To determine knowledge, prior instruction, frequency of performance, and ability to correctly perform pelvic muscle exercises (PMEs) in a group of asymptomatic women.
One hundred and twenty women without complaints of pelvic prolapse or incontinence presenting for routine gynecologic examination were questioned concerning knowledge and performance of pelvic muscle exercises. Patients were examined to determine their ability to perform appropriate pelvic muscle contractions.
The majority of women (94/120; 77%) stated that they had heard of pelvic muscle exercises, most commonly from a nonmedical source. Forty-four (36%) women stated that they had been instructed to perform PMEs, and 42 (96%) of these stated that they had received verbal instruction only. Thirty-four (28%) women stated that they currently perform PMEs, but the majority (23/34–67%) reported performing exercises only occasionally (less frequently than weekly) or rarely. Eighty-two (68%) women were able to perform adequate pelvic muscle contraction when examined.
The majority of women have heard of pelvic muscle exercises but do not perform them. One-third of women had been instructed to perform PMEs, almost exclusively with verbal instruction only. Two-thirds of women were able to perform adequate contractions, but one-third were not. Opportunity exists to increase the use of PMEs, but patients should be examined to assure they have the ability to perform adequate contractions prior to initiating an exercise program.
Most women are familiar with pelvic muscle exercises but do not perform them. When tested, one-third of women were unable to perform appropriate pelvic muscle contractions.
From the *Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Illinois; and †Illinois Urogynecology, Ltd, Park Ridge, Illinois.
Reprints: Michael Moen, MD, Director Urogynecology, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, 1775 Dempster St., Park Ridge, IL. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.