Effects of wearing supportive underwear versus pelvic floor muscle training or no treatment in women with symptoms of stress urinary incontinence: an assessor-blinded randomized control trial

  • Hisayo Okayama
  • Sanae NinomiyaEmail author
  • Kiyoko Naito
  • Yoshihiro Endo
  • Shigehiro Morikawa
Original Article


Introduction and hypothesis

In our previous single-arm pilot study, we reported that ready-made supportive underwear (shaper) was effective in elevating the bladder neck and reducing urinary incontinence (UI) symptoms. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of wearing a shaper compared with pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) at home using a training compact disc with music, or no treatment, in an assessor-blinded randomized control trial, on reducing UI symptoms.


Participants aged 30–59 years with symptoms of stress urinary incontinence were randomly assigned to three groups: the shaper group, PFMT group, and no treatment group. The UI episodes/week and the Japanese version of the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Short-Form were compared between the baseline and the 6th or 12th week of the intervention period.


Eighty-nine women who completed the 12-week intervention period were analyzed. After the 12-week intervention period, the improvement rate in UI symptoms (ratio of the case number in which the UI episodes/week decreased at least 50% from the baseline) was 73.3% (22/30 women) in the shaper group, 74.2% (23/31 women) in the PFMT group, and 25.0% (7/28 women) in the no treatment group. The improvement rate in UI symptoms in the shaper and PFMT groups was significantly higher than that in the no treatment group (both P < 0.001).


Wearing supportive underwear (shaper) was almost as effective as PFMT at home in reducing UI symptoms.


Pelvic floor muscle training Randomized control trial Stress urinary incontinence Underwear 



The shapers used in this study were provided by Wacoal Corp.


This study was funded by research grants from the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (Implementation-Support Program as a Mechanism to deliver R&D Outcome to Society, 2011).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

All authors received research grants from the Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (Implementation-Support Program a Mechanism to deliver R&D Outcome to Society, 2011). The shapers used in this study were provided by Wacoal Corp. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Nursing, Human Health Science, Graduate School of MedicineKyoto UniversitySakyo-kuJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of NursingOsaka Medical CollegeTakatsukiJapan
  4. 4.Department of Childhood Care, Faculty of Education WelfareBiwako Gakuin UniversityHigashi-OmiJapan
  5. 5.Department of NursingShiga University of Medical ScienceOtsuJapan
  6. 6.Molecular Neuroscience Research CenterShiga University of Medical ScienceOtsuJapan

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