When Marie Osmonds on-stage laugh-fest with brother Donny caused her to pee her pants (the videos on YouTube), we realized its time to talk about urinary tract problems, from bladder infections to stress incontinence (its what makes you leak when you laugh).
More than 8.3 million North Americans a year go to the doctor for urinary tract infections, most of them women. And tens of millions of adults have urge and stress incontinence.
UTIs are triggered by bacteria (and sometimes fungi and viruses). The old thinking: Bugs enter the urethra (the tube urine goes through) and colonize the bladder and kidney, after sex or (for women) if you wipe wrong. Now its true, those things can trigger UTIs, but news flash! bacteria (good and bad) live in your bladder all the time. We dont really know whats going on in there, so the real remedy is prevention.
Postmenopausal women may use estrogen cream to restore thinning tissue around the urethra, and decrease stress incontinence and infections. Also, never hold your pee; drink cranberry juice; take 500 milligram tablets of vitamin C and probiotics like acidophilus to acidify urine and promote good bacteria; and drink plenty of water.
As for urge and stress incontinence, strengthen pelvic muscles with Kegel exercises. Retrain your bladder muscles how and when to contract properly, and ask your doctor about medications to ease muscle contractions.
The You Docs Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic are authors of YOU: Losing Weight. To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. A King Features syndicate.