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Obesity Shown to Impact Incontinence Severity

Last Updated: January 28, 2010.

Obese women with urinary incontinence have more severe symptoms than their overweight or normal weight counterparts, according to trial results published in the February issue of The Journal of Urology.

THURSDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Obese women with urinary incontinence have more severe symptoms than their overweight or normal weight counterparts, according to trial results published in the February issue of The Journal of Urology.

Holly E. Richter, M.D., of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues analyzed data from two trials comprising 655 and 597 women, of whom 45 percent were obese. The researchers looked at data from a three-day diary detailing frequency of incontinence, urodynamic testing, and a quality-of-life questionnaire.

The higher the women's weight, the more likely they were to have a higher frequency of incontinence episodes, as well as higher Incontinence Impact Questionnaire scores and Valsalva leak point pressure, the researchers found. In one trial, obesity was also associated with a higher mean Urogenital Distress Inventory score, but this was not the case in the other study, the investigators discovered.

"Obese women planning incontinence surgery have more severe urinary incontinence symptom distress, quality-of-life impact and objective findings than normal weight women," the authors write. "Surprisingly, obese women also seem to have better urethral function as measured by traditional urodynamic techniques. Factors other than urethral failure may contribute to urinary incontinence in obese women. Further investigation into urethral function changes with stress events is warranted."

Several authors reported financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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