Vitamin D deficiency ups risk of urinary incontinence

Updated: Dec 11, 2011, 13:08 PM IST

Washington: Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of pelvic floor dysfunction, including clinical conditions like urinary incontinence, a new study has revealed.

The study compared vitamin D levels with incidence of various forms of pelvic floor disorder among 1,881 women, with an average age of 48. Those with low levels of vitamin D (characterized as less than 30 nanograms per millilitre, or ng/ml) had a 170 percent increased risk of urinary incontinence, compared to those with higher blood levels.

This is because as a hormone, vitamin D supports a myriad of bodily functions, including maintenance of muscle and bone. As a result, deficiency could undermine the muscular infrastructure of the pelvis needed for urinary control.

Related research suggests that losing weight could result in as much as a 47 percent decrease in episodes of incontinence, perhaps by reducing the pressure that excess adipose tissue places on the pelvis and by increasing levels of vitamin D.

Maintaining levels of vitamin D may lower your risk of other ailments as well, including fractures, tooth loss, depression, chronic pain, and even certain cancers.

The study has been published in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.