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

J Urol. 2012 Mar;187(3):939-44. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2011.10.139. Epub 2012 Jan 20.


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.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00017953.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Life Style
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Prevalence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / prevention & control*
  • Weight Loss*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00017953

Grant support