How yoga can improve symptoms of incontinence

How yoga can improve symptoms of incontinence
7 May 2024

How yoga can improve symptoms of incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a common health issue that affects millions of people and their quality of life. Typically seen as the involuntary leakage of urine, urinary incontinence can lead to embarrassment, anxiety, and social withdrawal.

Fortunately, yoga can improve incontinence symptoms and is a reliable and gentle way to manage bladder control by strengthening pelvic floor muscles.

This introduction to yoga for incontinence offers practical solutions to regain control over your bladder. Through regular yoga practice, you can manage the symptoms of urinary incontinence and improve overall physical and mental health.

  • How does yoga help manage incontinence?
  • What is the evidence supporting yoga for incontinence management?
  • What are some effective yoga poses for managing incontinence?
  • Manage your incontinence symptoms confidently with Incontinence Shop 

How does yoga help manage incontinence?

Yoga is a common practice for mental and physical relaxation, but it's also a proven therapeutic activity known to reduce the symptoms of urinary incontinence. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, yoga helps improve bladder leak control and pelvic muscle stability.

Strengthening pelvic floor muscles

One of the main effects of yoga on incontinence is strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the bladder and regulate urine flow, so regular yoga practice that includes poses specifically targeting the pelvic area can greatly reduce incidents of urine leakage.

This is particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing stress incontinence, where bladder leaks occur during physical activities such as coughing or exercising.

Better bodily awareness

Through yoga, you become more attuned to your body's workings—more specifically, your pelvic muscles. Eventually, you'll learn to activate and relax these muscles effectively, which will help you better manage sudden urges and prevent bladder leaks.

Reduces stress

Stress can worsen many health-related symptoms, including those related to urinary incontinence. The calming effects of yoga, through its meditative practices and breath control techniques, help to lower stress levels, potentially reducing the amount and severity of urinary incontinence episodes.

The pelvic floor muscles support pelvic organs, including the bladder. Weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to urinary incontinence. However, specific yoga poses can target and strengthen these muscles.

What is the evidence supporting yoga for incontinence management?

A number of research and real-life case studies support yoga's positive impact on managing urinary incontinence.  Several studies have focused on the effects of yoga on women with incontinence issues, especially those with an overactive bladder.

One notable study from Yoga U Online demonstrated that women in a yoga programme designed for pelvic health saw a noteworthy reduction in their symptoms compared to those who did not practice. The yoga group reported fewer instances of incontinence and an improved quality of life.

What are some effective yoga poses for managing incontinence?

Integrating yoga into the management of urinary incontinence can lead to meaningful improvements. Specific core postures on a yoga mat target and strengthen the pelvic floor, which is best for improving bladder control. Here’s a closer look at some of the most effective yoga poses, including Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and Mula Banhda.

Mula Bandha (Root Lock)

Mula Bandha is ideal for activating and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. This lock helps improve bladder control and reduce incidents of urinary leakage.

Sit comfortably with your spine straight. Focus on the pelvic area; contract the muscles around the groin, drawing them upward. Hold this contraction for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat several times during your meditation or yoga practice.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

This pose helps realign your posture, which is great for proper pelvic organ positioning and improved bladder control.

Stand with your feet together, and distribute your weight evenly across both feet. Engage your thighs to lift the kneecaps, tuck your tailbone slightly, and engage the pelvic floor. Lengthen your spine as you reach your arms towards the ceiling, palms facing each other. Hold the pose while taking deep, even breaths.

Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

Utkatasana strengthens the thighs and buttocks while putting gentle pressure on the pelvic floor, enhancing its strength and endurance.

Stand in Tadasana, raise your arms perpendicular to the floor, bend your knees, and try to bring your thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible. Keep your inner thighs parallel to each other, and press the heads of the thigh bones down toward the heels. Hold the position for 30 seconds to a minute.

Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)

This pose directly engages and strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, supporting the bladder and reducing the risk of urine leakage.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Press your feet and arms into the floor and lift your hips towards the ceiling, keeping your thighs and feet parallel. Clasp your hands under your back and press your arms down to lift your torso higher. Hold for up to one minute, then release gently.

Integrating these poses into a regular yoga practice can significantly improve pelvic floor strength and bladder control, offering a holistic approach to managing urinary incontinence. Regularly practising these core postures on a yoga mat makes yoga an active treatment for urinary incontinence. 

Floor Physical Exercises

Alongside yoga poses like Mountain Pose, floor physical exercises can improve pelvic muscle tone and stability, further helping manage bladder leaks.

Include exercises like pelvic tilts and bridges, which can be done before or after performing yoga poses. These movements help strengthen the lower back and pelvic muscles, providing additional support to bladder control.

By consistently including these yoga practices in your routine, you can experience significant improvements in managing urinary incontinence. Each session on your yoga mat contributes to a stronger pelvic floor, better posture, and enhanced control over bladder functions, proving yoga to be an effective and active treatment option.

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