It’s not just you! A national survey proves that by age 50, as many at 69 percent of us regularly deal with bladder leaks, a problem doctors now say can be remedied far more easily than once was thought.
Snacking on 1/2 cup of soybeans (such as edamame or roasted soybeans) daily could send your risk of bladder woes plunging as much as 39 percent. The decrease in estrogen that starts in perimenopause can weaken the pelvic muscles that hold up your bladder. The estrogen-like compounds in soybeans provide those muscles with the oomph needed to regain their strength.
Tone your pelvic muscles.
Kegels end incontinence for roughly half of the women who try them. But if they haven’t helped you much, consider Pilates. Researchers found that this gentle form of exercise helps 83 percent of women keep their pelvic floor muscles strong, toned, and healthy. “And that’s essential for preventing accidents,” Christiane Northrup, MD, author of of Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being ($10.99 [Originally $16.99], Amazon). Find easy instructions online or check out a Pilates DVD from a library.
Drink horsetail tea.
This herbal brew is shown to calm bladder spasms, and because it’s a natural diuretic, it also reduces pressure on your bladder by flushing out excess fluids, explains naturopathic physician Sharol Tilgner, ND, author of Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth ($29.95, Amazon). To brew the slightly-sweet tasting tea, place 2 tsp. of dried horsetail ($13.20, Amazon) in one cup of boiled water. Cover; steep 10-15 minutes. Sweeten to taste, and sip one 8-oz. cup each evening.
Turn to cascara sagrada.
Prone to constipation? Try taking 450 mg. of cascara sagrada ($4.50, Amazon), a natural laxative, once or twice a week at bedtime. Relieving constipation improves bladder control for one in four women by reducing pressure on the tiny muscles charge with holding the bladder shut.
Get a Botox or collagen injection.
Botox injections aren’t just for faces anymore! When bladder spasms are the problem, a Botox injection every six to nine months can cut leaking 67 percent. And when lax muscles at the neck of the bladder are to blame, plumping them with an injection of collagen can correct the problem.
Check for infection.
The number-one symptom of a low-grade bladder infection isn’t pain, it’s a powerful gotta-go sensation, say UCLA researchers. If your bladder problems flared suddenly — instead of increasing over time — talk to your doctor.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.