Background: Urinary incontinence (UI) is prevalent among women and seriously impairs the quality of life. Urinary incontinence is believed to be associated with a decrease in estrogen and estrogen regeneration improves these signs. We conducted the present study to assess the effects of aquatic exercise on multiple domains of urinary leakage and estradiol level in postmenopausal women.
Methods: In this semi-experimental study, 24 postmenopausal women with UI were selected from October to December 2019 in Arak, Iran. They were randomized into the aquatic exercise (n=12) and control (n=12) groups. Aquatic exercise was carried out at moderate intensity, three days per week for eight weeks in 33–34°C, swimming pool. The control group did not participate in a supervised program. The International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire–Short Form (ICIQ-SF) was used to assess urinary incontinence and blood samples were collected 48 hours before and after the last sessions of exercise training. In addition, UI-related practices and the use and modification of daily protection were examined. Estradiol was assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA assay). The data were analyzed utilizing paired t test or Wilcoxon test in SPSS version 21.
Results: The mean age of the subjects was 56.77 years old; 78.6% were married and 58% were overweight. The ICIQ-SF score (P=0.03) as well as severity of urinary incontinence symptoms (P=0.05) in the exercise group improved significantly compared to those in the control group. Furthermore, no significant differences in estradiol level were observed between the groups (P>0.05).
Conclusion: Aquatic exercise was found to be beneficial and improved fitness and severity of urinary incontinence in postmenopausal women although this improvement occurred without changes in estrogen levels.