Health knowledge and news provided by doctors.

Urinary Incontinence In Women Improved With Weight Loss


Patients are often advised to lose weight to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and osteoarthritis. Now, there is evidence that weight loss and lifestyle changes can help control urinary incontinence.

Researchers from multiple medical centers (listed below)published a study in the January 29, 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is called the Program to Reduce Incontinence by Diet and Exercise (PRIDE). It involved 338 women, clinically overweight or obese who had episodes of incontinence 10 or more times each week.

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. The condition can range from leaking a small amount of urine to having very strong urges to urinate that are difficult to control. Millions of adults in the United States suffer from urinary incontinence.

Common causes of temporary urinary incontinence are limited mobility, childbirth, medication side effects, or urinary tract infection. Conditions that may factor into chronic urinary incontinence include bladder muscle weakness, brain or spinal cord injury, nerve disorders, pelvic floor muscle weakness, vaginal prolapse and blocked urethra (due to benign prostate hyperplasia, tumor, etc.) also add to the equation.

The 338 women were divided into two groups. One group was assigned to an intensive six-month weight-loss program including diet, exercise, and behavior modification. The second group received information about diet and exercise but were given no additional help losing weight.

Follow eMaxHealth on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Please, click to subscribe to our Youtube Channel to be notified about upcoming health and food tips.

At the end of the six-month study, women in the first group lost an average of 8 % of their body weight and weekly incontinence episodes were cut by 47 %. Women in the second group lost an average of only 1.6 % of their body weight and experienced only 28 percent fewer episodes of incontinence.

I would encourage anyone with urinary incontinence to note that improvement was send with only a small amount of weight loss (2-8% of body weight).

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It was funded by the Office of Research on Women's Health and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases, jointly. The participating centers included the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco (L.L.S., E.V., J.M.C., J.M., D.G.); Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI (R.W.); the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, RI (R.W., D.M.); the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, College of Public Health, Little Rock (D.S.W.); the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham (F.F., H.E.R., K.L.B.); the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs, Birmingham, AL (K.L.B.); the University of Connecticut, Storrs (A.A.G.); the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD (J.W.K.); and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco (D.G.).

SourceSkip Navigation

Weight Loss to Treat Urinary Incontinence in Overweight and Obese Women; NEJM, Vol 360, No 5, pp 481-490, Jan 29, 2009; Leslee L. Subak, M.D., Rena Wing, Ph.D., Delia Smith West, Ph.D., Frank Franklin, M.D., Ph.D., Eric Vittinghoff, Ph.D., Jennifer M. Creasman, M.S.P.H., Holly E. Richter, Ph.D., M.D., Deborah Myers, M.D., Kathryn L. Burgio, Ph.D., Amy A. Gorin, Ph.D., Judith Macer, B.Sc., John W. Kusek, Ph.D., Deborah Grady, M.D., M.P.H., for the PRIDE Investigators (abstract)