By now, most of you would have read somewhere or the other that healthy weight or optimal weight is very important to keep away 1001 types of diseases away. However, not many of us act on it and just forget the next day. As we add more fat to the body, we start acquiring health problems such as high sugar levels (diabetes), high blood pressure, pelvic organ prolapse (especially women), incontinence problems, problems with ligaments in the legs, heart, etc.
What is BMI?
BMI is defined as Body Mass Index which simply put is the measure of body fat present in comparison to the weight and height of the body. BMI of less than 25 is considered healthy. 25 to 29.9 is overweight and when BMI is over 30, the person is considered obese.
Gaining weight (also losing weight) is a cyclical process. The more weight a person gains, the lazier he/she gets, the less physical work is done which in turn adds more weight. The body’s metabolism also gets affected and instead of using the fat in the body, more food is consumed which again adds to body weight. Most women who are overweight often have pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence problems. As per research (https://urogyn.coloradowomenshealth.com/images/pdf-study-labor-pregnancy-prolapse.pdf) it was shown that women who lost 5% of their body weight had great improvement in symptoms of incontinence and they were at lesser risk of having pelvic floor disorders.
Obesity and pelvic organ prolapse
Generally in everyone, with age, the muscles in the body (including those in the pelvis region) weaken and lose the capacity to hold the abdominal organs in place. When the abdominal muscles lose strength, the soft organs such as the uterus, bladder, rectum etc start descending leading to the prolapse of the uterus or bladder prolapse, or rectal prolapse. If the person is overweight, more pressure is laid on the muscles in the pelvis region which makes them become weak very easily even during a young age resulting in prolapse of the organs.
“The first thing that I advise my overweight or obese patients who come to me with pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence is to lose weight,” says, Chennai’s leading urogynecologist Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran. Irrespective of whether the body weight was added during pregnancy or postpartum, the first thing that every obese and overweight woman should do is to work on shedding those extra kilos and reduce the risk of prolapse and incontinence. “When a woman is overweight and wants to get pregnant, my strong advice is to first get back to normal/healthy weight and then plan for pregnancy”, adds Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran. Being overweight or obese can not only cause problems conceiving but also during and after the delivery of the baby.
Obesity and incontinence
Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine when a person coughs, sneezes lift the weight, stands from a sleeping position, etc. There are different types of incontinence including:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence
- Overactive bladder
- Urge Incontinence
- Mixed Incontinence
- Functional incontinence
Stress Incontinence is most often seen in people who are overweight or obese. They may even suffer from faecal incontinence wherein liquid or even stool leaks from their rectum.
Many women suffer from incontinence problems after giving multiple vaginal births. In the case of obese women, they may also suffer from overactive bladder. Overactive bladder is a condition where the person feels the need to visit the restroom very frequently to pee. On the positive side of the problem, women who start working on losing their weight and who lose at least 5 percent of their body weight are able to see significant improvement in the symptoms of incontinence without the administration of any kind of medication.
All you need is the will and determination to lose weight
Who is the better person to push you to achieve your goal than yourself? A strong will and determination to reach weight loss goals supervised by a nutritionist and a physical trainer can help in getting rid of a lot of fat from the body. You will not only feel good with your slimmed-down appearance but also enjoy a quality life without worrying about incontinence or the risk of prolapse.
Regularly working out with little extra focus on the pelvis region can restore the muscles in the area with the strength necessary to hold the organs in place. Start with a brisk walk every day, maybe just one kilometer, and add more distance every week until you reach 5 kilometers goal every day. Then you can start jogging and running to speed up your weight loss. Every kilo of weight you lose will motivate you to further shed additional fat. It also improves your body’s metabolism which will further boost weight loss and makes you feel younger every day. Remember “Cardio is the best way to lose weight quickly”.
Does dieting help in losing weight?
Sure, there are many studies where people were put on a diet and seen losing weight. The problem with dieting is, you need to remain on diet to continue with the same weight; the day you resume your regular diet, you will most likely get back to your previous weight or even add more.
Working out to burn fat and to improve the body’s metabolism is the right way to lose weight.