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    Weight-loss surgery may reduce incontinence


    At 1 year after surgery, women had lost a mean of 29.5% of body weight and men had lost 27%. The prevalence of incontinence had fallen markedly, to 18.3% among women and 9.8% among men. Three years after surgery, the prevalence was higher than at 1 year (24.8% for women, 12.2% for men) but still substantially below baseline.

    The odds of improved incontinence increased with the amount of weight lost. The risk of relapse increased with each 10-pound weight gain. Younger age and absence of severe walking limitations were associated with greater improvement; recent pregnancy was associated with less improvement.

    Although previous studies have shown reduced incontinence a year after weight loss by such methods as a low-calorie diet, behavioral modification, and bariatric surgery, “there wasn’t evidence on the longer-term effects of these changes,” said lead author Leslee L. Subak, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco. “Improvement in urinary incontinence may help motivate severely obese men and women with incontinence to undergo bariatric surgery or other weight-loss interventions and improve long-term weight maintenance,” he noted.

    The study, which was published online in JAMA Internal Medicine (June 22, 2015), was supported by the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery 2, a cooperative agreement funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Dr. Subak has received a grant from the NIDDK.

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