Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the feasibility, efficacy, and safety of a group-based yoga therapy intervention for middle-aged and older women with urinary incontinence.
Methods: We conducted a pilot randomized trial of ambulatory women aged 40 years and older with stress, urgency, or mixed-type incontinence. Women were randomized to a 6-week yoga therapy program (n = 10) consisting of twice weekly group classes and once weekly home practice or a wait-list control group (n = 9). All participants also received written pamphlets about standard behavioral self-management strategies for incontinence. Changes in incontinence were assessed with 7-day voiding diaries.
Results: The mean (SD) age was 61.4 (8.2) years, and the mean baseline frequency of incontinence was 2.5 (1.3) episodes/d. After 6 weeks, the total incontinence frequency decreased by 70% (1.8 [0.9] fewer episodes/d) in the yoga therapy versus 13% (0.3 [1.7] fewer episodes/d) in the control group (P = 0.049). Participants in the yoga therapy group also reported an average of 71% decrease in stress incontinence frequency (0.7 [0.8] fewer episodes/d) compared with a 25% increase in controls (0.2 [1.1] more episodes/d) (P = 0.039). No significant differences in reduction in urgency incontinence were detected between the yoga therapy versus control groups (1.0 [1.0] versus 0.5 [0.5] fewer episodes/d; P = 0.20). All women starting the yoga therapy program completed at least 90% of the group classes and practice sessions. Two participants in each group reported adverse events unrelated to the intervention.
Conclusions: Findings provide preliminary evidence to support the feasibility, efficacy, and safety of a group-based yoga therapy intervention to improve urinary incontinence in women.