338 overweight and obese women with at least 10 urinary-incontinence episodes per week participated.
They were randomly assigned to 2 treatments.
A 6-month weight-loss program that included diet, exercise, and behavior modification.
A structured education program.
And, the results.
The women on the weight loss program had 8% weight loss vs 2% with education — a significant difference.
After 6 months, the average weekly number of incontinence episodes decreased 47% in the weight loss group vs 28% with education alone — a significant difference.
The weight loss group had a significantly greater decrease in the frequency of stress-incontinence episodes vs education, but not in urge-incontinence episodes.
Stress incontinence occurs when involuntary pressure is put on the bladder by coughing, laughing, sneezing, or lifting or straining.
Urge incontinence occurs when there is involuntary contraction of the bladder muscle resulting in an urgent need to urinate accompanied by a sudden loss of urine.
The weight loss group had a significant and clinically relevant reduction of at least 70% in the frequency of all incontinence episodes vs the education group.
The bottom line?
A 6-month weight-loss program that includes diet, exercise, and behavior modification seems like an effective tool to improve control over urinary incontinence — particularly stress incontinence.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.