Weight and Incontinence

The following is the third post in a series on overactive bladder (OAB) by Dr. Karen Noblett, a California based OB/GYN and expert in urinary incontinence and overactive bladder.

Dr. Karen Noblett 300x300 Weight and Incontinence Photo

Dr. Karen Noblett explains why being overweight can increase a woman’s chance of experiencing incontinence.

There are many factors that can impact a woman’s likelihood of developing a pelvic floor disorder (PFD). In addition to age, vaginal childbirth, menopause, and smoking, weight can also play a factor in increasing a woman’s chance of developing a PFD.

PFDs occur when women have weakened pelvic muscles or tears in the connective tissues that cause bladder control problems, bowel control problems or pelvic organ prolapse, which is the dropping of the bladder, urethra, cervix and/or rectum caused by the loss of normal support of the vagina. Overweight or obese women have increased pressure on the bladder and often lack strength in their pelvic muscles, and they are at an increased risk of developing pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.

Besides all the other health benefits of maintaining a healthy weight, women who are obese and suffering from incontinence are advised to lose weight through a balanced diet and exercise in order to help control and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and alleviate incontinence. In fact, overweight or obese women who lose weight have shown to decrease weekly incontinence episodes by more than half.

To learn more about PFDs and incontinence, read the Vitals Urge Incontinence Patient Guide.