With holistic health making a comeback in recent years, women now have more access than ever to alternative ways to alleviate symptoms of incontinence. As more eastern practices get adopted in the west, the growing popularity of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga shows no sign of slowing down. Try these three healthy solutions to alleviate the symptoms of incontinence in a more holistic way.
One of the many benefits of mindfulness is its ability to rest the mind. Recent research shows that mindfulness, in particular, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), can be especially useful in women who struggle with the troublesome symptoms of incontinence. MBSR can mitigate common symptoms such as urinary urge incontinence by calming the mind “so the emotional area of the brain is not activated.” By deactivating this area of the brain, the person has the opportunity to “reframe the normal urge sensations.” The beauty of MBSR is that it is a more long-term solution as a symptom reducer of overactive bladder incontinence - in comparison to more traditional methods, such as “behavioral treatment, physical therapy,” and even medicines. While the more traditional methods mentioned above are certainly worth being included in a treatment plan for urinary incontinence in women, the addition of MBSR is a promising addition to long-term recovery.
Meditation, which often goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness, is an effective way to manage the symptoms of urge incontinence in its own right. Similar to MBSR, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a treatment that offers mental relief to those who suffer from common symptoms of incontinence. Rather than MBSR’s ability to shift the mindset of the person, CBT employs the use of “deep-breathing and guided-imagery exercises that train the brain to control the bladder without medication or surgery.” Women, in particular, seem to respond positively to CBT methods, assisting them in managing the feelings of embarrassment that often come alongside incontinence-related issues. Those seeking a less traditional approach to incontinence recovery program can benefit from CBT and meditation since it could reduce reliance upon drugs often prescribed for the ailment.
Similar to mindfulness and meditation, yoga is another holistic option for those living with urinary incontinence symptoms to consider. Recent research shows that “the frequency of the condition declined by more than 75 percent among women who took part in yoga classes specifically designed to address the problem.” Certain yoga poses, especially those that strengthen the pelvic floor, are particularly useful in treating symptoms of urinary incontinence. Since the pelvic floor muscles control the flow of urine, poses like utkatasana (chair pose), Trikonasana (triangle pose), and malasana (squat pose). However, it is worth noting that the effectiveness of yoga as an effective symptom-reducer depends upon which type of incontinence is being treated. Studies show that stress incontinence tends to “have a higher success rate than other incontinence types.”
The current studies on mindfulness, meditation, and yoga as symptom-relievers of urinary incontinence in women are promising to say the least. With time and more research, these alternative treatment methods will likely prove to have even more benefits for the 25 million adult Americans living with some form of incontinence today. The future is bright for women looking to find relief from their incontinence symptoms, especially as further holistic alternatives continue to emerge.
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