The International Continence Society (ICS) 2021 Melbourne Online Annual Scientific Meeting was a superb opportunity to watch and listen some of the best key physiotherapy and pelvic floor researchers and clinicians from around the world.
The variety of the research presented demonstrates the multicompartment nature of the pelvic floor and the diverse clinical areas where physiotherapists are involved. Below we have summarised some of the research presented at the conference.
Frawley et al (2021) presented the already published ICS terminology report on pelvic floor muscle (PFM) assessment. This terminology report has provided an update of the terminology required to comprehensively document the assessment and interpretation of the findings, to standardise assessment procedures and aid diagnostic decision making.
Brennen et al (2021) presented the results of their systematic review and concluded that providing group-based pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) for all women during pregnancy is more clinically and cost effective than individual PFMT for incontinent women postnatally; however, providing PFMT for postnatal women with urinary incontinence should not be discounted because of the added known benefit for preventing and treating faecal incontinence.
Hagen et al (2021) confirmed via a 26 years longitudinal study the correlation between childbirth and pelvic floor dysfunction and while there is an indication that a delivery history of exclusive caesarean sections may be associated with a reduced risk of experiencing symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, the prevalence of urinary Incontinence (UI) remains high with almost half of women in the study (7879) reporting this symptom.
Nowadays the use of medical devices is very popular amongst physiotherapists and Orr et al (2021) presented the results of the evaluation of the femfit® during exercise. The femfit® was able to distinguish between increased intraabdominal pressure (IAP) and the pressure produced by contraction of the PFMs. Incorrect performance of a PFM contraction is common. Hence, the femfit® offers an exciting addition to the tools available for clinicians to assess and teach the correct performance of a PFM contraction in both lying and standing. It is the first PFM measurement device to offer independent PFM and IAP biofeedback during dynamic exercise activity.
With the increased survivorship amongst cancer patients there is a lack of evidence about the management of associated comorbidities following surgery, in particular, sexual function. The mixed method study by Cyr et al (2021) suggests that a multimodal pelvic floor physiotherapy programme offered to gynecological cancer survivors reduces dyspareunia and improves sexual function up to 12 months after treatment.
Paula, as the physiotherapy representative on the ICS Education Committee had the opportunity to review the submitted workshops and it was a delight to see that there is an ever-increasing presence of physiotherapists on the workshops. Physiotherapists were represented in 10 workshops with 4 of them chairing the sessions.
The physiotherapy forum had expert presentations about management of bowel dysfunction, a debate about the pros and cons of using Biofeedback-assisted PFMT, the management of pessaries for pelvic organ prolapse, the similarities and differences of managing provoked vestibulodynia and endometriosis as well as an update of the management of the transgender patients. The forum continues to be one of the best ways to network with colleagues from around the world plus is a great way of catching up with ‘new and old friends´.
On behalf of the Physiotherapy committee, we would like to thank all the Physiotherapists that attended and/or contributed to the meeting and look forward to seeing you in Vienna next year.
References: Best abstracts from the ICS 2021 online meeting in Melbourne.
Please note, all ICS 2021 Online content is now available to all valid ICS Members.
Authors: Magdaléna Hagovská, Assoc.Prof, Dr., PhD., Paula Igualada-Martinez, MSc and BSc.