There are many studies that show the correlation between incontinence and obesity as well as studies that proved that certain foods can help or worsen incontinence episodes. But up until recently no one had studied the effects of saturated fat on incontinence.
A recent study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology at the New England Research Institute and published by the American Journal of Epidemiology examined intakes of total energy, carbohydrate, protein, and fats in relation to UI in a cross-sectional sample of 2,060 women in the population-based Boston Area Community Health Survey (2002–2005).
Research concluded that incontinence in women is improved by weight loss and dietary modification such as reducing the amount of saturated fats in the diet. For detailed information we copied the study’s abstract for you to read it:
Weight loss involving diet modification improves urinary incontinence (UI) in women, but little is known about dietary correlates of UI. The authors examined intakes of total energy, carbohydrate, protein, and fats in relation to UI in a cross-sectional sample of 2,060 women in the population-based Boston Area Community Health Survey (2002–2005). Data were collected from in-person home interviews and food frequency questionnaires. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the presence of moderate-to-severe UI; a severity index was analyzed in secondary analysis of 597 women with urine leakage. Greater total energy intake was associated with UI (Ptrend = 0.0001; highest quintile vs. lowest: adjusted odds ratio = 2.86, 95% confidence interval: 1.56, 5.23) and increased severity. No associations were observed with intake of carbohydrates, protein, or total fat. However, the ratio of saturated fat intake to polyunsaturated fat intake was positively associated with UI (highest quintile vs. lowest: adjusted odds ratio = 2.48, 95% confidence interval: 1.22, 5.06) and was strongly associated with severity (Ptrend < 0.0001). Results suggest that dietary changes, particularly decreasing saturated fat relative to polyunsaturated fat and decreasing total calories, could independently account for some of the benefits of weight loss in women with UI.
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.