Using Your Mind To Improve Bladder Health

cognitive therapyA recent clinical trial studied whether or not cognitive therapy could be used to manage an overactive bladder.

Cognitive therapy uses deep breathing along with guided imagery exercises, much like meditation.

The study found that cognitive therapy was an effective tool.

Researchers said that for women suffering from incontinence, cognitive therapy was especially effective. The women were motivated to work on their mind-body connection; they wanted a positive change and they wanted to regain control over their bodies.

Participants in the study kept a diary tracking episodes of incontinence before and after cognitive therapy. Patients listened to an audio recording of a series of visualization and relaxation exercises twice a day, for 14 days, in their own homes.

One patient stated that before the trial, she was afraid to leave home, and often saturated 7 or 8 incontinence pads during the course of a single day. After the trial, she reported being virtually free from incontinence accidents.

To be eligible for participation in the study, patients had to have a diagnosis of overactive bladder, a condition marked by a sudden and uncontrollable need to urinate.

As noted above, this condition can become very detrimental to the patient’s quality of life. Many patients greatly curtain their social interaction, and some find it difficult to leave home.

Many are embarrassed by the need to use incontinence protection pads, and worry about the pads showing through their clothing, the pads leaking, and the possibility of urine odor.

If they do not use the pads, they worry that they cannot make it to the restroom in time, particularly in public places, and that they will become embarrassed and inconvenienced by wet clothing.

Before they could participate in the study, patients had to be stable on their treatment for overactive bladder for a period of three months.

On average, the number of urge incontinence accidents decreased from 38 to 12. Researchers noted that nearly 25 percent of all women suffer from some type of pelvic floor disorder such as incontinence.

Traditional approaches to managing female urinary incontinence and overactive bladder have involved surgery of the pelvic floor, and more recently medication.

This study clearly shows, however, that with proper training, women can learn to manage this problem using relaxation and visualization techniques. This is a great benefit to women who wish to minimize their use of medication and avoid surgical interventions.