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Photography by Jeff Coulson/TC Media Credits: Photography by Jeff Coulson/TC Media
Photography by Jeff Coulson/TC Media Credits: Photography by Jeff Coulson/TC Media
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Urinary incontinence, or bladder leakage that occurs when you laugh, sneeze or exercise, is common among women. But you don't have to live with it.
One in four women have experienced a considerable health problem that almost no one is talking about. It's called stress-related urinary incontinence, or stress incontinence, and it involves the untimely loss of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, jump, have sex or lift something heavy. The condition has nothing to do with stress; rather, it's about those little movements that put pressure on the bladder. When we're young, our pelvic floor muscles (those hidden muscles you strengthen through Kegel exercises) are strong enough to support the bladder and the urethra, but throughout life, a number of things can contribute to the weakening of those muscles.
Dr. Jennifer Berman, urologist and co-host of the TV show The Doctors, told us about the problem and how to address it. Women no longer have to suffer in silence. There are ways to get help.
What raises your risk?
Unfortunately, many of the risk factors come from just being a woman. "Having an XX chromosome puts you at risk," says Dr. Berman, explaining that, as women get older, changing hormones affect the support structures in the pelvic floor muscles. But long before menopause, many women may suffer from stress incontinence due to another life event: childbirth. "Carrying a baby and delivering a baby causes injury and trauma to the pelvic floor," says Dr. Berman. "And the more babies you have, the higher the risk." Obesity is another risk factor, but you don't have to be overweight to experience stress incontinence.
What can you do to prevent the problem?
Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is a good way to reduce your risk for urinary incontinence, but that alone isn't enough—you need to focus on exercising the muscles that support your pelvic floor. Kegels have been heralded as a means to a better sex life, but they have a much greater importance: Those muscles support our internal organs. Unfortunately, many of us aren't doing Kegels properly. To learn the best ways to strengthen those key muscles, check out our pelvic floor workout. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can also help you at key times, such as before, during and after pregnancy.
What can you do to treat stress incontinence?
If you already experience stress incontinence—maybe you pee a little when you laugh or run—talk to a urologist. "Any time there is a change in urinary function or control, it's important to speak to your health care provider," says Dr. Berman. She says pelvic floor therapy may not be enough to reverse the problem, but your doctor could recommend surgery. A simple operation can provide a structure to support the urethra to stop the unexpected leaks of urine. Or, if you aren't sure you want surgery, a new product, Poise Impressa Bladder Supports, can offer a similar but temporary solution. You simply insert the tampon-like product for temporary support under the bladder and urethra. "Some women want to try something else before surgery," says Dr. Berman. "There are risk factors associated with surgery. So if a woman is only experiencing leakage when she plays tennis, for example, she may say, ‘Do I really want to have surgery for this?'"
Why is it so important to seek a solution?
Beyond the shame and inconvenience that many women experience when they suffer from incontinence, the problem can also get in the way of other things that impact your health. For example, women often avoid sex or exercise because they're worried about leaking. "Incontinence will affect overall satisfaction with life," says Dr. Berman.
Learn about other ways to deal with urinary incontinence.
Live long with these tips. Credits: Calaimage/ Paul Bradbury
Bad health habits are literally taking years off your life, according to a new Canadian study. But we have strategies for curbing the worst offenders.
We have bad news and good news. First, the bad: whether it’s being a couch potato, smoking, letting one glass of Chardonnay turn into the whole bottle, or indulging in a giant bowl of chips and dip, our most beloved vices are killing us. Or rather, they’re drastically reducing our life expectancy, says a new study recently published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine. It found that smoking, eating junk food, vegging out and drinking can actually slash almost six years off the life expectancy of both men and women.
The study, authored by Dr. Doug Manuel, a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa, focused on the worst habits, which contributed to nearly half of all deaths reported in Canada. Using a predictive algorithm Manuel and his team created, population health surveys at the individual level were examined to learn just how dangerous these vices can be. The findings were dramatic—“smoking, by itself, was associated with 32% to 39% of the difference in life expectancy across social groups,” the study says.
But that’s where the good news comes in: though their impact can’t be understated, you can combat unhealthy habits—or at least tame them. Here are the 4 guilty pleasures that are worst for your health, and what you can do to curb them.
While only about 20 per cent of Canada’s total population smokes, it is still the reigning health hazard for Canadians. When lighting up again, remember that the overall loss of life expectancy is an estimated 2.8 years. Coming up with a smoking cessation plan can help you butt out.
2. Eating Junk Food
A poor diet can shave off 1.2 years of your life, so we think it’s safe to say that giving into your sweet tooth at every craving is not a good call. To head off that 3pm junk food craving, don’t skip meals, and keep healthier snack options on-hand.
3. Physical Inactivity
With all the hours you put in at the office, it can be hard to find the opportunity and motivation to head to the gym. But yoga, Pilates, running or even going on 15-minute walks will add an extra 2.6 years onto your life. The solution? Changing your perspective.
4. Consuming Alcohol
Drinking has the least impact of these four vices—drinking contributed to a two-week decrease in life expectancy, but we know heavy drinking impacts your health in other ways. That’s why it’s important to drink with restraint.
These expert tips will help you find jeans that fit and flatter your curves.
“The key to finding the perfect jeans is to try on a lot,” says Jennifer Patterson, communications manager at Addition Elle. “Set aside some time and try on 20 different pairs so you know what looks best.” If you've been wearing the same cut of jeans for years, broaden your horizons and try on a range of silhouettes. You never know how a pair of jeans will look on your body until you try them on. Fabric is also important to consider. “Most curvy women love the power-stretch fabric because it moulds to your shape and stretches where you need a little more room.”
Keep these top tips from Patterson in mind the next time you go shopping for jeans.
If you’re heavier on top with lean legs
Patterson suggests going for a straight-leg jean. “It’s just a really nice, classic shape. They aren’t tight but they have a narrower leg so that balances your proportions,” she says. She also believes that if you love your legs, there’s no reason why you can’t wear skinny jeans. “It’s a great way to show off what you got.”
If you’re heavier on the bottom with a lean upper body
Try a straight or boot-cut jean that can give you a leaner look. Patterson also recommends the universally-flattering flare style for curvy and plus-sized women. “I find that flare can really elongate your legs and make your legs look ten miles long. All it needs is a great heel and it’s a fabulous trend for plus-sized women.”
If you’re on the shorter side
Some women who are short and curvy think they should steer clear of cropped pants, but Patterson assures us that it's ok to ditch this fashion rule. “The ankle is a very sexy part of the woman and anyone can show it off.”
Here are a few denim brands we recommend for curvy and plus-sized women.
We love Addition Elle for offering jeans for all types of curves; best part is they've added a size 26! The sculpting jeans are a fan-favourite because it lifts and sculpts in all the right places.
Levi's 300 shaping series is our favourite for offering all styles in regular and plus-sizes. They're made of a stretch heavyweight denim that offers tummy-slimming technology.
Siwy doesn't actually carry plus-sizes but it's great for women with curvy hips and legs. The Felicity jeans are made without a side seam to offer maximum stretch and maximum comfort.
There's something for everyone here! All styles are offered up to size 24 with a variety of inseams and best of all, three different body types: straight, defined curve and well-defined curve.
Cucumber Salad</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Cucumber Salad</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson