A recent study that paired virtual reality and dance shows promise in treating urinary incontinence in older women. In the study, a series of dance exercises were combined with video to create a physiotherapy program directed at strengthening pelvic floor muscles.
Twenty-four senior women age 65 and older with at least two weekly episodes of mixed urinary incontinence participated in the study program. Adherence is necessary for the participants to be successful. “Our challenge was to motivate the women to show up each week. We quickly learned the dance component was the part that the women found most fun and didn’t want to miss,” said Chantal Dumoulin, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Urogynaecological Health and Aging and lead researcher at the Institut Universitaire de Geriatrie de Montreal in a release.
The study, published in Neurourology and Urodynamics, found that by doing rapid leg movements along with the video, the women learned to control urine flow. With this new-found confidence, they learned to control flow during other activities as well. Fun coupled with socialization also resulted in a decrease in urine leakage and more consistent participation.