Monday, October 12th, 2009
US researchers have found that pelvic floor muscle exercises, which are so often recommended for younger women, can also help women in their 70s, 80s and 90s to overcome urinary incontinence.

Urinary incontinence, or loss of bladder control, is an embarrassing problem affecting up to half of older women, and is often a major reason behind nursing home admission. Even women with less severe incontinence often restrict their social activities to avoid the risk of public embarrassment.

"Many treatment options exist, but strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, as our study has shown, can be very effective even for older women, avoiding the need for drugs or more invasive procedures," said study leader Dr. Sheila Dugan from Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago.

The women in the study's treatment group, who were aged from 67 to 95, underwent a supervised chair-based exercise program for six weeks. The program focused on identifying, isolating and strengthening the core muscles of the body, as well as the pelvic floor muscles. In addition to the exercises, the program incorporated education sessions covering basic bladder and pelvic health. The control group received one education session and no training in pelvic exercises.

At the end of the program, 83 percent of the women in the treatment group reported that their continence had improved, whereas there were no significant improvements amongst the control group.

The study has been welcomed by Pelvic Floor Exercise, Australia’s leading source of pelvic floor information and resources.

“We are often contacted by women in their 70s and older, who have a continence problem, but have received no encouragement to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles,” said director Linda McClelland. “They’ve been given the impression that exercise won’t help women of their age, and that their only options are surgery or drugs. It’s good news that simple, low-cost pelvic floor exercises can make a difference for these women.”

Information and resources to help women of all ages to start exercising their pelvic floor muscles are available on the Pelvic Floor Exercise website at, or by calling 1300 76 39 40.

Contact Profile

Pelvic Floor Exercise

The PelvicFloor Exercise website at is a valuable online resource for Australian women (and men) providing a wealth of information on pelvic floor health and strengthening. The site provides extensive research-based information, along with an online store packed with reading materials, DVDs and quality exercise aids that dispel the mystery of how to do effective pelvic floor exercises, allowing women to make informed decisions in the privacy of their own homes.
Linda McClelland
P: 0417 641 697


Pelvic floor exercises have been traditionally been recommended for younger women following pregnancy. But new research shows that they also help elderly women overcome incontinence without invasive and expensive drugs and surgery.


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