Meditate your way to better bladder health

May 04, 2009

After nine years of suffering in silence and living in fear of leaving the house, Anna Raisor, 53, turned to physicians at Loyola University Health System (LUHS) for alternative measures to treat the embarrassing side effects of incontinence.

LUHS physicians enrolled Raisor in a clinical trial using cognitive therapy to manage her overactive bladder. Cognitive therapy employs deep-breathing and guided-imagery exercises that train the brain to control the bladder without medication or surgery.

Findings from this study, which were published in the latest issue of the , revealed that cognitive therapy is an effective management strategy for urge incontinence.

"The mind-body connection has proven to be particularly valuable for women suffering from incontinence," said study investigator Aaron Michelfelder, MD, vice chair, division of family medicine, Loyola University Health System, and associate professor, department of family medicine, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "Cognitive therapy is effective with these women, because they are motivated to make a change and regain control over their body."

Michelfelder's patients attend an initial office visit where he introduces them to cognitive therapy. They then listen to an audio recording with a series of relaxation and visualization exercises at home twice a day for two weeks. Patients track the number of incontinence episodes that they experience in a pre- and post-therapy diary. The majority of patients, including Raisor, experienced a substantial improvement in symptoms.

"Before entering this clinical trial, I saturated seven to eight pads a day and was afraid to leave home as a result," said Raisor. "Today, I am 98 percent free of leakage. The therapy has allowed me to successfully recognize the link between my brain and bladder to manage my incontinence and remain virtually accident-free."

The study evaluated a subset of 10 patients with a mean age of 62. Patients were eligible to participate in this study, if they had a diagnosis of (OAB), which is the sudden and unstoppable need to urinate. They also had to be stable on all OAB treatments for the past three months before entering the study. The data revealed that the average number of urge incontinence episodes per week decreased from 38 to 12.

"Nearly one in four women suffers from a pelvic floor disorder, which includes incontinence," said study investigator Mary Pat FitzGerald, MD, urogynecologist, Loyola University Health System, and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "Cognitive therapy may play a vital role in a comprehensive approach to treating this disorder."

Study investigators FitzGerald and fellow Shameem Abbasy, MD, are part of a team of LUHS urogynecologists who are combining the expertise of urologists and gynecologists to transform the way women with incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders are managed. Loyola University Health System's Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery Center was the first of its kind in greater Chicago. It is still one of the few centers in the country that offers a single location for the diagnosis and treatment of women with disorders.

In addition to using cognitive therapy to treat , LUHS urogynecologists have been using the robotic da Vinci™ surgical system with positive outcomes for nearly two years. LUHS was one of the first groups in Chicago to offer this type of minimally invasive robotic surgery.

Source: Loyola University Health System (news : web)

Explore further: US scientists make embryonic stem cells from adult skin

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study shows 1 in 3 women has pelvic floor disorder

Mar 01, 2008

A new study by Kaiser Permanente found that one-third of women suffer from one or more pelvic floor disorders, which include symptoms such as the frequent urge to urinate, dropped pelvic organs, and incontinence. The study, ...

Weight loss reduces incontinence for women

Jan 28, 2009

Starting a weight-loss regimen significantly reduces urinary incontinence for women, according to researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the University of California, San Francisco.

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

Apr 17, 2014

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds

Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her ...

How to keep your fitness goals on track

(HealthDay)—The New Year's resolutions many made to get fit have stalled by now. And one expert thinks that's because many people set their goals too high.

Low tolerance for pain? The reason may be in your genes

Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 66th Annual ...

AMA examines economic impact of physicians

(HealthDay)—Physicians who mainly engage in patient care contribute a total of $1.6 trillion in economic output, according to the American Medical Association (AMA)'s Economic Impact Study.

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.