The less stress you put on the bladder, the less you are likely to experience incontinence. Incontinence demands immediate bathroom breaks regardless of your situation. An important meeting, a wedding ceremony, a long road trip – it doesn't matter. Incontinence isn't discreet and often leaves you frantically searching for the facilities.
If you're carrying extra weight, your bladder can feel the pressure caused by those extra pounds. In an overweight person, the pelvic floor muscles have to work harder to keep the bladder firmly shut. Overworked to prevent leakage, the muscles, nerves, and the structure of the pelvic floor weaken. This constant strain increases the risk of urinary incontinence. Being overweight or obese (a BMI over 30 kg/m²) can cause urine leakage when you cough or sneeze, as the constant pressure caused by the excess weight stresses the bladder and the surrounding muscles.
Lose weight and gain incontinence control
One study found that overweight or obese women who lost an average of 7.8 kg decreased the number of episodes of incontinence by almost 50%, compared to the group that lost only 1.5 kg, who decreased the number of episodes by 28%. The higher weight loss group had a combination of diet, exercise, and behavioural modification sessions. The other group in the study was given information on diet and exercise – without any specific weight-loss training.
With statistics like this, researchers have suggested that healthy weight loss may be just as effective as surgical treatments in reducing incontinence.
Everyone knows that losing weight can be such a challenge. Here are a few tips that will help you to lose weight:
- Be realistic – healthy weight loss should happen slowly and steadily.
- Talk to your doctor about a plan that's best for you.
- Remember to limit foods that can trigger incontinence. Click here for more information on foods and beverages that can trigger incontinence.
- Set a goal for your weight loss plan and think long and short term.
- Make exercise part of your new lifestyle. Walk after dinner, take that flight of stairs instead of the elevator, keep active, and keep going.
Everyone has setbacks, and when you do, recommit and keep going. Don't get discouraged – remember that any weight loss really can improve your incontinence.
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