If you're among the millions of women who suffer from urinary incontinence, losing weight might just ease your symptoms, a new study suggests. Published in the Jan. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the study found that when women lost about 8 percent of their body weight -- an average of 17 pounds for this group -- the frequency of incontinence episodes dropped by almost half.
"Weight is one of the biggest risk factors for developing incontinence and for worsening incontinence," said study author Dr. Leslee Subak, an associate professor in the departments of obstetrics, gynecology, reproductive sciences, urology and epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. More than 13 million American women have urinary incontinence problems, according to background information in the study. Observational studies have found an association between extra weight and incontinence, and other research has suggested that losing weight might be beneficial for relieving incontinence symptoms.