Erica Sweeney

8 Signs You Should Talk to a Doctor About Your Urinary Incontinence

8 Signs You Should Talk to a Doctor About Your Urinary Incontinence

Heavy lifting and high-impact movements, like running and jumping, also put pressure on your bladder and the surrounding muscles.1 If you notice that you pee a little, say, during intense workouts or even when you’re rushing out the door to get to the office quickly, that’s a good indication you may be experiencing stress incontinence.2. You constantly wake up at night to go to the bathroom.An overactive bladder causes frequent urination and makes you feel a strong urge to pee, sometimes when you don’t actually need to go. That might wake you up during the night, Dr. Sutherland says. It might also mean you need to take several bathroom breaks during work meetings or constantly have to pause Netflix to go pee (even if you’re not drinking a ton of fluids).3. You feel like you need to pee, but can’t go once you try.Maybe this scenario sounds familiar: You feel such a strong urge to pee that you can’t ignore it and rush to the bathroom. But, once you get there, just a little dribble comes out. This urge, even when your bladder isn’t actually full, is a symptom of an overactive bladder. “Basically, someone is going all the time, and every time they go, there’s just not that much in there,” Dr. Sutherland says.4. You just can’t get to the restroom quickly enough.“Sometimes, you feel like you have to go to the bathroom, and you can’t get there in time,” Dr. Sutherland says. This is a symptom of an overactive bladder. Things that may affect your mobility, especially as you get older, like an injury, disability, or arthritis, might also make it tough to reach the bathroom or unbutton your pants quickly enough, potentially leading to an accident.25. You carry around extra underwear, just in case.How much do you worry about leaking? If you carry extra underwear, pads, or panty liners with you at all times “just in case,” that means urinary incontinence is making a big enough impact in your day to be top of mind. If it’s come to this, Dr. Sutherland suggests talking to your doctor.6. You notice blood in your urine.If you suspect you have any type of urinary incontinence and also spot blood in your urine, talk to your doctor immediately, Dr. McAchran urges. Blood in your urine, known as hematuria, might make your pee look pink, red, or brown. This can be one telling symptom of a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney stones. Luckily, if one of these things is causing your incontinence, getting the right treatment will resolve your bladder control issues. In rare cases, hematuria can be a rare sign of cancer in the urinary tract, so it’s important to make your doctor aware so they can rule it out if needed, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.7. You feel pain when you go to the bathroom.If it’s ever painful to pee, Dr. McAchran urges talking to your doctor as soon as possible. Dysuria, or pain or burning discomfort when you urinate, could be a sign of a UTI, bladder infection, or inflammation of your bladder or urethra, all of which can trigger or exacerbate incontinence. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis and treatment so that any underlying infection causing the pain doesn’t move deeper into your body and become even more serious.8. Your worry is starting to take over your life.Worrying about leaking or always making sure that you’re close to a bathroom weighs on you. If it’s stopping you from going to the gym, jumping on the trampoline with your kids, or dissuading you from going out in public, call your doctor, Dr. McAchran says. “If the incontinence is keeping you from doing things that you want to do, that’s absolutely a reason to get help.”How is urinary incontinence treated?Dr. McAchran suggests starting with your primary care physician, who can refer you to a urologist or urogynecologist. When you meet with a specialist, they’ll ask you lots of questions, such as when your symptoms started, how often you’re leaking, what seems to cause the leaks, whether you feel a strong urge to go to the bathroom and how often, and how all of this is affecting your day-to-day life, Dr. McAchran says.

Causes of Urinary Incontinence at Every Age, from Your 20s and Beyond

Causes of Urinary Incontinence at Every Age, from Your 20s and Beyond

Are you noticing that a little bit of pee leaks out when you get the giggles? What about during your morning jog? Do you have to get up to use the bathroom several times throughout the night? If this sounds familiar, you should be aware of urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control. You might think it’s an issue you couldn’t possibly deal with until you’re older, but the truth is that anyone of any age can experience urinary incontinence.According to the Urology Care Foundation, anywhere from 25 to 33% of American adults have some form of urinary incontinence, and it affects twice as many people with vaginas as it does people with penises. Though your urinary incontinence risk does generally increase as you get older, you can experience it as early as your 20s—but a lot of young people assume they’re alone in their experience.Sarah McAchran, MD, urogynecologist and associate professor of urology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, tells SELF that there’s a misconception that incontinence is an “old lady disease.” This spikes the effects of the stigma that younger people with the condition sometimes feel. “I think it’s difficult for people to talk about because there’s a lot of shame associated with it,” Dr. McAchran says. “If someone is in their 30s, they may think they’re the only person who has it.”First, a little urinary incontinence 101.Let’s back up a bit: Urinary incontinence refers to any leaking of urine that you can’t control, according to the Urology Care Foundation. It’s a physical problem, yes, but it can also affect a person’s emotional well-being. After all, it can interfere with your daily life and cause you to avoid activities you enjoy because you may worry about leaking in public or needing to be close to a bathroom, which can set off a ton of stress.That’s because incontinence is often caused by pelvic floor trauma from all types of causes, including childbirth, menopause, hysterectomy, chronic coughing, constipation, and the list goes on, according to experts at Yale Medicine. Basically, anything that puts extra strain on or causes dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles—the group of muscles that support the bladder, urethra, uterus, and bowels—can lead to urinary incontinence. Plus the bladder and nearby muscles tend to just naturally weaken with age, per the US National Library of Medicine.There are two main types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence, Suzette Sutherland, MD, director of female urology and associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, tells SELF.Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) means the pelvic muscles let urine leak out uncontrollably, usually due to some kind of pressure—like when you cough, sneeze, or jump. “You’re not strong enough down below for whatever reason and a little bit of urine comes out,” Dr. Sutherland explains.Urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder, is when you feel the urge to urinate frequently. Some people may experience a combination of SUI and overactive bladder (known as mixed incontinence). Overflow incontinence, when your bladder doesn’t fully empty, and functional incontinence, when a physical or mental impairment makes it hard to get to the bathroom, are other less common types.Urinary incontinence in your 20sWelcome to adulting! SUI and overactive bladder can occur at any age, even in your 20s. Incontinence can be set off by certain lifestyle habits, like drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, and health issues, like urinary tract infections, hormonal changes, or having to take certain medications, according to the Mayo Clinic.

I Thought Pneumonia Was Causing My Strange Symptoms. Turns Out I Had Heart Failure.

I Thought Pneumonia Was Causing My Strange Symptoms. Turns Out I Had Heart Failure.

Glenda Sexauer, 59, was diagnosed with heart failure when she was 46. But, it took nearly a year—all while her heart health was steadily declining—for doctors to realize what was wrong.She had several symptoms, including relentless fatigue, bloating, nausea, and weight gain she couldn’t explain. Initially, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and pneumonia before her doctor referred her to a cardiologist. She was hospitalized for several weeks and had a pacemaker and defibrillator placed in her chest. Her road to recovery took several years—she still takes multiple medications each day and relies on her pacemaker—but she credits her active lifestyle for getting her through it all.Heart failure affects about 3.6 million women in the United States—but there is a huge disparity in research between men and women with heart failure. Nearly 50% of people admitted to the hospital with heart failure are women,1 yet only 25% of women are involved in heart failure studies.2After her experience, Sexauer became a community educator with WomenHeart, a nonprofit organization that educates women with heart disease about the signs of heart failure. Here’s her story, as told to writer Erica Sweeney.—I’ve always been active. I exercised regularly, ran marathons, and once did a two-day, 150-mile bike ride. But, when I was 46, I noticed that I wasn’t feeling like myself anymore. I had gained some weight and was tired all the time. I slept a lot and felt bloated. I just knew something wasn’t right. I went to my gynecologist first, thinking my symptoms could be pointing to menopause, but my hormone testing ruled that out. Then, I researched my symptoms online and thought it might be my thyroid acting up. My doctor diagnosed me with the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that can cause symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and muscle weakness. I thought, “OK, that’s what it is.”I continued feeling tired all the time, though, despite taking medication for Hashimoto’s. I had a lot going on in my life then, too. My son had just gone away to college and my mother-in-law was living with us. I was working as a vice president of a financial services company. My mom was also really sick; she had Alzheimer’s and was nearing the final phase of her life. So, I thought maybe I was just experiencing anxiety.Then, I started feeling a funny sensation in my chest when lying down. It was kind of like I could hear my heart gurgle. A couple of nights I had to sit up to sleep. After my mother passed away, something else gave me pause. I was at her funeral when I coughed up some stuff that didn’t look right. I saw my primary care doctor and told him I thought I had pneumonia. He confirmed I had a little bit of fluid in my lungs and prescribed medication. I never had a fever, which, looking back now, was a big hint that I didn’t have pneumonia. No one ever thought I had heart disease.Then, I finally got a heart failure diagnosis.To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, my husband and I planned a trip to Hawaii. We decided to go, even though I wasn’t feeling great. I couldn’t eat much and felt nauseated. When we got there, I slept so much. I had to sit and rest after walking up just two steps. We had all these activities planned and had to keep canceling because I just couldn’t do them—and that’s not like me. On the day we came home, I put all of my symptoms into a health checker online and it suggested I had a heart problem. At the time, we laughed because I was really pretty healthy.

14 High-Protein Slow-Cooker Recipes You Can Set and Forget

14 High-Protein Slow-Cooker Recipes You Can Set and Forget

Let’s be real: Cooking a filling, healthy dinner is probably the last thing you want to do after a busy day. But adding some high-protein slow-cooker recipes to your repertoire can help you get ahead of your dinner woes. Slow cookers have so many advantages. They are relatively affordable as far as kitchen gadgets go, as well as easy to use. (Seriously, turning a dial is the extent of the technical skill required here.) They also help cut down on clean-up time. For even quicker and simpler slow cooking, you can save on prep time by looking for flash-frozen veggies or pre-prepped ingredients like chopped onions, crushed garlic, and cut sweet potatoes. You can also buy slow-cooker liners, which makes clean-up even breezier.Most of all, slow cookers will make preparing a legit dinner a snap. While every recipe is a little different, the general gist is this: Choose a dish, get all the ingredients ready, toss them into the appliance, and let it do its thing. A few hours later, you’ll be ready to eat. Often, all you’ll need to do is take a bit of time in the morning to drop everything in your slow cooker and voilà, you’ll have a delicious hot meal waiting for you at the end of the day. It’s like having a chef! Except the chef is you.Once you’re set up and are looking for slow-cooker recipes to try, focusing on protein-rich dinners is a smart choice. Not only do meats cook beautifully and come out tender when slow-cooked, but all that protein will keep you fuller longer, as SELF has previously reported, so you won’t have to rustle up another snack before bedtime (unless you want to!). Plus, protein is an essential nutrient that is vital for things like building muscle, keeping your skin, hair, and nails strong, and much more. Maximal protein and deliciousness, minimal effort. Ya feel? If you’re ready to get cooking, here are 14 high-protein slow cooker recipes to try.

12 Diabetic Meal Delivery Services That Make Life So Much Easier

12 Diabetic Meal Delivery Services That Make Life So Much Easier

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is an important part of managing diabetes. That can sometimes make meal planning and cooking…complicated. One solution? Using a diabetic meal delivery service. Getting your meals delivered—and being able to see the nutrition label right on the package—helps take some of the guesswork out of figuring out how many grams of carbs, sugar, protein, and fats you’re eating, making it that much easier to manage your blood sugar.As a rule of thumb for eating with diabetes, Sandra Arévalo, R.D.N., a certified diabetes educator, the director of community and patient education at Montefiore Nyack Hospital, and a spokesperson for the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists, suggests following the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines, more or less. That means filling half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter with lean protein such as grilled fish or beans, and a quarter with whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or whole wheat bread or tortillas. Being conscious of your intake of sugary foods and refined carbs, like white rice or white bread, which can raise your blood sugar quickly to high levels, is also important. This doesn’t at all mean that people with diabetes can never have these items—that probably wouldn’t be a sustainable (or enjoyable) way to live. It’s possible to incorporate foods you enjoy, even ones with sugar, into your eating habits with diabetes. It will likely just take some planning and preparation to do so in the safest way possible.For instance, having protein at each meal helps slow the digestion of carbs and will keep your sugar levels under control, Arévalo says. It’s also a good idea to eat snacks that combine protein and carbohydrates in between meals to maintain your blood sugar, she explains. It’s a lot to keep track of, and finding recipes, then preparing breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners each day that adhere to all of these guidelines may seem daunting! Thus, diabetic meal delivery services and other meal delivery services that can be tailored to a diabetic-friendly eating style can make it all a little easier.“If you are a person who doesn’t like to cook or doesn’t know how to cook balanced meals, having meals delivered is the way to go,” Arévalo says. Plus, diabetic meal delivery has a big advantage over eating out—not only is eating out expensive, but you don’t always know the nutritional composition of everything you’re eating, at least not to the extent that makes it easiest to know how what you’re eating may affect your blood sugar and diabetes symptoms.An important note before we begin: Before kicking off any meal plan to manage your diabetes, please talk to your doctor or a certified diabetes educator or dietitian about your specific dietary needs and ensure you’re properly caring for your health. Don’t only talk to them about the physical, depending on your needs. It’s possible that a meal delivery service that focuses too much on restriction, calorie- or carb-counting, or diet-related language may be triggering to you. Emotional health is part of healthy eating as well, so be sure to look out for both your body and mind when deciding on something like a diabetic meal delivery service, and to talk about it with your care team if you need help navigating all of this.

The 16 Best Meat Delivery Services to Try Out This Year

The 16 Best Meat Delivery Services to Try Out This Year

Cost: Standard and family-size curated boxes range from $118 to $187. Individual items vary in price. Memberships are free and provide a discount on products and free shipping on some orders.Availability: Nationwide, except Alaska and HawaiiCustomer review: “Crowd Cow offerings are fantastic. High-quality products with excellent packing and shipping. Highly recommend giving Crowd Cow a try!” – AnthonyWhy it’s worth it: Wild Fork offers a huge selection of beef, steaks, pork, lamb, sausages and specialty meats, like ostrich and venison. And, you can find plenty of wild-caught, grass-fed, and antibiotic-free options. Purchase portions individually or snag one of the many bundles that contain a mix of meat and sides. Membership ($29 a year) and gets you free shipping and may even score you free same-day pickup (depending on where you live).Cost: Bundles range from $15 to $350. Individual items vary in price.Availability: 38 states and Washington, D.C.Customer review: “They say money can’t buy you happiness. But it can buy you bacon which is pretty much the same thing!” – JeffWhy it’s worth it: From grass-fed and grass-finished beef to pasture-raised chicken to heritage pork to wild-caught seafood, FarmFoods has tons of high-quality options to satisfy your meat cravings. Along with buying individual items, samplers and variety packs are also available. You can even nab a portion of a whole cow or pig. Shipping is free on orders over $99, and items arrive frozen packed in dry ice.Cost: Value pack pricing starts at about $60; prices of individual items vary.Availability: Nationwide, but free shipping isn’t available to Hawaii, Alaska or the U.S. Virgin IslandsCustomer review: “I truly value pasture-raised/organic high-quality products and FarmFoods provides both within a single site. For variety, quality and price FarmFoods is number 1.” – BarbaraWhy it’s worth it: Porter Road sources meat from farms that are family-owned and operated in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, so the farms are carefully vetted for sustainability and husbandry standards. Their products are hand-cut, and all the beef is dry-aged for at least 14 days. Meats, including beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, are antibiotic- and hormone-free and sold as individual cuts, in bundles or via subscriptions. Choose from a butcher’s choice box, a best-of box, and more— subscribers can have their picks delivered every two, four, or eight weeks.Cost: Subscription boxes range from $100 to $127; individual prices vary.Availability: Nationwide, except for Alaska and HawaiiCustomer review: “Porter Road has become my go-to source for top-quality meat and prompt delivery. I’ve ordered twice now and both times the quality has exceeded my expectations. In addition, their packaging is eco-friendly. Top-notch.” – Warren6. ButcherBoxWhy it’s worth it: This Instagram-friendly meat delivery service focuses on delivering grass-fed, grass-finished beef, crate-free raised pork, free-range organic chicken, and wild-caught seafood. ButcherBox works with farmers and fishermen committed to sustainability, and runs their meat-processing facilities with high-quality standards. ButcherBox is only available on a subscription basis, but you have five boxes to choose from—a custom box, mixed box, beef and chicken box, beef and pork box, and all-beef box. Meats are frozen and delivered every four, six, or eight weeks in an eco-friendly insulated box.

23 Money-Saving Tips You Can Start Trying Today

23 Money-Saving Tips You Can Start Trying Today

Some apps also offer coupons you can “clip.” Before shopping online or heading to the store, look for coupons or discount codes to save here and there, Arevalo suggests. Apps like RetailMeNot or CouponCabin are a good place to start, or just Google a retailer’s name and “coupon code” to find discounts. You can also try the Honey plug-in that automatically identifies if you can save money on an online shopping purchase as you check out.7. Save your spare change.Tossing spare change into a jar adds up. Apps like Acorns and Chime do it digitally by rounding up your purchases and saving the difference. “You can save a lot of money without even knowing it,” Alderete says. Again, even if it’s small bits of change here and there, it all adds up over time.8. Cancel subscriptions you don’t use.Never use your gym membership or watch one of the streaming services you subscribe to?

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