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 people — including men — struggle with bladder leaks. And according to a study in the Journal of Urology, the problem is increasing, possibly because more are contending with obesity and diabetes.
In 2002, around 49% of women and 11% of men reported dealing with urinary incontinence (UI) at some point in their life. By 2008, more than 53% of women were affected, as well as 15% of men.
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. And after age 60, approximately 23% of women deal with incontinence.
Prostate health and treatments are often a trigger for men's bladder problems.
Unfortunately, doctors don't give men and women instructions for how to do 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.