Yoga and Pilates compared to pelvic floor muscle training for urinary incontinence in elderly women: A randomised controlled pilot trial

Priya Kannan (Corresponding Author), Wai Hin Hsu, Wai Tung Suen, Lok Man Chan, Ayelet Assor, Chun Ming Ho

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Background: and purpose: There is limited evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) regarding the use of yoga and Pilates for the management of urinary incontinence (UI) in women. This study aims to investigate the preliminary effects of using Pilates and yoga to manage UI. Materials and methods: An assessor-blinded, prospective, three-arm parallel-group randomised controlled pilot trial was conducted in three elderly care centres in Hong Kong. Thirty women aged 60 years or above were included in the study. Study centres were randomly assigned to each of the three interventions (yoga, Pilates and pelvic floor muscle training [PFMT; standard care control]). Study interventions were provided once a week for four weeks, followed by unsupervised CD-guided home exercises for eight weeks. Outcomes included the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Short Form (ICIQ-SF), 1-h pad test, and feasibility measures such as adherence to the intervention programme, recruitment and retention rates and safety. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, 4 and 12 weeks. Statistical analysis was performed using two-way repeated measures analysis of covariance. Results: All three interventions demonstrated a statistically significant effect on ICIQ-SF scores from baseline to weeks 4 and 12. Significant effects in UI were reported for yoga compared with Pilates (mean: −2.93, 95% CI −5.35, −0.51; p = 0.02). Conclusion: Yoga poses intended to address the pelvic floor and core muscles were found to have superior benefits over Pilates exercises in terms of improved continence measured with the ICIQ-SF.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101502
JournalComplementary therapies in clinical practice
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Pelvic floor muscle training
  • Pilates
  • Randomised controlled trial
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Yoga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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