Health Tips: From bad to bladder: How to control your leaks


Kate Winslet has been open about her struggle with urinary incontinence: “When you’ve had a few children, you know, it’s just what happens. It’s amazing, two sneezes I’m fine, three, it’s game over.”

A lot of folks -- including men -- struggle with leaks. And according to a study in the Journal of Urology, the problem is increasing, possibly from more folks contending with obesity and diabetes. In 2002, around 49% of women and 11% of men dealt with urinary incontinence at some point in their life. By 2008, more than 53% of women were affected and 15% of men.

-- UI and pregnancy. A new study in the Journal of Women’s Health sets out the way incontinence affects pregnant and postpartum women: 20% have persistent UI -- about half at month three of pregnancy and about half six months after giving birth. 

-- UI in men. Prostate health and treatments are often a trigger for men’s bladder problems.

-- UI in older women. Over age 60, approximately 23% deal with incontinence. 

Unfortunately, docs don’t give men and women instructions for Kegels, which are powerfully effective exercises that can counter UI. Here are the basics: 

-- Find the muscles you use to stop urinating. Squeeze them -- and just them -- for three seconds; relax for three seconds. Your goal over time is to be able to squeeze for 10 seconds.

-- Repeat 10 to 15 times per session, three times a day, every day.

-- Don’t do Kegels while you urinate, that can hurt your bladder.

Putting the breaks on CBD self-treatments

Pop songs about marijuana have been around for decades. There’s Steppenwolf’s “Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam” from 1968 and Miley Cyrus’ “Dooo It” from 2015. But now that medical and recreational marijuana and CBD (cannabidiol, the active compound in pot) are legal in many states, folks have decided it must be good for health, not just entertainment. 

A new study in JAMA looked at a forum on Reddit that has more than 100,000 folks sharing their experiences using CBD. Some claim CBD can treat autism and mental health problems, others tout the chemical for orthopedic discomfort, insomnia and neurological, gastrointestinal, dermatological, oral and ophthalmologic conditions.

There’s scant data on the effectiveness of CBD in treating many of these conditions, so you don’t want to ignore proven medical approaches that can improve, and even save, your life. 

Unproven use of CBD can cause liver injury, drug interactions and mood changes. Animal studies show CBD can interfere with the development and function of testes and sperm, decrease testosterone levels and impair sexual behavior in males. A new lab study found when pregnant females are regularly exposed to cannabis, their offspring have long-term cognitive deficiencies, asocial behavior and anxiety in adulthood. 

However, studies do indicate some CBD benefits -- for pain, insomnia and two rare forms of childhood epilepsy (the only FDA-approved use). 

The bottom line: Don’t let CBD fog up your decision-making so that you opt for unhealthy choices for treating serious health issues. Ask your doc if and when it may be appropriate for you.


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