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For many people, yoga exercises help improve muscular pain and strength, as well as mental health and stress. A new study published from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) suggests that these mind-body exercises can also be used for treating urinary incontinence. The study was published in the journal Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstruction Surgery.
Participants included 19 women ages 40 and older, who experienced daily incontinence episodes. Ten women were randomly assigned to a six-week yoga therapy programs, specially designed by experts who have experience teaching women to use yoga to improve their pelvic health. All participants were also given brochures about behavioral strategies for incontinence.
Results showed that the women in the yoga group experienced 70 percent fewer incontinence episodes, while the control group only saw a 13 percent reduction in their urinary leakage symptoms. Those with stress incontinence also experienced a 71 percent decreases in symptoms compared with a 25 percent increase in the controls group.
Researchers believe that regular yoga practice can help women build pelvic floor strength to increase bladder control. “It would be a way for women to gain more control over their pelvic floor muscles without having to go through traditional costly and time-intensive rehabilitation therapy,” lead researcher Alison Huang, MD, assistant professor in the UCSF School of Medicine, said in a press release.
Other behavioral techniques for managing incontinence include kegel exercises, bladder retraining, timed voiding and diet changes.