Being overweight or obese is linked with an increased risk of developing urinary incontinence for young to mid-aged women, according to an Obesity Reviews analysis of all relevant published studies.
When compared with 'normal' body mass index, overweight was associated with a one-third increase in risk of urinary incontinence, while the risk was doubled in women with obesity.
The findings indicate that clinical advice to young women who are obese or at risk of becoming obese should not be limited to metabolic health, but should also emphasize the role of excess weight on pelvic floor weakening and subsequent risk of incontinence.
"We know that urinary incontinence can be a complex issue, especially among younger women," said lead author Tayla Lamerton, of The University of Queensland, in Australia. "Understanding overweight and obesity as a determinant of urinary incontinence could play a role in the way we counsel those affected by the condition, and our findings provide a building block to further explore lifestyle interventions for preventing and managing incontinence."