Weight loss reduces incontinence in women with type 2 diabetes

Moderate weight loss reduces the incidence of urinary incontinence among overweight and obese women with type 2 diabetes, according to a study in The Journal of Urology.

Each kilogram of weight lost was associated with a 3 percent reduction in the odds of urinary incontinence developing.

Weight losses of 5 percent to 10 percent of baseline weight reduced those odds by 47 percent.

Of the more than 2,700 women participating in this study, some were placed in an intensive lifestyle weight loss intervention regimen, while others were put in a diabetes support and education program.

After one year of the study, the intensive lifestyle weight loss intervention group lost 7.7 kilograms, or nearly 17 pounds. This compares with 0.7 kilograms, or about 1.5 pounds, in the diabetes support and education group.

At the one-year mark, 25.3 percent of women in the intensive lifestyle intervention group reported urinary incontinence, while 28.6 percent of the diabetes support group reported incontinence. At the beginning of the program, 27 percent of participants in both groups had reported urinary incontinence.

While weight loss can reduce the frequency of incontinence, the study found that it did not improve the rate of cure at the one-year mark.

Nevertheless, the study concluded that weight loss interventions are recommended for the prevention of urinary incontinence in overweight and obese women with diabetes.

Half of women experience incontinence
People who are overweight are at a higher risk of stress urinary incontinence (SUI), according to The Simon Foundation for Continence. About 50 percent of women occasionally experience SUI as well.

In SUI, the extra weight around the abdomen adds stress and pressure to the muscles of the pelvic flood, which hold the bladder and bowel in place. As the pelvic flood muscles become damaged, the sphincter muscle loses its ability to clamp closed the urethra. This causes urine to leak out of the bladder during physical stress from coughing, laughing or sneezing.

Type 2 diabetes can increase the risk and severity of all types of urinary incontinence, according to the Simon Foundation.

One complication of diabetes is nerve damage, which can also affect the nerves in the bladder and bowel. This can lead to bladder overactivity, decreased bladder sensation, a weakened bladder muscle, and urinary tract infections.

High blood sugar levels can increase the amount of urine produced. In addition, about 60 percent of people with diabetes experience constipation, which also makes it difficult to empty the bladder. Some medications that treat diabetes can impair continence as well.

Source: The Journal of Urology, The Simon Foundation for Continence

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