Strong muscles tied to lower risk of incontinence in older women
Women who have more lean muscle mass or better grip strength may be less likely to experience a common type of urinary incontinence, a study suggests.
That’s because strong muscles may help counter what’s known as stress urinary incontinence, which happens when the pelvic floor muscles supporting the bladder are too weak to prevent urine leaks when people do things like cough, sneeze or exercise. Childbirth is a common reason for weak pelvic muscles, and obesity makes the problem worse.
In the study, researchers examined data on 1,475 elderly women, including 212 who experienced stress incontinence at least once a month and another 223 who had what’s known as overactive bladder, or urge incontinence, at least monthly.
Women were less likely to develop or continue experiencing stress incontinence by the end of the three-year study when they didn’t have much decline in muscle strength, as assessed by grip strength. Women also had lower odds of stress incontinence when they lost substantial amounts of weight and fat mass.
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