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Weight-Loss Surgery May Ease Incontinence in Women
Date:1/13/2011

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- In an encouraging sign for severely obese women who suffer from incontinence, a new Australian study says that many gain control over urination after undergoing gastric-band weight-loss surgery.

"This could be an additional benefit for females undergoing the procedure," said Dr. Weranja K.B. Ranasinghe, the study's lead author.

"A number of large studies have showed the link between obesity and urinary incontinence, especially in females," Ranasinghe said. "Gastric banding surgery is being used more commonly as an option for weight loss in the obese population, with good effect. But very little is known about the urological issues following gastric banding, so we attempted to investigate this."

In laparoscopic gastric banding, one of the most common forms of weight-loss surgery, surgeons place a band around the top of the stomach, creating a small pouch, which reduces the amount of food people can eat before feeling full.

Obesity is a growing health issue worldwide, increasing the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. More than half of the people in Australia are overweight or obese, said Ranasinghe, who works in the urology department at Austin Hospital in Melbourne. Also, about one in four people has some form of urinary incontinence, which may be attributable to obesity.

For the study, published in the January issue of the British Journal of Urology International, the researchers analyzed surveys completed by 142 women (average age, 48) and 34 men (average age, 53) who underwent gastric band surgery over a decade at a clinic in Australia. The participants were asked to recall their urinary and erectile dysfunction symptoms before and after surgery.

Sixty-five percent of the women said they had incontinence before to the surgery, as did about a quarter of the men.

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