Reduce Bladder Symptoms With Weight Loss
Women who have issues with bladder control who happen to be overweight may want to think about losing some of the excess poundage. A new study finds that bladder control will improve when women lose even a moderate amount of weight.
It is known that overweight can be a risk factor for the condition known as urinary incontinence, in particular when the weight is accumulated in the abdominal area. It has also been found that shedding a few extra pounds can either keep urinary incontinence at bay or at least reduce the symptoms once they appear. But until now, no one knew just how much weight a woman had to lose in order to experience a significant reduction in symptoms.
In order to determine the correlation between amounts of weight lost with changes in bladder performance, researchers observed 338 British female participants who were either overweight or obese and suffered from urinary incontinence and compared them with a control group of 112 women, with the average age for both groups standing at 53.
Over the course of a year and a half, the participants kept journals in which they tracked their urinary incontinence symptoms on a weekly basis. The women were assigned at random to a weight loss program that focused on diet, exercise, and behavioral changes, or to a group receiving information on weight loss and healthy lifestyle habits.
The women who entered the weight loss program were instructed to follow a low-calorie diet of 1,200-1,800 calories per day and were encouraged to start a gradual course of exercise until they had reached a ceiling of 3 hours of exercise a week, engaging in activities such as fast-paced walking. This group also took advantage of once-weekly group sessions that educated the women on healthy lifestyle changes. Those women in the control group, who took only general classes on diet, weight loss, and exercise, partook of just seven classes over the entire 18-month study period.
The researchers observed that the participants who lost 5%-10% of their pre-study weight were 2-4 times likelier to have a marked improvement in their symptoms of urinary incontinence when compared to women who gained weight. More than half of those participants who lost weight, 54%, said they had a significant decline in symptoms by the end of a year and a half. This is compared to the experience of the women who gained weight, only 37% of whom reported a reduction in such symptoms during this time period.
Researchers defined a significant reduction in symptoms as 70% fewer episodes of incontinence in a given week. The scientists found that losing extra weight can not only reduce urinary incontinence symptoms but can also prevent them.