Dear Health-conscious Friend,
Incontinence Breakthroughs Sound Suspiciously Old – But Effective
The American College of Physicians has just released new guidelines for dealing with urinary incontinence. Based on almost 25 years of research, they’re the latest word on easing the frustration and embarrassment of leaky bladder.
But don’t look for anything revolutionary here. These new guidelines just turn the clock back about 20 years. But that’s not a bad thing.
In fact, the new guidelines may sound familiar to readers of the Journal. Because they line right up with what I’ve advised for years.
But now you’re be hearing this advice from the mainstream… which means many more women may now find relief faster and more easily. Without surgery or expensive medications.
If you suffer with stress incontinence – sudden leaks when you laugh, sneeze, exercise, etc. – the new advice is to practice “pelvic floor exercises.” In other words, do Kegels. This simply means tighten and relax the muscles you use to hold in urine 10 – 15 times, 2 or 3 times a day.
Could relief really be that easy? The college calls the evidence “high-quality.”
Some women suffer with urgency incontinence. That’s the sudden need to go, and it may strike at any time. Fortunately, there’s new advice for that problem, too. And, like Kegels, it’s been around a long time.
If you suffer from sudden urges, the College suggests bladder training. This is simply scheduling your bathroom breaks.
Start with a short enough time between that you’re unlikely to have an urge. And go when you’re scheduled to, whether you feel the need or not. Then slowly over weeks, stretch out the time between bathroom breaks. This literally trains your bladder to wait.1
Sometimes, though, leaks aren’t caused by stress or sudden urges. And that’s where the second “breakthrough” comes in.
Cranberry is an old folk remedy for bladder and urinary tract problems. It’s been in common use for hundreds of years. The medical mainstream may not be big on folk remedies. But I’ve seen cranberry deliver good results.
Now, researchers at McGill University have the proof that may finally win the mainstream over. They’ve shown cranberry hobbles at least two of the most common bacteria behind bladder problems.
In two experiments, the McGill scientists showed that cranberry inhibits the normal movement of P. mirablis and E. coli. Both these bacteria rely on their ability to move to avoid your body’s immune response.
So, a nutritional supplement with cranberry extract may be just the boost you need to ease incontinence and other bladder problems. But I’d avoid cranberry juice. Most juices contain a lot of added sugar, which carries its own health problems.
Together. these “new” findings point to one conclusion. There’s often a safe, simple, and natural answer to your most pressing health concerns. But it may take modern medicine a while to catch up with folk wisdom.
Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
1 Qaseem, A., et al, “Nonsurgical Management of Urinary Incontinence in Women: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of Physicians,” Ann Intern Med. 2014; 161(6): 429-440.
2 “How cranberries impact infection-causing bacteria,” McGill University. Jul 15, 2013.