Last updated on February 2018

Group Versus Individual Physiotherapy for Urinary Incontinence in Aging Women


Brief description of study

The recommended treatment for urinary incontinence (UI) in women is individualised pelvic floor muscle (PFM) training, a costly and resource-intense approach; one Canada is currently unable to meet. This non-inferiority randomized control trial seeks to determine if group-based PFM training is as effective as individualised PFM training for treating UI in women 65 and over, and to establish the cost-effectiveness of both. Demonstrating that group-based treatment is at least as good as individualised one-on-one treatment and more cost-effective would warrant including group-based PFM training as a first-line UI treatment.

Detailed Study Description

The incidence of urinary incontinence (UI) in women increases with age but, unbeknownst to many, it is not a normal part of aging and, in most cases, can be effectively treated. Yet today, the majority of senior women go untreated due to a lack of both human and financial resources. In Canada, there are currently 3 million senior women. Over the next 15 years their numbers are expected to grow significantly, as will the incidence of UI. The number of senior women requiring treatment, let alone the future demand, makes it imperative that more cost-effective treatments be identified. The prevalence of UI in community- dwelling women 65 and over is high - 55% experience stress or urge UI, or even both, and of these, 20 to 25% are classified as having severe symptoms. Not only is UI a serious medical condition but it is also undeniably a social problem, engendering embarrassment and negative self-perceptions. It is associated with reduced social interactions and physical activities, with poor self-rated health, impaired emotional and psychological well-being and impaired sexual relationships. Moreover, it doubles women's risk of being admitted to a nursing home, independent of age or the presence of any other co-morbid conditions. It severely undermines a woman's right to healthy aging. Without doubt, this pervasive and serious condition requires immediate attention. Demographics, the negative impact on older women's functional autonomy and the current unmet treatment needs alone renders improving continence care for older women a priority for the Institute of Aging. This study aims to evaluate if groupbased physiotherapy treatment is at least as good as individualized one-on-one physiotherapy treatment for treating urinary incontinence in aging women. The treatment efficacy will be assessed in 364 women (aged 60 years and older) suffering from stress or mixed urinary incontinence and recruited in 4 hospitals and in the community.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02039830

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Chantal Dumoulin, Ph.D.

Laboratoire incontinence et vieillissement CRIUGM
Montréal, QC Canada
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