HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's a problem so embarrassing that many women won't talk about it. Some think the "leaky secret" is a normal part of having kids or aging. However, two local experts say there are surprisingly simple solutions, plus foods and habits that might be making their problem worse.
"It's not normal to laugh and pee, cough and pee, sneeze and pee, run and pee... It's embarrassing," says physical therapist Doctor Pamela Bercutt.
She says there are different kinds of urinary incontinence, and many different causes, but she tell her patients they DO have power over the condition. She says first, don't go to the bathroom too often, only seven to eight times a day.
"Then your bladder is on a consistent voiding habit and it actually learns these behaviors," she says.
Next, watch out for food and drinks that can irritate the bladder like alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine. Other culprits can be citrus or tomato-based juices or foods, artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, and high-sugar foods. Something she says you SHOULD drink, though, is aloe vera juice.
"It's a healing plant... but It's not only healthy to our bladder, it's healthy to our urethra," Dr. Bercutt says.
Surprisingly, she also says to drink MORE water.
"The more hydrated you are, the less irritated your bladder is... We recommend half your bodyweight in pounds, in ounces. So, a 140 pound person needs to drink at least 70 ounces of water (per day)," she explains.
Courtney Wyckoff, founder of MommaStrong.com holistic fitness website, and her business partner Barbie Atkinson, teach women a simple strengthening technique called "abdominal bracing" that people can do as an at-home solution.
Lay on the floor on your back, knees bent, feet flat, pelvis neutral
Place your left hand in the small of your back
Place your right hand on your belly
Breathe deeply so your belly presses out toward your hand
Exhale bringing your belly tightly in toward your spine
DO NOT move your spine while doing this
Then, imagine a construction "claw" reaching down and pulling up
After the first breathing movement, add a second where you imagine the "claw" motion while tightening your pelvic floor
Courtney Wyckoff - Founder, MommaStrong
Dr. Pamela Bercutt - Bercutt Physical Therapy & Wellness Center
Easy solutions that solve women's "leaky" secret