Mind Over Bladder-Stress Reduction Used To Treat Overactive Bladder*

Overactive bladder (OAB) or when you gotta go, you gotta go affects millions of American men and women. OAB is a condition that significantly impacts the quality of life of those who suffer from this problem.

Now there is evidence that relaxing the mind may be helpful when it comes to reducing bladder urge issues, according to a new study completed at the University of Utah. Thirty women participated in an eight-week study and were followed for one year comparing the impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) with yoga on urinary urge incontinence, a challenge faced by as many as 26 percent of women in the United States.

Those affected may experience large, unpredictable leakage of urine which can be psychologically and socially devastating.

Older women are often the ones experiencing this incontinence, though it’s not clear why. Weaker muscles and neurological elements are likely the culprit. Medications are effective initially but not long-term and can have bothersome side effects.

Twelve months after participating in the study, the women who studied mindfulness-based stress reduction had 66.7 percent fewer urinary urge incontinence episodes compared with the control group, which saw only 16.7 percent reduction at that time. It may help to help calm the mind so the emotional area of the brain is not activated and thus allows the person to learn to reframe the normal urge sensations from their bladder.

More study is needed and the next step for researchers is to secure a National Institutes of Health grant to conduct the study on a larger group of women in the next several years.

Bottom Line: Learning techniques of stress reduction may be helpful for those who suffer from overactive bladder.

*this blog was inspired by an article in WebMD which appeared at: http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/news/20090508/mind-over-bladder-may-lessen-leaks

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