From the Journals

Yoga feasible, provides modest benefits for women with urinary incontinence



A therapeutic yoga program was feasible and provided modest benefits for women with stress incontinence, according to Alison J. Huang, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and her associates.


In a small study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 28 women enrolled in a 3-month yoga intervention program and 28 were enrolled in a control program consisting of nonspecific muscle stretching and strengthening. The mean age was 65 years, baseline urinary incontinence was 3.5 episodes/day, and 37 women had urgency-predominant incontinence.

Of those who completed the study, 89% of 27 patients in the yoga group attended at least 80% of classes, compared with 87% in the control group; over 90% of women in the yoga group completed at least 9 home practice hours.

Overall incontinence frequency was reduced by 76% in the yoga group and by 56% in the control group. Incontinence caused by stress was significantly reduced in the yoga group, compared with the control group (61% vs. 35%; P = .045), but the rate of incontinence caused by urgency did not noticeably differ. A total of 48 nonserious adverse events were reported over the 3-month period (23 in the yoga and 25 in the control group), but none were associated with either yoga or control treatment.

“Yoga may be useful for incontinent women in the community who lack access to incontinence specialists, are unable to use clinical therapies, or wish to enhance conventional care. Since yoga can be practiced in a group setting without continuous supervision by health care specialists, it offers a potentially cost-effective, community-based self-management strategy for incontinence, provided that it can be taught with appropriate attention to safety and to patients’ clinical needs,” the authors noted.

The study was supported with grants from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine and the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine’s Bradley fund. One of the authors received a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. Two study authors reported receiving funding from Pfizer and Astellas to conduct research unrelated to the current study.

SOURCE: Huang AJ et al. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Oct 26. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2018.10.031.

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