The challenge is that several studies have shown more than 30% of

The challenge is that several studies have shown more than 30% of women with pelvic floor dysfunction are not able to contract the pelvic floor muscles correctly even after thorough individual teaching and feedback (Benvenuti et al 1987, Bump et al 1991, Bø et al 1988). The most common errors

are to bear down or to use hip adductor, gluteal, or abdominal muscles instead of the pelvic floor find more muscles (Bump et al 1991, Bø et al 1988). Group Libraries training of pelvic floor muscles has been shown in several randomised controlled trials to be effective, but these programs included individual instruction and feedback of the contraction (Bø et al 1990, Bø et al 1999, Mørkved and Bø 1997, Mørkved et al 2003). It is not yet known whether it is possible to teach Selleckchem Alpelisib women participating in a general group-based exercise class to contract the pelvic floor muscles. Culligan et al (2010) concluded, on the basis of their finding that Pilates training produced similar strength gains to pelvic floor muscle

training, that their results may ‘lead to widespread use of Pilates-based exercise programs to treat and prevent pelvic floor dysfunction’. In our opinion that conclusion is premature because no randomised trials have demonstrated benefical effects of Pilates exercise on clinically important outcomes (continence) in a sample of incontinent women. Indeed, observational data suggest that this is not the case: a study on group fitness instructors showed that the prevalence of incontinence was the same amongst female yoga and Pilates instructors as in the general population, suggesting that the exercises did not provide a beneficial effect (Bø et al 2011). The suggestion of an association or causal link between breathing, posture, and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction should

be tested in case-control or cohort studies with blinded assessors. A large cross-sectional study found associations between incontinence, enough low back pain, and respiratory disease (Smith et al 2006), but it is quite possible the associations were confounded, so that while participants had multiple complaints at the same time the conditions were not causally related. Cross-sectional studies usually provide weak evidence of causality. There are two contradictory hypotheses on the effect of general exercise on the pelvic floor, previously described by Bø (2004). One hypothesis holds that general exercise makes pelvic floor muscles co-contract, and thus strengthens pelvic floor muscles and prevents stress urinary incontinence. The other hypothesis is that repetitive or heavy impact on the pelvic floor, such as is caused by heavy lifting or marathon running, may fatigue, stretch, and weaken the muscles.

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