If you've ever sprung a leak while laughing or always feel as if you have to go, you know a temperamental bladder can spoil any situation. Luckily, there's a lot you can do to relieve yourself.
1. Go for the Half-Caf
A full shot of caffeine might make you feel more alert, but it'll also have you trotting to the toilet more often. Caffeine is a known diuretic and bladder irritant, says Tiffany Sotelo, M.D. The more caffeine you consume, the more you'll visit the loo.
2. Don't Slow the Flow
Word has gotten around that one way to know if you're doing Kegels correctly is to try squeezing while urinating -- if the flow stops, you've got strong muscles. But that's bad advice, Sotelo says: "Multiple responses have to occur for a person to be able to urinate. If you actively stop this, you interrupt this coordination and place increased pressure on your bladder." Over time, she says, that can damage the organ.
3. Lose a Few
Studies show that being overweight can put pressure on the bladder and lead to incontinence. But losing a little can help a lot. In a 2009 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, 228 obese women who each lost an average of 17 pounds experienced a 47 percent reduction in incontinence episodes per week.
4. Don't Put It Off
Postponing leads to distension, which can injure the bladder over time, Sotelo says. Imagine overexpanding a balloon: While it shrinks back to its original shape after one inflation, eventually it loses its stretch.
5. Put Down the Water Bottle
If you hydrate too enthusiastically, you overwork your bladder. "The bladder is sensitive to volume as well as to the rate of filling," says Robert Mayer, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center.
6. Try Fiber
The bowel can put pressure on the bladder, so constipation and urinary frequency tend to go hand in hand. Address them together.