Weight loss may help women beat incontinence

By Tom Nordlie • Published: December 6th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Growing older can be tough. Not just on your body, but on your dignity.

Some of the changes that accompany aging can be embarrassing.

One example… loss of bladder control, also known as urinary incontinence.

In some people, it’s triggered by sneezing or coughing.

In others, there’s just a sudden need for a bathroom.

Many things cause urinary incontinence. One is excess body weight.

And a study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests that heavy women can fight the problem by losing pounds.

The study involved more than three-hundred women, whose average age was in the early fifties.

They were overweight or obese, and had frequent episodes of urinary incontinence.

The entire group was given information on improving bladder control.

Two-thirds of them were assigned to a weight-loss program.

The others completed health education classes.

Eighteen months later, the study ended. Among the participants who lost five percent or more of their body weight, the number of incontinence episodes dropped by about two-thirds.

For women who lost a smaller percentage, and those who maintained their original weight, the number of episodes dropped by half.

And even women who gained weight showed improvement. For them, incontinence episodes dropped by forty percent.

That last result suggests that something more than weight loss was at work here.

The researchers speculated that the self-help information could be responsible, or perhaps that being in the study itself provided motivation.

Whatever the case, this study demonstrates that urinary incontinence can be tamed.

That’s great news.

Because growing older is tough enough.