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Experience of pelvic floor muscle exercises among women in Taiwan: A qualitative study of improvement in urinary incontinence and sexuality

Kao, Hsia-Tzu; Hayter, Mark; Hinchliff, Sharron; Tsai, Chuan-Hsiu; Hsu, Min-Tao


Hsia-Tzu Kao

Mark Hayter

Sharron Hinchliff

Chuan-Hsiu Tsai

Min-Tao Hsu


© 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Aims and objectives: To gain an in-depth understanding of women's experiences of performing pelvic floor muscle exercises for urinary incontinence and the impact on their sexuality. Background: Urinary incontinence is not a life-threatening disorder; however, it has been shown to have detrimental effects on quality of life in terms of psychological, social and sexual dysfunction. Pelvic floor muscle exercises is the first recommended strategy for managing mild to moderate urinary incontinence as it is noninvasive and cost effective. Pelvic floor muscle exercises reduce incontinence and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which positively affects sexual function in women. Currently, the data are scarce for qualitative literature regarding the subjective experiences of Taiwanese women undergoing pelvic floor muscle exercises and the impact on their urinary incontinence and sexuality. Design: Qualitative exploratory study. Methods: Semi-structured in depth interviews were undertaken with twelve women who had completed a pelvic floor muscle exercises program in Taiwan. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Themes were related to Taiwanese women's initial feelings that urinary incontinence was inevitable and the effects on their sexuality. Three core themes were identified: perceptions of inevitability, developing awareness and gaining control and sexual taboo. Through developing awareness and control of their pelvic floor muscles women expressed improvement in urinary incontinence. Sexual enjoyment, body image, self confidence and sexuality were also enhanced. Conclusion: Pelvic floor muscle exercises had a positive effect on urinary incontinence and sexuality. The findings demonstrated that sex is a taboo topic for many Taiwanese women. With the sensitive management of pelvic floor muscle exercises programs this issue can be addressed. Relevance to clinical practice: This study raises awareness of healthcare professionals by identifying how Taiwanese women perceive pelvic floor muscles. The positive impact of pelvic floor muscle exercises upon both urinary incontinence and sexuality within the Taiwanese context are addressed. Nurses may also, with greater confidence initiate discussion of women's sexual concerns as part of managing urinary incontinence.


Kao, H., Hayter, M., Hinchliff, S., Tsai, C., & Hsu, M. (2015). Experience of pelvic floor muscle exercises among women in Taiwan: A qualitative study of improvement in urinary incontinence and sexuality. Journal of clinical nursing, 24(13-14), 1985-1994.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 13, 2014
Online Publication Date Feb 7, 2015
Publication Date 2015-07
Deposit Date Aug 8, 2018
Journal Journal of Clinical Nursing
Print ISSN 0962-1067
Electronic ISSN 1365-2702
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 13-14
Pages 1985-1994
Keywords Pelvic floor muscle exercise; Sexual taboo; Sexuality; Urinary incontinence
Public URL