The Role of Yoga in the Management of Bladder Pain Syndrome: A Single-Arm Pilot Study

Salil Khandwala, MD, FACOG, FPMRS; Jason Cruff, DO, FACOG


Background • Bladder pain syndrome (BPS) is a devastating urologic condition characterized by irritative bladder symptoms, pelvic pain, and dyspareunia. First-line treatment includes dietary, self-care and behavioral modifications. The ancient practice of yoga is well suited to treat BPS, but evidence is lacking on its use.
Aims • To investigate the feasibility and efficacy of an integrated yoga module on BPS outcomes as measured by self-reported questionnaires from baseline to 3 months after therapy.
Methods and Materials • This was a prospective single-arm study of 8 patients who underwent 3 months of integrated yoga therapy. The treatment module was performed 3 to 4 times weekly at home with 1 session performed weekly in-office during the first month to ensure proper performance of postures. Patients completed questionnaires (Pelvic Pain and Urgency/Frequency Patient Symptom Scale [PUF], Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire – short form 7 [PFIQ-7], Short Form 36 questionnaire [SF-36], Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index [PSQI]) at baseline and 3 months, including Patient Global Impression of Improvement (PGI-I) at the 3-month follow-up visit. Voiding diaries were also requested at baseline and at the 3-month assessment.
Results • There was a trend toward improvement regarding patients’ responses to all questionnaires 3 months after yoga therapy, with the only statistically significant improvements noted in social function and pain components of the SF-36. There were no significant changes noted on the voiding diaries except a non-statistically significant trend toward increased voided volumes. Patients rated their experiences with yoga therapy positively.
Conclusions • Yoga therapy for BPS showed evidence of benefit for improving bothersome bladder symptoms, pain and voiding. A randomized controlled trial will follow to investigate the efficacy of this yoga module against a control group. (Adv Mind Body Med. 2020;34(4):4-9.)

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