For young or middle-aged women who are overweight or obese and have urinary incontinence, weight loss is likely to reduce the problem, according to a research analysis in Obesity Reviews in December 2018.
Pooling data from 14 long-term observational studies involving women ages 55 and younger, it found that being overweight increased the risk of urinary incontinence by 35 percent, and being obese doubled the risk, compared to normal weight. (Overweight is defined as a body mass index of 25 to 30; obesity, 30 and over.)
Excess weight increases the risk of urinary incontinence in large part by adding intra-abdominal pressure on the bladder and by weakening muscles in the pelvic floor. Since young women today are heavier than in previous generations, the prevalence of urinary incontinence is likely to increase, the researchers noted.Studies on older women were not included in the analysis because their risk factors forurinary incontinence are somewhat different.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see How to Train Your Bladder.