We all know that yoga is a te4rrific way to stay in shape, become fit, and get a good cardio work out. Most full time yoga-holics are in shape, and certainly this is true for yoga instructors. But like most women, yoga instrcutors are no different, especially in experiencing urinary incontinence.
A recent study from Norway evaluated hundreds of yoga instructors, most were women, by no surprise. Six hundred and eighty five women, with a mean age of 32.7 years answered a specially designed questionnaire. Interesting results were found.
26.3% of all the female instructors experienced urinary incontinence, with about 21% reporting that it occured about once a week, while 3% reported that it occured about 2-3 times a week. Only 1.7% reported that it occured more than once a day.
About 24% reported that the leakge was mild to moderate, but 15% reported leakage of urine during physical activity, and about 11% reproted incontinence during coughing and sneezing.
So what does this prove?
It means that physically fit women are more in tune with their bodies and may pay more attention to urine leakage that can occur which may be embarrassing or restrict activities, such as urine loss. Yet it may also more likely occur and be reported by women who actually were physically fit, and thus perhaps bother them more. A more sedintary woman may not experience urinary incontinence as much due to relative inactivity, or may not realize that she would pontenetially have it since she is not necessarily exercising regularly. Of course, if severe enough, urinary incontinence can occur no mater your body size.
Yoga positions themselves do not lead to urinary incontinence, but I wouldn't be surprised if certain positions put stress on the pelvis and bladder leading to leaking during yoga. The common life events that are risk factors for developing urinary incontinence are childbirth, aging, menopause, hysterectomy, and chronic straining (such as with high impact aerobics, chronic cough or constipation).
Matthew E. Karlovsky, M.D.
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