Overactive pelvic floor muscles (OPFM): Improving diagnostic accuracy with clinical examination and functional studies

Hau Choong Aw, Weranja Ranasinghe, Philip Huang Min Tan, Helen E. O'Connell

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: To identify the functional correlation of overactive pelvic floor muscles (OPFM) with cystoscopic and fluoroscopic urodynamic studies (FUDS), including urethral pressure measurements. Methods: Patients refractory to conservative therapy including bladder retraining, medications and pelvic muscle exercises for a variety of gamut of storage and voiding disorders were evaluated. Prospective data for 201 patients across both genders who underwent flexible cystoscopy and urodynamics for lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) refractory to conservative management between 01 Jan 2014 and 01 Jan 2016 was collected. Factors studied included history of LUTS, voiding patterns, physical examination, cystoscopic findings and functional studies, with maximum urethral closing pressure (MUCP). Results: A total of 201 were patients recruited. The 85 were diagnosed with OPFM based on clinical presentation and presence of pelvic floor tenderness on examination. Significant differences were noted on functional studies with FUDS and urethral pressure measurement. Subjects with pelvic floor tenderness were found to have a higher (MUCP) at 93.1 cm H2O compared to 80.6 cm H2O (P=0.015). Conclusions: There are distinct characteristics of OPFM on clinical examination and functional studies, in particular MUCP. In patients refractory to conservative treatments, specific urodynamics tests are useful in sub-categorising patients. When OPFM is diagnosed, the impact on patient management is significant, and targeted intervention with pelvic floor physiotherapy is central in the multimodal approach of this complex condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S64-S67
Number of pages4
JournalTranslational Andrology and Urology
Issue numberSuppl 2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • External sphincter pressure
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS)
  • Overactive pelvic floor muscles (OPFM)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Urodynamics

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