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

umbers suggest, but don't prove, that obesity may play a role. "In females, it is thought that the excess weight around the abdominal region increases the pressure on the bladder, causing urinary incontinence, especially when coughing, laughing or sneezing," Ranasinghe said. "In males, this is a more complex mechanism and is poorly understood."

On average, men and women lost about 50 pounds after gastric banding, the researchers found.

Overall, incontinence improved after surgery among the women, but they suffered from more "urge incontinence" -- urination that usually occurs after a sudden urge to urinate. The overall improvement may have occurred because weight loss reduces pressure on the urinary tract, Ranasinghe said.

Symptoms of incontinence in men did not improve after surgery, the study found.

And though 83 percent of the men reported erectile dysfunction before the procedure, overall they said they had more sexual problems afterward.

Ranasinghe said the study numbers for men were small, making it hard to determine if weight loss actually worsened sexual functioning. Also, improvement may take time. The long-term benefits of weight loss, including improvement in blood vessels, are thought to reduce erectile dysfunction, Ranasinghe said.

The study did not analyze sexual sensitivity in the women.

Dr. Natan Bar-Chama, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said the study's value is limited because it relies on people's recollections.

However, the findings regarding women and incontinence are consistent with other research, he said.

As for men, it's known that weight loss helps improve erectile dysfunction, he said, although the specific effects of weight-loss surgery still need to be studied.

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