From the Magazine

5 Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Bladder and Avoid Leaks

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It may not be life-threatening, but urinary incontinence (UI) affects up to 68 percent of us at some point and can impact our quality of life. Thankfully, Harvard Medical School researchers say natural remedies prevent bladder mishaps for 70 percent of women studied — often more effectively than medications. Experts recommend…

Sprinkling on flax

Adding 2 Tbs. of flaxseeds to your daily diet could cut your risk of bladder leaks by as much as 35 percent, report researchers at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital. Thanks goes to flax compounds (lignans) that nourish and strengthen the sphincter muscles — the ones that hold in urine. Try mixing ground flax into peanut butter or hummus, or sprinkle on whole flaxseeds to add a nutty crunch to cooked vegetables, salads and stir-fries.

Brewing this tea

When bladder control is unreliable, downing a tall glass of water can make it hard to leave the house! To the rescue: three mugs of marshmallow root tea ($6.99, Amazon) daily. British researchers say this herb’s active ingredients (flavonoids) calm bladder spasms, plus they reduce bladder pressure by flushing out fluids trapped in surrounding tissues.

Toning your pelvis

Core-strengthening Pilates workouts are easy to find online (try YouTube.com) and they heighten bladder control for 83 percent of women who try them. Explains Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Goddesses Never Age ($12.99, Amazon), Pilates keeps your pelvic floor strong and toned — and that’s essential for preventing accidents.

Adding vitamin D-3

Taking 2,000 IU of D-3 daily can cut your risk of accidents by 52 percent in three months. Explains urologist Eli Kehinde, M.D., this nutrient strengthens the muscles that cradle and support your bladder. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing. 

Hold it a moment!

You can train your bladder to extend the time between bathroom breaks, say Yale University researchers. When the urge hits, wait two minutes before voiding. Slowly increase the time by two minute increments until you go every two to three hours.

More from Woman’s World

Real Talk: Here’s How to Manage Bladder Leaks in Middle Age

The Best Washable Incontinence Pads to Keep You Dry

Nearly Half of Women Over 50 Experience Incontinence, Study Finds — Here’s How to Prevent It

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