I received a recent blog comment from a woman who said that losing 10-15 pounds made a huge difference in her ability to control light bladder leakage. Have you noticed a link between weight and LBL?
To get some facts, I asked Jason Gilleran, MD, a urologist at Beaumont Women’s Urology Center in Royal Oak, Michigan. “Being overweight is more prevalent in society today, and data about the relationship between being overweight and bladder leakage are coming out now,” he said. Dr. Gilleran told me about the P.R.I.D.E. study (Program to Reduce Incontinence by Diet and Exercise) recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Some 330 women with an average weight of about 200 pounds took part, and showed those who lost 10% of their body weight had a 70% reduction in leakage episodes. “That’s only 20 pounds off a 200 pound person,” Dr. Gilleran said. “Weight puts pressure on the bladder and pelvis. That pressure can translate into significant leakage. It’s not only the added pressure that can cause leakage. Other studies suggest that being overweight contributes to other types of incontinence not related to pressure.”
OK. But sometimes the real problem we have to overcome is seeking medical advice in the first place, right? Well Dr. Gilleran thinks this study should give many women the inspiration to visit a medical professional. “If you’ve avoided getting medical advice because you’re worried that all you’ll be offered is surgery, that’s not the case. We offer treatment options that are non-surgical and non-medical,” Gilleran said. “For example, I recently saw a woman who lost 60 pounds after making significant lifestyle changes and she’s completely dry now.”
Another fear among women who are trying to lose weight is joining a gym. They leak when they exercise, but to lose the extra weight they need to exercise. Dr. Gilleran said that some of these women can benefit from working with a physical therapist, and some may benefit from a minor procedure. Most of all, remember…you are not alone! ”We who specialize in this see patients with LBL every day. You are not alone. One in three women experiences it at one point or another in their lives,” Gilleran said. “We help women to not feel embarrassed. A lot of patients say, ‘I wish I had done this before.’”
What about you? Have you noticed a link between your weight and LBL?