Defeating Urinary Incontinence with Exercise Training: Results of a Pilot Study in Frail Older Women

Authors


Abstract

Objectives

To determine whether combining behavioral urinary incontinence (UI) treatments with physical activity improves UI in frail older women.

Design

Single-blind, two-arm pilot randomized controlled trial.

Setting

Senior apartments.

Participants

Frail women (mean age 84.9 ± 6.4) without dementia (n = 42).

Intervention

Twelve-week program of customized behavioral UI treatments: 150 minutes of weekly walking and twice weekly strength training classes.

Measurements

UI was measured using 3-day bladder diaries, the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire (ICIQ), and UI global improvement questions. Toileting skills were measured using the Performance Oriented Timed Toileting Instrument (POTTI) and the Minnesota Toileting Skills Questionnaire (MTSQ). Physical function was measured using the Short Physical Performance Battery. UI-related quality of life was measured using the Incontinence Impact Questionnaire and Urogenital Distress Inventory.

Results

The treatment group reported a 50% reduction in daily leaks using bladder diaries, and the control group reported no change (P = .04). Although there were no group differences in total ICIQ scores (P = .66), the treatment group reported significantly greater improvement on the ICIQ item for urine leakage (P = .01). More than 81% of the treatment group and 36% of the control group reported improvement in UI (χ2 = 4.84, P = .01), with mean estimated percentage improvement of 65.3 ± 32.0 versus 34.1 ± 41.3 (P = .03). Although the difference was not statistically significant, treatment group participants improved their toileting skills, whereas those of the control group declined (P = .42 POTTI, P = .11 MTSQ). Balance (P = .33) and gait (P = .24) improved more in the treatment group, whereas chair stands improved more in the control group (P = .14).

Conclusion

UI may be improved in frail older women by combining behavioral strategies for UI with physical activity, but larger trails are needed to determine whether these findings can be replicated and sustained.

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