Beat Bladder Problems

The surprising source of some cases of incontinence

by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
male female bathroom restroom sign picture
Photograph: Cihan Taşkın

Constantly running for the loo? Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) may be to blame, according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Researchers found that women who’d had at least three urinary tract infections within a year needed to go sooner and averaged nearly twice as many pit stops as those who didn’t get repeat infections. Over time, the inflammation and irritation from recurrent UTIs may make bladder nerves “so sensitive, they behave like there’s an infection when there isn’t,” explains lead study author Lily Arya, MD, chief of urogynecology and reconstructive surgery at the university. If you’ve had three UTIs in the past year, Arya suggests seeing a urogynecologist or urologist to make sure your infections aren’t being caused by polyps or stones in the bladder or kidneys. Prevent further flare-ups by consuming four to six ounces of cranberry juice daily (any more irritates the bladder) and urinating post-sex to flush bacteria from the urethra and bladder.

Next:Why Is My Poop Green? Plus 11 Other Odd Toilet Troubles Explained

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Originally published in the May 2012 issue

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