The horrifying thing that can happen to women when they put on weight

The Sun 27 days ago

BEING overweight or obese comes with a plethora of problems - from diabetes to cancer.

But new research suggests that carrying too much extra fat might also heighten the risk of something less serious but altogether more embarrassing: urinal incontinence.

 The risk of incontinence is doubled in women who are obese

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The risk of incontinence is doubled in women who are obese

According to a new analysis published in Obesity Reviews, having a body mass index over the normal range can increase the chance of leakages in young to middle-aged women.

And that risk is doubled in women who are obese.

The findings confirm the fact that medical advice given to young women who are seriously overweight - or are at risk of becoming obese - shouldn't simply be limited to metabolic health (i.e warnings about diabetes).

Being overweight can have a detrimental impact on other health and social factors, and this study has said that more emphasis should be placed on educating people about the role excess weight can have on weakening pelvic floor muscles.

 Carrying extra pounds puts stress on pelvic muscles which then become weaker

Getty - Contributor

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Carrying extra pounds puts stress on pelvic muscles which then become weaker

Lead author, Tayla Lamerton, of The University of Queensland, Australia, said: "We know that urinary incontinence can be a complex issue, especially among younger women.

"Understanding overweight and obesity as a determinant of urinary incontinence could play a role in the way we counsel those affected by the condition, and our findings provide a building block to further explore lifestyle interventions for preventing and managing incontinence."

So, what can you do to avoid urinary incontience?

Firstly, check your BMI by clicking start below

Although it's by no means a perfect ruler by which to measure yourself, BMI can give you a rough estimation of where you sit in terms of body composition.

It's only dramatically inaccurate if you're quite a bit more muscular/shorter/taller than the average.

The NHS has a handy calculator for working out your BMI, but if you're good with numbers, you can work it out by dividing your weight by your height in metres squared.

Anything above 25 is overweight, while anything above 30 falls into the obesity bracket.

Start doing pelvic floor exercises

 Apart from losing weight, you're best off trying to do your pelvic floor exercises every day

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Apart from losing weight, you're best off trying to do your pelvic floor exercises every day

You can feel your pelvic floor muscles working if you try to stop the flow of pee when you go to the loo.

Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the muscles around your bladder, vagina or penis, and back passage, and they can help to avoid incontinence.

Having strong pelvic floor muscles is also said to help increase sensitivity during sex - making for stronger orgasms.

But it's not just women who should be doing them regularly. Men have pelvic floor muscles too, and according to the NHS, strong ones can help to reduce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

To strengthen, sit comfortably and squeeze those muscles 10-15 times in a row, without tightening your stomach, bum or thigh muscles at the same time.

 You can also buy pelvic trainers, like this one from Elvie (£169)

handout

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You can also buy pelvic trainers, like this one from Elvie (£169)

Once you get used to doing that, hold the squeeze for a few seconds.

Try to do them every day when you're on the bus (hey, no one can see them working!), watching TV or while you're at work.

You can also buy Kegels and pelvic floor weights such as Elvie (available from Elvie.com and Amazon), which help to tighten up those lower region muscles.

Train your bladder

It is possible to train your bladder by waiting longer between needing to pee and actually passing urine. It's better to do that under the guidance of a specialist who you can be referred to by your doctor.

Visit your GP

If you have any kind of urinary incontinence, it's worth getting checked out by your doctor just so that you can rule out any infections or injury.

There's absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about - it's a common problem generally caused by physical stress, a blockage, birth defect or a spinal injury.

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