By age 50, as many as 68% of us are troubled by bladder mishaps. Thankfully, there are solutions out there that can make bladder "oh-no's" a thing of the past. By following these six study-proven natural remedies, you'll be able to sidestep these all-too-common hassles and enjoy summer without tiredness or worry.
Prevent accidents with Pilates
The gentle moves of Pilates strengthen the pelvic floor, boosting bladder control for 83% of women who try them, according to Norwegian researchers. You’ll find beginner DVDs in most libraries, or try free workouts on YouTube.
Minimize wake-ups with magnesium
After age 50, up to 60% of us regularly lose out on sleep due to nightly bathroom visits. To cut these awakenings in half, take 1 tsp. of milk of magnesia at bedtime. Gynecologist David Gordon, M.D., explains this drugstore staple is packed with magnesium, which prevents muscles in the pelvis from spasming so they won’t wake you as the bladder fills.
TRY IT: Phillips' Milk of Magnesia ($7.81, Amazon)
Nix stress leaks with soy nuts
Anxiety rattles your nerves— including the nerves that control the bladder! So it’s no wonder one in three of us are prone to accidents when stress levels soar. To keep your bladder calm, add 1⁄2 cup of soy nuts or 3⁄4 cup of cooked edamame to your daily diet. Korean researchers report that plant estrogens in the legumes calm bladder nerves, helping 72% of women dodge stress-triggered leaks.
Staying well-hydrated flushes bacteria, cutting your risk of UTIs by 48%.
BONUS: Diluted urine is less likely to cause leaks because it doesn’t irritate the bladder’s lining.
Stop infections with vitamin C
After menopause, hormonal changes increase our risk of developing bladder infections. Fortunately, taking 500 mg. of vitamin C daily lowers that risk by 60%. Experts say C makes urine more acidic, stalling bacterial growth and energizing immune cells. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
TRY IT: Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin C ($14.66, Amazon)
Hold it in for just a sec!
If you race to the bathroom but nothing happens when you get there, your bladder muscles may be spasming, suggest UCLA researchers. Waiting a little longer between bathroom breaks allows those muscles to learn how to relax as they stretch— cutting bathroom visits in half within two weeks.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine