Comprehensive pelvic muscle assessment: Developing and testing a dual e-Learning and simulation-based training program

The Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (PLUS) Research Consortium, Diane K. Newman, Jerry L. Lowder, Melanie Meister, Lisa K. Low, Colleen M. Fitzgerald, Cynthia S. Fok, Julia Geynisman-Tan, Emily S. Lukacz, Alayne Markland, Sara Putnam, Kyle Rudser, Ariana L. Smith, Janis M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (PLUS) research consortium launched the RISE FOR HEALTH (RISE) national study of women's bladder health which includes annual surveys and an in-person visit. For the in-person exam, a standardized, replicable approach to conducting a pelvic muscle (PM) assessment was necessary. The process used to develop the training, the products, and group testing results from the education and training are described. Methods: A comprehensive pelvic muscle assessment (CPMA) program was informed by literature view and expert opinion. Training materials were prepared for use on an electronicLearning (e-Learning) platform. An in-person hands-on simulation and certification session was then designed. It included a performance checklist assessment for use by Clinical Trainers, who in collaboration with a gynecology teaching assistant, provided an audit and feedback process to determine Trainee competency. Results: Five discrete components for CPMA training were developed as e-Learning modules. These were: (1) overview of all the clinical measures and PM anatomy and examination assessments, (2) visual assessment for pronounced pelvic organ prolapse, (3) palpatory assessment of the pubovisceral muscle to estimate muscle integrity, (4) digital vaginal assessment to estimate strength, duration, symmetry during PM contraction, and (5) pressure palpation of both myofascial structures and PMs to assess for self-report of pain. Seventeen Trainees completed the full CPMA training, all successfully meeting the a priori certification required pass rate of 85% on checklist assessment. Conclusions: The RISE CPMA training program was successfully conducted to assure standardization of the PM assessment across the PLUS multicenter research sites. This approach can be used by researchers and healthcare professionals who desire a standardized approach to assess competency when performing this CPMA in the clinical or research setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1036-1054
Number of pages19
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • comprehensive pelvic muscle assessment
  • pelvic examination
  • pelvic floor myofascial pain
  • pelvic muscle strength
  • pelvic organ prolapse
  • pubovisceral (pubococcygeus) muscle
  • women's health


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