The Introduction Of Yoga As Therapy
Known as a form of meditation, and a recently popular exercise technique, yoga is an ancient practice born out of Asian cultures. It has long been associated with a wide range of religions and is most often affiliated with India, but it has taken North America by storm and become well known at the gym, in homes, and also throughout therapeutic facilities. Yoga has been used to treat stress and anxiety disorders, and even been prescribed to addicts of alcohol and drugs as a method of controlling urges during rehabilitation. Now, a new study released from UC San Francisco in regards to pelvic medicine in females and reconstructive surgeries that go along with this has announced the discovery as yoga as a way to improve the health of the pelvic region in women who suffer from urinary incontinence.
How It Works
The training programs are designed to help women practicing them to have more ability in controlling accidental urination or leakage. This is done through the relaxation of anxieties in relation to this problem, as well as through an awareness that yoga provides to its users. Yoga has been used in the past to treat metabolic syndrome as well as chronic and acute pain disorders, and now it’s thought that it can control otherwise uncontrollable urinary leakage in women as well. Science Daily explains: “Approximately 25 million adults in America suffer from some form of urinary incontinence, according to the National Association for Continence. Up to 80 percent of them are women.”
In order to test the relevance of this practice on women who suffer from this problem there was a recruitment of twenty women ages forty and older, all of whom suffered from urinary incontinence daily. Of these women, half were selected randomly to experiment with a yoga therapy class that would take place over a six week period. Of the women who took part, there was an overall improvement of 70% in comparison of the frequency at which leakage occurred before hand. For those who didn’t take yoga, there was only a 13% improvement, which left a rather large margin as proof of what this kind of program can do. The improvements were mostly seem in activities that would increase stress in the abdominal area such as bending over, laughing hard, coughing or sneezing. The thought is that although some of the benefits of yoga may have been in the physical activities, it’s more likely that the reduction in stress and depression caused these benefits to occur. This makes sense as there is a large emphasis on meditation and relaxation in the practice of yoga.
Not All Yoga Is The Same
Although most yoga practices do entail medication, centered spirit, and muscle tightening, not every form of this ancient art can help with urinary incontinence or not to the same extent at least. The program that was utilized during the above mentioned study was developed specifically to meet the needs of tightening the pelvic floor muscles in the female body, and was designed by Leslie Howard and Judith Hanson Lasater, who are currently practicing yoga consultants, that focus on pelvic health. Marja Sprock M.D. states: “Pelvic floor muscle training is often the first recommended treatment for stress urinary incontinence.”
Similar to the kegel exercises that pregnant women are suggested to follow before and after giving labor, the scientists who took part in producing the study on yoga’s effects on urinary incontinence believe that these specialized programs can help teach women young and old how to preserve their pelvic muscles.
Other Treatment Sources
Urinary incontinence has a cost of roughly twenty billion dollars per year in the United States alone based on treatments and preventative surgeries and medications. Some of these more invasive procedures are fairly standard while others require more innovative techniques. One newly invented treatment requires muscle tissue to be harvested from a patient’s leg during a biopsy, and have the cells re-injected into the urethral sphincter, which is the muscle that contracts and releases when it comes time to urinate in a controlled fashion. Many people suffering from leakage do so because this muscle has become less active with stress, it has become looser, or because it is deteriorating in old age. Melissa Kaufman M.D. of Vanderbilt.edu reports: “There are several different therapies for SUI. We begin with a conservative approach with muscle exercises and physical therapy, but many women proceed to surgical procedures such as mesh slings, which, although effective, require surgical intervention.”
Although the surgeries are quite safe and have a high success rate, there are always risks involved during any type of surgical procedure, which is why being able to utilize procedures like yoga in place of other medical practices serve as a good preventative and reparative alternative.
Choosing the right treatment for urinary incontinence differs from woman to woman, but one thing is certain, most doctors will usually recommend trying something therapeutic before risking anything invasive.