Patch that leaky bladder is just MINUTES a day
If you're not in your Golden Years just yet, you might be a little surprised by what many seniors consider to be the worst part of aging. It's not slowing down. It's not the creaky knees. It's not the graying hair (or no hair at all).
It's not even the occasional senior moment, which can leave you wondering if it's the first sign of a slide down the slope of cognitive decline.
No, many of my older patients tell me the ABSOLUTE worst part of all is the indignity of an aging bladder -- one that sends you running to the bathroom every hour, or one that leaks with no warning.
It's especially common among women, who often take medications for this condition and learn the hard way that those drugs really aren't very effective -- and they come with so many nasty side effects that half of all women quit even when they do help.
Some women resign themselves to a life in adult diapers. Others are willing to try anything, even a Botox injection into the bladder, in a desperate attempt to strengthen the muscle wall and improve control.
But I don't recommend drugs, diapers or even Botox for bladder control, because I've found that natural therapies are much more effective -- and now, new mainstream guidelines have endorsed my back-to-basics approach.
Yes, you read that right: Mainstream health authorities are actually urging doctors to avoid drugs.
How's that for a change?
Instead of medication, doctors should start by suggesting Kegel exercises. These are special exercises that strengthen your pelvic muscle.
Next time you go to the toilet, try to stop urinating midway through. That's the muscle in question. Then, later, when you're not using the bathroom, try to clench and hold that muscle for about 10 seconds (you may not be able to do that at first, but keep trying).
Do it five or six times in a row, two or three times a day.
The new guidelines also call on doctors to recommend bladder training.
That's just what it sounds like -- training your bladder to last longer. Figure out how long you go between bathroom trips, then set a goal of lasting 10 minutes longer.
Once you achieve that comfortably, add another 10 minutes -- and so on, until eventually (hopefully) you can go several hours without a bathroom break.
The new guidelines in the Annals of Internal Medicine also recommend another of my approaches to drug-free bladder control: weight loss. When you're overweight you tend to eat and drink more to maintain that weight -- and that can overwork a weak bladder.
In addition, extra weight around your middle can put pressure on your bladder, causing it to leak when you least expect it.
The guidelines end there, but not my advice. Along with Kegel exercises, bladder training and weight loss, homeopathic remedies such as Causticum and Sepia can also help with bladder control in women.
And for more on overcoming incontinence and other problems that strike after menopause, pick up the book "Your Menopause, Your Menotype" written by my wife, Dr. Angela Stengler, as well as myself.