More than 3 million people in the world suffer from an overactive bladder and urinary incontinence and in Italy, more than 2 million women suffer from this disorder that affects the pelvic area (the incidence in women under 65 is 10%).
However, a new reign is the misinformation on the subject. In fact, more and more women take a passive attitude towards urinary incontinence, taking refuge in the universe of the Internet where not all the news is certified.
The disorder of urinary incontinence, especially that related to the efforts of daily activities (such as taking a child in her arms) often occurs in women in the postpartum period. A group of students from the University of California, San Francisco, identified a special form of yoga that, according to their study published in the journal “Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstruction Surgery”, would help women who suffer from urinary incontinence by 70% by improving their incontinence problems. In particular, the symptom on which the training program of yoga has had the greatest effect was the stress caused incontinence or losses induced incontinence, which increases the abdominal pressure.
– A word to Dr. Cinzia Bulletti, obstetrician-gynaecologist at Humanitas in Milan.
Does yoga really improve the pelvic health of women as highlighted in the study conducted by American researchers?
“Yoga, as well as Pilates and gymnastics across the pelvic area, can solve the problems of incontinence by providing exercises that help improve breathing as well as strengthen the muscles that control the pelvic static altered during childbirth and pregnancy, and return one to an optimal physiological shape. Group lessons in gymnastics, for example, represent a viable alternative to surgery. Toning the pelvic muscles has both an immediate and long term benefit and it helps reduce the possibility of prolapse.”
What are the most common disorders that affect the pelvic area?
“The main diseases that affect the pelvic area are urinary incontinence, faecal incontinence, uterine-vaginal prolapse, constipation, discomfort and pain during sexual intercourse. Urinary incontinence occurs with modest or significant loss of urine, even during sex. It can also be accompanied with increased urination, the need to urinate at night (nocturia) and increased risk of urinary infections. Anorectal dysfunction can be constipation or faecal incontinence that causes difficulty to hold stool or gas. These are disorders that heavily impact the daily life as well as the serenity of the woman, with important consequences in the working life, relational and social environments.”
What are some prevention tips for urinary incontinence?
“Prevention is particularly important in pregnancy and menopause. It can – through a healthy lifestyle – reduce the risk of such disorders. It is particularly useful to:
- avoid smoking because it causes deterioration of collagen
- maintain a proper weight to avoid the increased pressure of the pelvic muscles
- ensure adequate bowel regularity
- avoid lifting weights over 10-15 pounds and perform heavy work without special aids.
It is also good to remember that these are curable diseases that should always be discussed with your family doctor first, and then evaluated by a specialist, to avoid a net reduction in the quality of life.”