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Do the Bladder Dance! It Helps Urinary Incontinence

Groovin to the Music
Lisa F. Young

One in four women suffers from urinary incontinence, and it especially hits women 70 or older. One possible solution? Boogie, baby.

That's right - a new study found that a video that included a fun dance regimen in addition to exercises to strengthen pelvic-floor muscles helped women cut down on frequent trips to the bathroom.

Incontinence, or involuntary urine leakage, is caused by problems with the muscles and nerves that help to hold or release urine. Strengthening those muscles with Kegel exercises can be quite effective, but it's like any other exercise - you have to do it religiously every day before you see results.

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In the study, published in the journal Neurology and Urodynamics, Canadian and Swiss researchers created a video game with dance exercises to help treat 24 women suffering from urinary incontinence.

"Compliance with the program is a key success factor: The more you practice, the more you strengthen your pelvic-floor muscles," said lead researcher Chantal Dumoulin, Ph.D., of the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal. So the researchers made sure it was fun: They turned the weekly treatment plan into a game with dance moves that incorporated Kegel exercises.

"We quickly learned that the dance component was the part that the women found most fun and didn't want to miss," said Dumoulin. "The socialization aspect shouldn't be ignored either: They laughed a lot as they danced."

Plus, by strengthening their pelvic muscles as they danced, women gained confidence in their ability to control urine leakage during other activities, too, researchers said. As evidence, the women reported less daily urine leakage when the study was done.

Just as important, no one dropped out of the program.

The study didn't use a commercially available game, reported, but the software is similar to "Dance Dance Revolution."


Photo: lisafx/iStock

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