Bariatric surgery does more than reduce body weight

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imagesAt the scientific meetings of the American Urogynecologic Society and the International Urogynecological Association, Dr. Leslee Subak reported on yet another benefit of weight loss via bariatric surgery amelioration of urinary incontinence in severely obese women.

Dr. Subak studied over 1,500 severely obese women who responded to questionnaires before and after undergoing bariatric surgery. Her study was part of the Longitudinal Cohort Study of Bariatric Surgery-2. Of these women, 772 reported experiencing episodes of urinary incontinence at least once per week before surgery. Most of the patients (71 percent) underwent gastric bypass surgery, and 25 percent had gastric banding surgery. On average, they were 46 years old, and most were white. The participants lost about 30 percent of their baseline body weight within a year after surgery, and maintained at least that loss for 3 years.

The participants completed three annual questionnaires, and the researchers found that they experienced significantly fewer episodes of incontinence compared to their original reports. From an average of 11 instances of incontinence per week, the frequency dropped to only 4 per week at two and three years post-surgery. Further, the remission rate less than 1 weekly episode over the past 3 months was about 61 percent after 3 years. And 25 percent of the women had had no episodes in the previous 3 months, they reported at 3-year post-surgery.

ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava had this to say: While urinary incontinence is not a life-threatening condition, it can certainly impair a person s quality of life. This study, while self-reported and observational, lends credence to the concept that weight loss via bariatric surgery, in addition to decreasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease, can also improve other, less compromising conditions.