Dieting with Obstacles - Hoping to resolve stress incontinence

10-18-2009, 02:16 AM
I seem to have a fair bit of what's called "Stress incontinence." I mean, even when I was really young, if I laughed SUPER hard, I might leak a bit. But as I got older, it got worse. Now, if I get a cold and cough or sneeze a lot, I get quite a bit of leakage.

I'd mentioned it to my doctor and he was describing horrifying things like surgery (which I'd do if I absolutely HAD to) and a pessary (ICK!) and I was trying exercises and it seemed to not resolve anything. Then my weight crept up higher and it seemed worse. So I thought "Why is it worse." "What changed?" Well, it was two things. Yes, I'm older- I get older every minute- right? LOL! But also I did get heavier.

So I was at the doctor's last week- I'd already lost several pounds but my weight had gone up so he certainly couldn't discern that. So anyway, I revisited the issue with him. I asked him if I lost most or all the excess weight, (which I'd like to do anyway) - could that possibly help? He said probably. I also found articles on the net about it. I also found one that said if one DOES get the surgery but stay overweight, the problem returns. I can see why that might be. Anyway, the doc's given me about 6 months to work on the weight before he and I sit down and discuss this seriously, sending me to a specialist. It is my hope that by then (I'll probably cheat and take 7 or 8 months. heh.) that I'll know whether or not the weight loss is affecting the stress incontinence.

I've probably lost close to 15 pounds so far and to really get to goal, I'd need to lose about another 55 or so. I'm almost over the last dregs of this idiotic cold or flu or whatnot and when it's all gone, I plan to start going to the gym again as I do have a membership that I've not been using but have been paying for.

This health issue is a bit embarrassing. I had heard it was common in women who'd had several kids but I never had ANY. But I'm hoping, anyway, that I can get it either knocked out or at least greatly minimized by my weight loss which seems to be going pretty well.

So that's an additional reason to the other reasons I'd already had for wanting to lose the weight.

10-18-2009, 02:43 AM
Thank you so much for posting :) I had felt so alone with this particular issue. I began having issues with sneezing and coughing about 2 years ago when I had my gallbladder out at age 28. I was and am so embarassed about it that I haven't said anything to anyone about it hoping with weight loss it would go away. I also haven't had kids so I really didn't understand how all of a sudden I became a leaking lady but...stuff happens. Thanks for making me feel better about it :)

10-18-2009, 03:11 AM
I haven't been here long enough to post links, but a good one on this is the New England Journal of Medicine's Jan 9,2009 article called Weight Loss to Treat Urinary Incontinence in Overweight and Obese Women.

Here is their conclusion:

Conclusions A 6-month behavioral intervention targeting weight loss reduced the frequency of self-reported urinary-incontinence episodes among overweight and obese women as compared with a control group. A decrease in urinary incontinence may be another benefit among the extensive health improvements associated with moderate weight reduction.

10-18-2009, 03:13 AM
Here's yet another one:

Weight Loss Reduces Stress IncontinencePosted Feb 10 2009 10:13am A new study conducted by the UCSF, University of California at San Francisco, Brown University and the University of Alabama revealed that weight loss reduces stress incontinence in obese women.

The PRIDE, Program to Reduce Incontinence by Diet and Exercise, randomly assigned 338 obese women aged between 42 and 64 years of age with at least 10 episodes of stress incontinence per week.

These women were then divided into two groups, one was an intensive 6-month weight-loss program that included group diet, exercise, and behavioural modification sessions and the other was a control group who received weight loss information but no rigorous guidance.

Results were rather impressive, the control group had lost on average 3 pounds each while the guided group lost on average 17 pounds each; the control group experienced a 28% reduction in stress incontinence episodes while the guided group reported a 70% reduction in stress incontinence episodes not to mention a lower volume of urine leaked and, overall, less of a problem with incontinence.

As a conclusion, researchers stated that weight loss is extremely effective for the treatment of stress incontinence and that weight loos should be a first line of treatment for incontinence in obese and overweight women.

10-18-2009, 06:03 AM
I was having a *big* problem with this at my HW. It happened whenever I sneezed and it made exercising/playing with my daughter very dicey (I would wear a pad routinely). Any time I tried to run or especially jump rope, it happened every time I landed. As I lost weight, the problem went away -- the lighter I got the less the problem occurred. Now I generally don't even think about it. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but I think it would have to be with a full bladder and under an exceptional circumstance.

10-18-2009, 12:05 PM
That's good to know. It really is. Thanks for the input.

10-18-2009, 01:00 PM
I have noticed that I have far less trouble with this since I've started losing wt.
My sons like to wrestle with me and I almost always have an accident but the other night two of them decided to tackle me and I was able to aggressively fend them off with no leakage at all! I was running around the room and chasing them.
Burned off some extra calories while I was at it too! A good time was had by all. ;)

10-18-2009, 04:32 PM
I just wanted to offer some encouragement. When I was 272 I experienced this whenever I coughed or sneezed. After I'd lost about 30 pounds it completely disappeared. Thankfully, it's never returned, so in my case it probably was my weight.

I wish you good luck with this!

10-18-2009, 06:00 PM
Something good to look forward to. I would take any improvement.

10-19-2009, 01:12 AM
Absolutely. I'd be happy to have it lessened significantly. I think it will, as time goes on. I would rather resolve it naturally than go on meds or have surgery.

10-19-2009, 02:10 AM
I used to have a problem with this too (when I coughed or sneezed), but it has gone away. I attribute that to 2 things: losing weight and I go to the washroom more regularly. I don't wait til my bladder gets overly full anymore -- I go when I get up, before going out, upon returning, before going to bed, and a few times in between. I read that some people don't listen to the signals to go and delay going, so that can stress your bladder, so it's best to go right away. Anyways, it has cleared up for some time now ... :hug:

10-20-2009, 02:27 PM
i truly wish you luck

10-20-2009, 03:00 PM
This may sound weird..... and maybe it was there before I lost weight and did not exercise enough to know it..... but it seems worse since I lost my weight. It only happens with exercise (Jumping Jacks)...... but it is horrible! I was hoping it would go away.... but I am not sure if it will. Btw, I had a partial hysterectomy in 2004.

10-20-2009, 04:04 PM
Interesting. Perhaps yours is caused by other things...there are other causes. Have you chatted with your doctor about this?

10-20-2009, 05:48 PM
You know, so many women have this problem; can't tell you how many I have talked to that mention it (and they are all of varying sizes and ages; some have had kids, and some haven't). It seems to be very common ...

LADYRIDER ~ I'm not surprised to hear that this happens when you do jumping jacks as that sounds like gravity and pressure pushing downwards; it makes sense that exercise would cause our muscles (and/or organs) to put pressure on the bladder too. I have been told that the urethra can stretch a bit too (for various reasons), but I suspect that pressure is the most common cause.

I remember my grandmother mentioning that she had this problem big time; but she had such a terrific sense of humor that she would always make jokes about it saying things like ... "guess I'm gonna have to start buying depends soon or maybe some diapies ... haha" and we would laugh -- but I'm sure it wasn't any fun for her. She said the worst part was it happening when she went out somewhere.

I was thinking about this some more last night and reflected that sometimes it also occurred when I would bend over too quickly OR if I waited too long to go. I was told that I had a very small bladder when I was a child and so I always had to go more often than others. I make it a habit to go more often now. Might I suggest going just before you exercise to see if that helps.

I agree that weight IS NOT the sole reason for this problem; actually, I think many women have this issue that are not overweight, but weight is the first thing we think of when something like this happens. My MIL had this problem a lot too, and she was a slim woman all her life.

I know my ideas about going the washroom more often, esp before and after exercise is not a cure-all, but it may just help somewhat ... :hug:

10-21-2009, 12:00 AM
There are other causes. Age, multiple childbirths earlier in life, etc. But for some women, the extra weight (if they have extra weight) is a contributing factor or even a major factor. I'm hoping that with me, that this is the main reason. I don't want to have to handle it by invasive measures.

10-22-2009, 04:36 PM
Kegels are supposed to help. You just have to remember to do them. I had seven children then a hysterectomy as I got older and the bladder as well as the rectum cand rop. There are new procedures out there now that can help. My friend saw an ob/gyn/urinology (a woman) and had something injected to help hold the organs. It works. I had a surgical procedure which was not pleasant. I also do kegels.:carrot:

10-22-2009, 08:07 PM
I've heard good things about doing the Kegel exercises, but when I was doing them faithfully, nothing changed so I gave up- figuring the problem had another cause that would have to be resolved differently.

I've gone down about a dress size since Labor Day. I'm going to see how things go when I'm down a lot closer to goal size (3 or 4 sizes to go). This isn't an every day problem, it depends on if I'm coughing or sneezing a lot. I just now got over a cold so I went from having that to deal with every day to hardly ever having the situation, though, of course, there will be times when a situation may come up- just less often when I'm not constantly coughing.

10-23-2009, 03:32 PM
Thanks so much. This forum is great. I love reading the posts and I do like seeing people's progress.

10-26-2009, 09:06 PM
Count me in on this one. Losing weight definitely helped but didn't eliminate the problem. I also can't do jumping jacks or use the treadmill. Thanks for bringing it up. It's great to know I'm not the only one!

12-03-2009, 10:10 PM
I've posted an update in the mini goals section- pix to follow. I can't tell yet for sure, but it seems like maybe the stress incontinence has lessened as I have gone down about 2 dress sizes. It's easiest to tell when I'm coughing or sneezing a lot which, since I'm not sick currently (and would like to keep it that way!) can't totally gauge. But sometimes in doing crunches on the incline board, seemed like that affected it a tiny bit and that seems better.

Time will tell, won't it. In the meantime, feeling more energetic and getting thinner and don't really feel overly hungry or subject to cravings most of the time.

12-04-2009, 07:46 AM
This may sound weird..... and maybe it was there before I lost weight and did not exercise enough to know it..... but it seems worse since I lost my weight. It only happens with exercise (Jumping Jacks)...... but it is horrible! I was hoping it would go away.... but I am not sure if it will. Btw, I had a partial hysterectomy in 2004.

This is my experience as well. I suffer much more now than I did when I was 290lbs. But like above I did not undertake the kinds of activities I do now back then. However I also think my incontinence maybe be hormone related as it is worse at some times than others and I think at nearly 46 I maybe perimenopausal.


12-09-2009, 11:46 PM
Count me in, I'm part of your cheering squad :)

Its feels good to be part of a community that shares a common goal.