(HealthDay News) — Bariatric surgery may also help ease urinary incontinence in the long term, a new study suggests. Results of the study were published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Two thousand people between the ages of 18 and 78 were recruited for the study. All had undergone bariatric surgery between 2005 and 2009. Their procedures were performed at 10 different hospitals around the United States. 

Most of the participants (79%) were women. About half of the women and more than one-fifth of the men reported having an episode of urinary incontinence at least once a week before they had surgery.

A significant weight loss — 29% of body weight for women and 26% for men — led to dramatic improvements in bladder control for most of the study’s participants 3 years after bariatric surgery. The greater the weight loss, the greater their odds of improvement. 

The authors noted older participants or those with serious walking problems had less progress. Also, with every 10-lb weight gain, the risk for relapse increased.

“Our findings showing another important long-term benefit to bariatric surgery might help to motivate people who are severely overweight,” study author Leslee Subak, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, said in a university news release. Subak is a professor in obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, as well as urology and epidemiology.


  1. Subak LL et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.2609.