(HealthDay News) — Consuming artificially sweetened beverages may increase a women’s risk for urinary incontinence, according to a study published online in Menopause.

Nancy E. Ringel, MD, from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues used data from 80,388 women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study to assess whether higher artificially sweetened beverage intake is associated with a higher prevalence of urinary incontinence symptoms.

The researchers found that the unadjusted odds of reporting urinary incontinence were higher in women consuming 1 to 6 servings per week (odds ratio, 1.10) or greater than or equal to 1 serving per day (odds ratio, 1.12) versus never to less than 1 serving per week. Compared with women never drinking or drinking less than 1 serving per week, women consuming 1 or more serving per day had higher odds of reporting mixed urinary incontinence (odds ratio, 1.10). The groups were similar with respect to stress or urgency urinary incontinence.

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“This study is important in that it may guide clinicians counseling women with urinary incontinence to focus more on behavioral modifications, such as total volume intake, rather than on the type of beverage consumed,” Stephanie Faubion, MD, medical director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a statement. “Further, given the multiple potential adverse health effects associated with consuming sugar-containing beverages, counseling should be directed away from avoidance of artificially sweetened beverages.”

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