That’s small effort for big payoff. If you’ve experienced the frustration and embarrassment of urinary incontinence (UI), an involuntary loss of urine, you might be dancing up a storm in no time.
Millions of women around the world have this condition. For some, it can be a mild irritation but, for others, it is overwhelming. While UI can start at any age, it is common among older women. Drugs and surgery are courses of treatment, but a promising new therapy has serious appeal.
Researchers at the Institut universitaire de geriatrie de Montreal in collaboration with the Swiss federal Institute of Technology discovered that dance and virtual reality can be a recipe for treatment when it comes to urinary incontinence in older women.
During group physiotherapy sessions, the researchers added dance exercises via a video game console to the exercise program, specifically for pelvic floor muscles, for 24 participants. The participants experienced a decrease in daily urine leakage. Because of the positive results, no one dropped out of the program. As the sessions went on, word spread and more people wanted to join the virtual dance. The social aspect of the sessions, and all the laughter, was also a drawing card.
Urinary incontinence happens when there is a problem with the muscles and nerves that help to hold or release urine. Leakage can occur if the bladder muscles suddenly contract or the sphincter muscles are not strong enough to hold back the urine.
With the dance treatment, the women had to move their legs quickly to keep up with the moves in the video game, while at the same time controlling their urine. The women reported that they realized the more they practiced the dance, the stronger their pelvic floor muscles would be. Those who stuck with the exercise routine found that they can contract their pelvic floor muscles when they perform any activity to prevent urine leakage, not just while dancing.
One in three women will experience an unexpected leak at some point in their lives. Stress or physical changes from pregnancy, childbirth or menopause can often cause incontinence, and can be treated easily.
In other cases though, people wet their clothes regularly. It can be an uncomfortable subject to discuss with your doctor, but it is important to address, since it can impact your quality of life. If you experience UI on a regular basis then speak to your doctor.
Seeking medical attention is important for a few key reasons:
*It may be a sign of some other serious condition.
*It could be limiting your social interaction and physical activity.
*It can increase the risk of falls in older people as they rush to make it to the washroom.
Researchers says the promising results from the virtual reality experiment could lead to a randomized clinical trial to measure the effectiveness of this new concept of dancing away the problem.