Weight loss improves female urinary incontinence

October 22, 2002 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Weight loss improves female urinary incontinence

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco have found that women with urinary incontinence who lose weight have fewer episodes of urine loss, even nine months after the weight loss. The decrease in weekly episodes of urine loss was 50% to 60%, very similar to what can be achieved with drug treatment. People who are overweight are at risk for incontinence.

Women who were overweight or obese who reported more than four episodes of incontinence a week were randomized to two groups of 20 each. The first group immediately participated in a program of weight loss; the other group delayed entry to the weight loss program for 3 months to serve as a "control" group.

The weight loss program consisted of a very low calorie liquid diet that provides 500 to 800 calories a day, exercise and behavioral modification. No instruction was given on managing incontinence.

Women lost, on average, 35 pounds. Incontinent episodes fell from an average of 25 per week to 11 at 3 months, and 12 at 9 months.

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