Background
Women suffering from urinary incontinence have impaired quality of life (QoL). Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) has been recommended to be the first‐line treatment for them.

Aims
This study evaluated the role of (PFMT) in women with urinary incontinence.

Materials and Methods
All women suffering from urinary incontinence without pelvic organ prolapse who attended the urogynaecology unit of a university hospital from January 2009 to June 2010 were recruited. Urinary symptoms and impact on QoL were assessed using the Chinese validated Urogenital Distress Inventory short form (UDI‐6) and Incontinence Impact Questionnaire short form (IIQ‐7) before and after PFMT. Urodynamic studies (UDS) were used to differentiate the diagnoses of urinary incontinence.

Results
Three hundred and seventy‐two women, aged 52.3 ± 10.8 years and practised PFMT for 9.9 ± 7.3 months, completed the study. Over 65% recorded improvement in both UDI‐6 and IIQ‐7. Stratified for urodynamic diagnosis, stress incontinence group and those who had no UDS abnormality had significant improvement in their urinary symptoms and QoL after PFMT. UDI‐6 and IIQ‐7 also improved significantly after PFMT in groups where the clinical presentation was stress incontinence, overactive bladder symptoms or mixed urinary incontinence. Age was not associated with a significant difference in the response to PFMT.

Conclusions
Pelvic floor muscle training appears to be an effective first‐line intervention for improving urinary symptoms and QoL of women presenting with urinary incontinence. Future studies on long‐term effectiveness and cost‐effectiveness are also required.