Yoga can help women with urinary incontinence
Yoga and meditation can help women improve pelvic health, gain more control over their urination and avoid accidental urine leakage, a promising research indicates.
"Yoga is often directed at mindful awareness, increasing relaxation and relieving anxiety and stress," said Alison Huang, an assistant professor from University of California Francisco.
For these reasons, yoga has been directed at a variety of other conditions - metabolic syndrome or pain syndromes - but there is also a reason to think that it could help for incontinence as well, Huang added.
Huang and her colleagues recruited 20 women in their 40s and suffered from urinary incontinence on a daily basis.
Half were randomly assigned to take part in a six-week yoga therapy programme and the other half were not.
The women who took part in the yoga programme experienced an overall 70 percent improvement - or reduction - in the frequency of their urine leakage compared to the baseline.
The control group - or the group that did not start yoga therapy - only had 13 percent improvement.
"Most of the observed improvement in incontinence was in stress incontinence, or urine leakage brought on by activities that increase abdominal pressure such as coughing, sneezing and bending over," Huang emphasised.
Because incontinence is associated with anxiety and depression, women suffering from incontinence may benefit from yoga's emphasis on mindful meditation and relaxation.
But regular practice of yoga may also help women strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the bladder and protect against incontinence.
"We thought this would be a good opportunity for women to use yoga to become more aware of and have more control over their pelvic floor muscles," Huang noted.
The yoga programme used in the study was specially designed with input from yoga consultants Leslie Howard and Judith Hanson Lasater.
The study was published in the journal Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.
(Posted on 26-04-2014)