Shedding Pounds Helps You Hold Your Pee

Diabetic women reduce risk of urinary incontinence by losing weight

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) If you are overweight or obese, you are prone to many different health problems, including a leaky bladder. Carrying all that extra weight around also puts you at risk of diabetes, another risk factor for urine leakage.

Overweight women with diabetes may prevent a leaky bladder if they lose weight.

"Exercise and eat healthy to prevent diabetes and urine leakage."

Obesity puts people at risk of a leaky bladder - also known as urinary incontinence. Research has shown that weight loss can reduce urine leakage.

Obesity also puts people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, suggesting that weight loss could be especially beneficial for overweight women with diabetes.

Lead researcher Suzanne Phelan, Ph.D., of California Polytechnic State University, and her colleagues wanted to see if an intensive weight loss intervention would reduce the risk of urine leakage among heavy women with diabetes.

The researchers divided 2,739 overweight or obese women with type 2 diabetes into two groups: an intensive lifestyle weight loss intervention group and a diabetes support and education group. Intensive lifestyle intervention involves making changes to diet and exercise.

From their study, Dr. Phelan and colleagues found that overweight women with diabetes who made changes to their diet and exercise habits lost an average of about 17 pounds. As they shed these pounds, they lowered their risk of urine leakage.

For every 2.2 pounds that a woman shed, the risk of urine leakage dropped by three percent.

At the beginning of the study, 73 percent of the study's participants had no urine leakage problems. Among these participants, 10.5 percent of those in the lifestyle intervention group developed a leaky bladder after one year. In comparison, 14 percent of those in the diabetes support group experienced urine leakage after one year.

Women who lost five to 10 percent of their weight lowered their risk of urine leakage by 47 percent.

"Weight loss interventions should be considered for the prevention of urinary incontinence in overweight/obese women with diabetes," the authors conclude.

The study is published in The Journal of Urology.

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Review Date: 
February 8, 2012
Last Updated:
February 9, 2012