HealthDay News — For frail older women, combining behavioral urinary incontinence (UI) treatments with physical activity may improve UI, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Kristine M.C. Talley, PhD, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues examined whether combining behavioral UI treatments with physical activity improved UI in 42 frail women (mean age, 84.9 ± 6.4 years) without dementia. The intervention comprised a 12-week program of customized behavioral UI treatments plus walking and strength training classes.

The researchers found that there was a 50 percent reduction in daily leaks in the treatment group, while the control group reported no change (P = 0.04). There were no between-group differences in total International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire (ICIQ) scores (P = 0.66), but significantly greater improvement was seen on the ICIQ item for urine leakage in the treatment group (P = 0.01). Improvement in UI was reported by >81 percent of the treatment group and 36 percent of the control group (P = 0.01), with a mean estimated percentage improvement of 65.3 ± 32 and 34.1 ± 41.3, respectively (P = 0.03). Treatment group participants improved their toileting skills, while those of the control group declined (Performance Oriented Timed Toileting Instrument: P = 0.42; Minnesota Toileting Skills Questionnaire: P = 0.11).

“Larger trials are needed to determine whether these findings can be replicated and sustained,” the authors write.

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Talley KM, Wyman JF, Bronas U, et al. Defeating Urinary Incontinence with Exercise Training: Results of a Pilot Study in Frail Older Women. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017;. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14798. [Epub ahead of print]