Study Links Vitamin D Deficiency With Urinary Incontinence in Women

Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of urinary incontinence in women, according to a new study.

The study, headed by Dr. Samuel Badalian of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse and recently published in the journal of Obstetrics & Gynegology, says that urinary incontinence is among many pelvic floor disorders that are exacerbated by low levels of vitamin d.

The research, which included more than 1800 adult women, showed that as many as 82{abffe3e1318a9624791ae4064333f2f75374704dc13d09152fd440b16c9e1c0c} of the participants had low levels of the vitamin. However those who had pelvic floor disorders and/or incontinence had levels significantly lower than those of the rest of the group.

The study concluded that increased vitamin D levels are definitely associated with a lower risk of pelvic floor disorders, and the risk of urinary incontinence in older women is as much as 45{abffe3e1318a9624791ae4064333f2f75374704dc13d09152fd440b16c9e1c0c} lower among women with sufficient levels of the vitamin. Further research on the use of D vitamin in the prevention and treatment of pelvic floor disorders is definitely warranted, the researchers said.

The term “pelvic floor disorders” refers to a number of health problems that occur when the muscles and connective tissue in the pelvic area are weakened or injured by pregnancy, vaginal delivery, surgery, illness, aging, and other factors. As many as a third of all women experience pelvic floor disorders some point in their life.

Pelvic organ prolapse, which occurs when the pelvic muscles are too weak to hold the organs in place, is one of the most common pelvic floor disorders among women. Prolapse frequently leads to urinary incontinence, which happens when the bladder “drops” out of its normal place.

Vitamin D’s importance in preventing prolapse, incontinence, and other pelvic floor disorders is related to its role in keeping muscles strong, the researchers said.

Though the vitamin is primarily associated with bone strength and health, it has also proven to be crucial to muscular development and the maintenance of strong, resilient connective tissue.

The Syracuse study is the latest of many to emphasize the importance of D vitamin in women’s overall health. A 2008 University of Pittsburgh study concluded that women with low levels of the vitamin are an astounding 70{abffe3e1318a9624791ae4064333f2f75374704dc13d09152fd440b16c9e1c0c} more likely to suffer hip fractures than those with sufficient levels.

In addition, keeping Vitamin D levels high is known to help prevent bacterial infections during pregnancy, and sufficiency of the vitamin is closely associated with preventing and treating depression.

Vitamin D has even been associated with the prevention of breast and other cancers in women. A 2008 study by the German Cancer Research Center concluded that women with extreme deficiency had a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer than those with adequate levels. In addition, a four-year clinical trial reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that improving calcium and vitamin D nutritional status substantially reduced all-cancer risk in postmenopausal women.