Pelvic-floor strength in women with incontinence as assessed by the Brink scale

Mary P. FitzGerald, Kathryn L. Burgio, Diane F. Borello-France, Shawn A. Menefee, Joseph Schaffer, Stephen Kraus, Veronica T. Mallett, Yan Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe how clinical pelvic-floor muscle (PFM) strength (force-generating capacity) is related to patient characteristics, lower urinary tract symptoms, and fecal incontinence symptoms. Subjects: Data were obtained from 643 women who were participating in a randomized surgical trial for treatment of stress urinary incontinence. Methods: Patient demographic variables, baseline urinary and fecal incontinence symptom questionnaires, urodynamic data and urinary diary data, pad test results, and standardized assessment of pelvic organ support were compared with PFM strength as described by the Brink scoring system. Bivariate analysis of factors associated with the Brink scale score was done using analysis of variance and linear regression. Multivariate analysis included patient variables that were significant on bivariate analysis. Results: The mean Brink scale score was 9 (SD=2) and did not vary widely in this large, but highly select, patient sample. We found a weak, but statistically strong, relationship between age and Brink score. Brink scores were not related to diary and pad test measures of incontinence severity. Discussion and Conclusion: Overall, PFM strength was good in this sample of women with stress incontinence. Scores tended to be similar, and it is possible that the Brink scale does not reflect real clinical differences in PFM strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1316-1324
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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