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Links Between Obesity And Incontinence

Posted in Personal Health 23 Jul, 2015

Obesity is the bane of modern life, along with Kim Kardashian, mortgage rate hikes, and motorway congestion. It's a contributor to, if not the instigator of, diabetes, heart disease, depression and now... incontinence.

That's right. Obesity may make you wee your pants, just like you did at Kanye West's Glastonbury performance (what can we say, Freddie? It's not my fault! I signed the petition.)

Dear Lord, Why?

Because Kanye is a… oh you mean the incontinence thing? Well, fat around the abdomen presses down on your bladder, and your bladder is not a weight lifter. Just like pregnant ladies who may wee themselves due to the weight of an unborn baby pressing down, your bladder and pelvic floor is under pressure from extra fat. Rather than explode, it thoughtfully lets some urine out instead.

Obesity also weakens the pelvic floor and abdomen muscles, leading to even less muscle tone and more leakage. It's an all round bad thing.

Is There Any Proof?

Common sense tells us that any weight pressing on your bladder will make you need to go, but just in case that's not enough to persuade you, weight reduction operations have shown that before their ops some patients were incontinent, and after they had lost the weight the majority regained control.

What Else Causes Incontinence?

Incontinence is a frequent complaint at the doctor's surgery. There are numerous reasons for it, such as:

  • Pregnancy
  • Infections, like cystitis
  • Bladder damage
  • Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis which interferes with the brain and spinal cord
  • Prostate problems
  • Some medications

Who Is At Risk of Incontinence?

The overweight and obese, folk with the above issues, and these groups too:

  • Incontinence becomes more of a problem as you get older.
  • You're more at risk if you have a family history of incontinence.
  • Those who've had lower urinary tract symptoms (a range of issues that affect the bladder and urethra).

Obesity was declared a global epidemic by the World Health Organisation in 1997. That was nearly 20 years ago, and matters have only worsened. Seriously, if you are overweight, take some steps to slim down for your own sake. If you have a family history of incontinence, don't use that as an excuse to avoid diet and exercise. You can help yourself.

What's It Going To Take?

Urinary incontinence is not pleasant, that's for sure. Psychologically and socially it will make your life a misery, but it won't kill you. Diabetes and heart disease, the close buddies of obesity, probably will. Perhaps the threat of incontinence might help people shift that weight, when life-threatening diseases won't? That's a sad state of affairs.

If you don't know where to start, call up your GP's surgery and ask if they have a weight reduction clinic. Many do, and they are a great way to get you on the road to health again. If not, look online for a support group and start making the life changes you need to live longer and healthier.

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