BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE
Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction (PFMD) is the broad term used to describe a number of disorders in pelvic health. While the mechanisms of PFMD are complex and variable, one common intervention is pelvic floor muscle training, or ‘Kegel’ exercises. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of obturator internus strengthening on the muscle strength (peak squeeze pressure) of the pelvic floor and on hip external rotation strength. It was hypothesized that the exercise group would have increased pelvic floor muscle strength compared with the control group after a 12-week hip strengthening intervention.
This randomized control trial included 40 nulliparous women with no diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction. Information gathered at baseline included Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory (PFDI-20), vaginal muscle squeeze and hip external rotation strength. The control group (n=20) was told to continue their normal activities, without the addition of any new exercises for the 12 weeks. The intervention group (n=20) was assigned 3 exercises to perform 3 times per week for 12 weeks. The exercises were clamshells, isometric hip external rotation, and ‘monster walk’. Each exercise was to be performed 3 x 10.
All 40 participants completed the study. At the end of 12 weeks, the exercise group displayed an increase in pelvic floor muscle strength based on vaginal peak pressure measures and an increase in hip external rotation strength. It was noted