Yoga for Women With Urgency Urinary Incontinence: A Pilot Study

Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2021 Jan 1;27(1):57-62. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000723.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a gentle yoga program for women with urgency urinary incontinence (UUI). Also, these preliminary data can evaluate if yoga improves symptom burden, quality of life, and inflammatory biomarkers for women with UUI.

Methods: This prospective nonrandomized single-arm pilot study evaluated the effectiveness of a twice-weekly, 8-week gentle yoga intervention to reduce UUI symptom burden. Changes in symptom burden were measured using the Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory 20. Secondary measures included quality of life, depressive symptoms, sleep, stress, anxiety, and inflammatory biomarkers. Outcomes were evaluated with paired t testing.

Results: Twelve women completed the yoga intervention with no adverse outcomes noted. Urgency symptom burden was significantly improved after the intervention (P = 0.01), and women reported an increase in quality of life (P = 0.04) after the yoga intervention. Following the yoga intervention, the majority of women reported symptoms as "much better" (n = 4 [33%]) and "a little better" (n = 5 [42%]), with 3 women (25%) reporting "no change." Women also reported significant reduction in depressive symptoms (P = 0.03) and better quality of sleep (P = 0.03). No significant changes were found in anxiety or stress perception. Plasma levels of the inflammatory biomarker tumor necrosis factor α were reduced after yoga intervention (P = 0.009); however, no significant postyoga changes were found for interleukin 6 or C-reactive protein.

Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that yoga is a feasible complementary therapy that reduces incontinence symptom burden, along with improving quality of life, depressive symptoms, and sleep quality. Additionally, yoga may lower inflammatory biomarkers associated with incontinence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Urinary Incontinence, Urge / therapy*
  • Yoga*