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Incontinence and Weight Loss


Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine for any reason. It is a common yet embarrassing problem that can have a profound impact on quality of life. As many as 15% of Canadians have some form of urinary incontinence and are subject to embarrassing accidents, using adult diapers, and activity restrictions. There are many ways to treat incontinence, including exercises, medical devices, drugs, and even surgery. However, several studies show that weight loss can cause dramatic improvements in cases of incontinence often achieving better results than other therapies.

In one study, overweight/obese middle-age and older women who had 10 or more weekly episodes of incontinence were given information on bladder control and attended educational sessions, while some of them also engaged in an intensive weight loss program. After 6 months, the women in the weight loss program had lost an average of 17 pounds and experienced a 47 percent decrease in incontinence episodes while the women who did not lose weight had only a 28 percent reduction. After 18 months, the women who had lost 5-10 percent of their body weight were 2-4 times likelier to experience a 70 percent reduction in incontinence episodes than those who did not lose weight. Additionally, 75 percent of the women who lost weight were either moderately or very satisfied with the results.

Other studies have shown similar results with subjects who lose weight having anywhere from a 30-60 percent decrease in episodes of incontinence. Losing weight also reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and numerous other diseases so if you are overweight and suffer from incontinence, I urge you to watch your diet and try a little exercise. Even a 7 percent loss of body weight could give you relief from incontinence and boost your overall health significantly.

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