May 13, 2014 06:52 AM EDT
Women suffering from urinary incontinence, can get cured by attending specialized yoga programs, according to a University of California - San Francisco study.
Researchers said that yoga sessions help enhance pelvic health, gain bladder control and prevent involuntary leakage of urine.
"Yoga is often directed at mindful awareness, increasing relaxation, and relieving anxiety and stress,' first author Alison Huang, assistant professor in the San Francisco School of Medicine, said in a press release. "For these reasons, yoga has been directed at a variety of other conditions - metabolic syndrome or pain syndromes - but there's also a reason to think that it could help for incontinence as well."
Approximately 25 million American adults suffer from transient or chronic urinary incontinence, according to the National Association for Continence. About 75-80 percent of the patients are women. The medical condition with mild symptoms can affect social, sexual, interpersonal and professional function. Increasing awareness regarding urinary incontinence can help people learn that it is not a side effect of aging, but in fact a symptom of another problem.
For the study, the researchers asked 10 women, who were 40 years old and above and experienced urinary incontinence, to participate in a six week yoga therapy program. Another 10 participants did not do the yoga therapy.
The researchers found that the frequency of urine leakage was reduced by 70 percent in participants from the therapy program. Whereas, in participants who did not take part in any session, it was just 13 percent. Improvements were observed in connection to stress incontinence triggered by activities that increase abdominal pressure like coughing and sneezing.
Researchers said that incontinence is sometimes associated with anxiety and depression and women experiencing frequent urine leakage are more likely to gain advantage from yoga meditation and relaxation programs. Even regular yoga practice sessions help women strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the bladder and fight 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 said. "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."
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