Weight loss prevents urinary incontinence in women with type 2 diabetes: Results from the look AHEAD trial

Academic Article


  • Purpose: We determined the effect of weight loss on the prevalence, incidence and resolution of weekly or more frequent urinary incontinence in overweight/obese women with type 2 diabetes after 1 year of intervention in the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial. Materials and Methods: Women in this substudy (2,739, mean ± SD age 57.9 ± 6.8 years, body mass index 36.5 ± 6.1 kg/m 2) were randomized into an intensive lifestyle weight loss intervention or a diabetes support and education control condition. Results: At baseline 27% of participants reported urinary incontinence on a validated questionnaire (no significant difference by intensive lifestyle intervention vs diabetes support and education). After 1 year of intervention the intensive lifestyle intervention group in this substudy lost 7.7 ± 7.0 vs 0.7 ± 5.0 kg in the diabetes support and education group. At 1 year fewer women in the intensive lifestyle intervention group reported urinary incontinence (25.3% vs 28.6% in the diabetes support and education group, p = 0.05). Among participants without urinary incontinence at baseline 10.5% of intensive lifestyle intervention and 14.0% of diabetes support and education participants experienced urinary incontinence after 1 year (p = 0.02). There were no significant group differences in the resolution of urinary incontinence (p >0.17). Each kg of weight lost was associated with a 3% reduction in the odds of urinary incontinence developing (p = 0.01), and weight losses of 5% to 10% reduced these odds by 47% (p = 0.002). Conclusions: Moderate weight loss reduced the incidence but did not improve the resolution rates of urinary incontinence at 1 year among overweight/obese women with type 2 diabetes. Weight loss interventions should be considered for the prevention of urinary incontinence in overweight/obese women with diabetes. © 2012 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc.
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    Author List

  • Phelan S; Kanaya AM; Subak LL; Hogan PE; Espeland MA; Wing RR; Burgio KL; Dilillo V; Gorin AA; West DS
  • Start Page

  • 939
  • End Page

  • 944
  • Volume

  • 187
  • Issue

  • 3