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BJU Int. 2012 Jun;109(11):1685-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2011.10590.x. Epub 2011 Oct 13.

Comparisons of pelvic floor muscle performance, anxiety, quality of life and life stress in women with dry overactive bladder compared with asymptomatic women.

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Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Study Type - Therapy (case control) Level of Evidence 3b What's known on the subject? and What does the study add? Abnormal pelvic floor muscle function has been associated with chronic pelvic pain syndromes. This study adds evidence about pelvic muscle performance in women with dry overactive bladders.


To determine if pelvic floor muscle surface electromyography (sEMG) measurements differed between women with dry overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms and asymptomatic controls. To determine whether pelvic floor muscle performance was associated with anxiety scores, quality of life and life stress measures


We enrolled 28 women with urinary urgency and frequency without urinary incontinence, and 28 age-matched controls. sEMG was used to assess pelvic muscle performance. Participants also completed the Beck Anxiety Inventory, Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory, Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire and Recent Life Changes Questionnaire.


Anxiety scores were significantly higher in women with dry OAB than in controls. No significant differences were found in sEMG measures of pelvic muscle contraction or relaxation between the two groups. There was no significant correlation between sEMG pretest resting baseline measurements and the Beck Anxiety Inventory, the Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory, the Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire or life stress scores among symptomatic women. As expected, women with dry OAB had significantly higher scores on the Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory and Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire.


This study supports a relationship between dry OAB symptoms and anxiety that warrants further exploration. Resting sEMG baselines were not elevated and did not support the hypothesis that women with dry OAB are unable to relax their pelvic floor muscles.

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