LITERATURE REVIEW Does pelvic floor muscle training improve symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse for women? A review of the evidence and reflection on the physiotherapist’s role
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) affects more than 30% of the general female population. While physiotherapy treatment, especially pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT), is well established as a key part of the management strategy for this condition, there are inconsistencies with regard to its pathway across the UK. Furthermore, it is well established that management of POP is directed by the patient’s symptoms; however, to the authors’ knowledge, there has not been a review of the literature that specifically uses symptom-based outcomes. The aim of this paper is to: (1) critically review the available literature in order to determine if PFMT is effective in improving the symptoms of women with POP; and (2) consider the impact that this may have on managing patients with POP, and the role of physiotherapy within the management pathway. The review found a moderate body of good evidence supporting the role of PFMT in the management of the symptoms of POP. It also supported physiotherapy as a first-line management strategy for grade I–III POP.
Keywords: management, pelvic floor muscle training, pelvic organ prolapse, POP, symptoms.