Doctors at Loyola University Health System in Chicago Illinois, USA are conducting a clinical trial using cognitive therapy to treat urge incontinence . This new method employs meditation-like techniques that range from deep-breathing to guided imagery exercises that train the brain to control the bladder.
The average age of the patients was 62 and consisted mainly of women. These patients were submitted to a series of cognitive therapy, twice a day for two weeks they had to listen to an audio recording with a series of relaxation and visualization exercises.
These women then had to register the number of incontinence episodes in a pre and post-therapy diary. Findings from the study revealed that cognitive therapy is an effective treatment for urge incontinence with the average number of bladder-leakage episodes decreasing from 38 to 12.
One of the study’s patients experienced a dramatic improvement in her symptoms, before entering the clinical trial; she saturated several incontinence pads a day. Nowadays, she is 98% free of leakage. The therapy has allowed her to successfully recognize the link between her brain and bladder to manage incontinence and remain virtually accident-free.
She tells us that she was embarrassed to leave the house because of her condition and that she had an extremely embarrassing public accident where she ruined the upholstery on her friend’s chair. The episode forced her to turn to physicians for alternative measures to treat her incontinence.
Incontinence and Bladder problems affect about 6 million people in the UK. Cognitive therapy may play a vital role in a comprehensive approach to treating this disorder. The mind-body connection has proven to be particularly valuable for these women, because they are motivated to make a change to regain control over their bodies. In addition to using cognitive therapy to treat urge incontinence, other types of incontinence can be managed with physical therapy, lifestyle changes, medication and surgery.
Don’t let incontinence control your life and lifestyle. Talk to your doctor, family and friends, incontinence is treatable and it is nothing to be ashamed off.