Urinary incontinence, which is defined as losing control of your bladder, can be caused by one or more factors such as excess fluid intake, certain medications, and damage to your pelvic floor from undergoing surgery or childbirth. Being overweight or obese can also lead to urinary incontinence as a result of having a weakened bladder and pelvic floor muscles, which may eventually occur due to lack of exercise. However, a new study is showing that weight-loss surgery has the ability to improve urinary incontinence in morbidly obese women in the years following surgery.
The study was led by Leslee Subak, MD from the University of California at San Francisco, and was presented at this year’s American Urogynecologic Society and International Urogynecological Association 2014 Scientific Meeting. According to Subak, obese women are four times more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence than women who are in a healthy, normal weight range by medical standards. The study shows that an improvement in urinary incontinence is yet another long-term benefit of weight-loss surgery.
As women become more obese, urinary incontinence worsens, and can occur when sneezing, coughing, exercising, laughing, and after urination as a result of failing to fully empty the bladder. At the urogynecological meeting, Subak explained that new evidence continues to be uncovered that links urinary incontinence with obesity.
The study involved 1,565 women of an average age of 46 years who had previously undergone either gastric banding or gastric bypass weight-loss surgery. Roughly seven percent of the women had also undergone surgery specifically to treat urinary incontinence, and another eight percent had taken medications to treat their problems with incontinence. The average body mass index (BMI) of all women involved in the study was 46. Approximately 27 percent of the women reported that they experienced urinary incontinence on a daily basis, and 22 percent reported experiencing episodes about once per week.
At the end of the study, it was found that for every five percent of weight loss that occurred, women experienced a 30 percent greater chance of improvement with urinary incontinence as a whole. In most cases, women were able to lose up to six times more than the five percent benchmark — meaning that their odds of improving urinary incontinence were about eight times better.
Subak’s study further supports the link between weight-loss surgery and improved urinary incontinence in morbidly obese women. The more weight you end up losing, the better your outcome will be.
CarePoint Health Center for Bariatric Surgery offers a number of different weight-loss surgeries to help you meet your weight-loss goals. To learn more about our bariatric surgery options, contact us at 201-795-8175 and register for our free seminar.
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