Ladies: Losing weight can reduces urinary incontinence

Need another reason to drop a few pounds? A new study in this week's New England Journal of Medicine reports weight loss in overweight and obese women reduces urinary incontinence, a problem that affects more than 13 million women in the United States.

Loss of bladder control can be a symptom of any number of issues, including pregnancy, childbirth, bladder irritation or infection, and aging bladder muscles.

The women were randomly assigned to either an intensive six-month weight-loss program of diet, exercise, and behavior modification or were placed in a group that received information about diet and exercise, but were provided no additional help dropping pounds.

The intensive weight-loss group lost an average of 8% of their body weight (about 17 pounds) and weekly urinary incontinence episodes were cut by 47%. Meanwhile, those in the information-only group lost an average of 1.6% of their body weight (about 3 pounds) and only experienced 28% fewer episodes of incontinence.