Sharisse Lin’s MSc Thesis Proposal (on Zoom)

Title: Acute Effects of Single Session Pelvic Floor Muscle Training on Somatosensory and Corticospinal Excitability

Supervisors: Dr. Tania Lam & Dr. John (Kip) Kramer
Committee member: Dr. Jean-Sébastien Blouin


The pelvic floor muscles play a critical role in maintaining urogenital functions. Pelvic floor muscle training is a commonly prescribed, non-invasive, exercise intervention to manage urinary incontinence. It involves the practice of voluntary contractions of the muscles to different intensities and durations, as well as in combination with different functional tasks. Despite its known clinical benefits, we still do not have a full understanding of the underlying neurophysiological effects of the intervention, either acutely or following long-term training. Our objective is to use somatosensory evoked potentials of the pudendal nerve and motor evoked potentials of the pelvic floor muscles to investigate the acute neurophysiological changes following a single session of pelvic floor muscle training. We plan to recruit 10 participants (5 males and 5 females) to participate in the study. We will randomly assign participants to either the experimental (pelvic floor muscle training) or control (upper limb (biceps brachii) exercise) group. The training program consists of 55 bouts of contractions to different intensities and durations. To examine changes in somatosensory excitability, we will use electroencephalography to record somatosensory evoked potentials in response to pudendal nerve stimulation. To examine changes in corticospinal excitability, we will use surface electromyography to record motor evoked potentials in the pelvic floor muscles elicited by transcranial magnetic stimulation over the motor cortex. All measures will be recorded before and after a single session of training and compared between groups. By understanding the acute neurophysiological effects following a single session of pelvic floor muscle training, we may get some insights into its long-term effects, which are crucial in providing better prognosis and prescription of the intervention to different clinical populations.