The Connection Between Obesity, Diabetes, and Bladder Control


By Nancy Muller, PhD

Executive Director of the National Association For Continence

At the national headquarters of our organization, we routinely have college interns interested in health care services or health care communications assist us with projects to witness and learn firsthand what a career feels like in the health care sector. This summer, we have Megan, a May graduate from the College of Charleston and major in biology. She is applying to the accelerated BSN program in the School of Nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina for enrollment this winter. We shared with her some of the recent statistics from published research connecting obesity, related in a majority of cases of type 2 diabetes, to stress urinary incontinence. She was amazed at how simple the equation is to reverse some of the life-altering symptoms. Here’s what Megan wants to share with you, and I’ve given over my column space to let her share her thoughts with you. Let her know what you think. Soon, she could be the health educator caring for YOU in your town.

Nancy Muller, PhD

Obesity and diabetes are preventable diseases that can cause many health complications. Obesity is defined as a medical condition in which excess body fat can lead to adverse effects on one’s health. Obesity is recognized as one of the leading factors in the development of insulin resistance. Obesity contributes to urinary incontinence, both leakage as well as urgency incontinence. Losing a small fraction of weight can greatly reduce such bladder control problems. Clearly, there’s an important connection between obesity and diabetes and bladder control! This is even more evident as, 1 in 3 adult Americans have pre-diabetes, 1 in 3 adult Americans are obese, and 1 in 3 adult Americans have experienced symptoms of bladder control loss at some point in their lives. The link of obesity to diabetes is leading health care providers to introduce better health education and management programs for diabetes. The National Diabetes Prevention Program, a CDC program, offers lifestyle change classes to help people make lifestyle changes (diet, exercise). Through the program they could reduce their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by 58% by losing 5-7% of their body weight and getting 150 minutes of exercise each week.  The key message is that you can restore your quality of life and freedom by undertaking healthier practices if you are excessively overweight and at risk of being diagnosed with diabetes.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
This entry was posted in Featured and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Connection Between Obesity, Diabetes, and Bladder Control

  1. There is a well-established connection between obesity, diabetes and bladder problems. The bladder functions by holding urine until you are able to evacuate it. Nerves in the bladder signal when the bladder is getting full, and give you the urge to urinate. However, with diabetes, sometimes the nerves in the bladder dont work the way they should. This is called neuropathic bladder dysfunction. The nerves dont send the signal to the brain that its time to urinate, and the body holds the urine. When this happens repeatedly, the bladder enlarges to accommodate the greater volume of urine. In fact, most of the time, you dont even know that your bladder has enlarged.

  2. Judith Robertson says:

    I believe you !! i am obese and i have been seeing dr.Rader for urge incontinence. but so far to no avail. i am on a self imposed low carb diet that i am following from books i purchased. It seems all doctors are in specialties today!! I need a doctor of Holistic Health that treats the body as all one system. Because it is like a stack of dominos, one thing affects the other. but when you say holistic, then you are led out of the realm of norrmal, acceptable , covered by insurance, Doctoring. I am having a difficult time trying to cope with this on my own!!!

  3. I am no longer certain the place you are getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend a while studying more or working out more. Thanks for wonderful info I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>