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05.05.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 11/2016 Open Access

International Urogynecology Journal 11/2016

Mean echogenicity and area of puborectalis muscle in women with stress urinary incontinence during pregnancy and after delivery

Zeitschrift:
International Urogynecology Journal > Ausgabe 11/2016
Autoren:
Maria K. van de Waarsenburg, Mariëlla I. J. Withagen, Anique T. M. Grob, Karlijn J. Schweitzer, Greetje A. van Veelen, Carl H. van der Vaart

Abstract

Introduction and hypothesis

Pregnancy and childbirth are risk factors for the development of stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Urinary continence depends on normal urethral support, which is provided by normal levator ani muscle function. Our objective was to compare mean echogenicity and the area of the puborectalis muscle between women with and those without SUI during and after their first pregnancy.

Methods

We examined 280 nulliparous women at a gestational age of 12 weeks, 36 weeks, and 6 months after delivery. They filled out the validated Urogenital Distress Inventory and underwent perineal ultrasounds. SUI was considered present if the woman answered positively to the question “do you experience urine leakage related to physical activity, coughing, or sneezing?” Mean echogenicity of the puborectalis muscle (MEP) and puborectalis muscle area (PMA) were calculated. The MEP and PMA during pregnancy and after delivery in women with and without SUI were compared using independent Student’s t test.

Results

After delivery the MEP was higher in women with SUI if the pelvic floor was at rest or in contraction, with effect sizes of 0.30 and 0.31 respectively. No difference was found in the area of the puborectalis muscle between women with and those without SUI.

Conclusions

Women with SUI after delivery had a statistically significant higher mean echogenicity of the puborectalis muscle compared with non-SUI women when the pelvic floor was at rest and in contraction; the effect sizes were small. This higher MEP is indicative of a relatively higher intramuscular extracellular matrix component and could represent diminished contractile function.

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