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) is a first line conservative treatment for men with urinary dysfunction, but reports of its efficacy are variable. This study aimed to systematically review the content of PFMT programs used for urinary dysfunction in men.

Electronic databases (PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, Cochrane, PEDro) were searched for studies that used PFMT in the treatment of adult men with urinary dysfunction. Details of PFMT treatment sessions and home exercise protocols were extracted. Criteria specific to PFMT were developed, based on the Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template, and applied to all studies to measure the comprehensiveness of the PFMT description in the manuscript.

Results from the 108 included studies indicate substantial heterogeneity in both the content of PFMT and the quality of reporting of the components of the exercise regimes. There was notable disparity in the muscles targeted by the interventions (and few focused on urethral control despite the use in management of urinary conditions) and the intensity of the programs (eg, 18-240 contractions per day). Most studies were missing key details of description of the PFMT programs (eg, the position in which the pelvic floor muscle [PFM] contraction was taught and how it was assessed, methods used to ensure exercise adherence).

Variation in content of PFMT programs is likely to contribute to variation in the reported efficacy for management of urinary dysfunction in men, and unclear description of the details of the evaluated programs makes it difficult to identify the effective/ineffective components. PROSPERO registration number CRD42017071038.

Neurourology and urodynamics. 2018 Apr 24 [Epub ahead of print]

Leanne M Hall, Rafeef Aljuraifani, Paul W Hodges

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.