What is the role of weight loss in urinary incontinence treatment?

Updated: Mar 19, 2019
  • Author: Sandip P Vasavada, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Given that obesity has been identified as a risk factor for development of urinary incontinence, it is not surprising that interventions to address obesity can result in improved continence. Researchers who followed a prospective cohort of women who were morbidly obese found that prevalence of urinary incontinence decreased after bariatric surgery. The magnitude of weight loss was associated with reduction in urinary incontinence prevalence. [93]

Another group demonstrated that a behavioral intervention targeting weight loss reduced urinary incontinence in women who were overweight and obese compared with a control group. [94]

The benefits of weight loss in patients who are overweight or obese are numerous and encompass improvements in type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and mood. The results above should encourage patients to consider weight loss as a first-line treatment for reducing urinary incontinence before embarking on more invasive medical and surgical therapies.

A study by Phelan et al found that moderate weight loss reduced the incidence of urinary incontinence among overweight/obese women with type 2 diabetes; however, it did not improve the resolution rates. [95]


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