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BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

Anderson Cooper, Gerard Depardieu and giggle incontinence

August 18, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
  • Gerard Depardieu's recent reported urination on the cabin floor of a plane triggered giggles in CNN host Anderson Cooper -- but many people suffer from the opposite problem.
Gerard Depardieu's recent reported urination on the cabin floor… (Jean-Christophe Bott /…)

Anderson Cooper, who broke into a giggle fit while delivering a pun-filled monologue on the Ridiculist about Gerard Depardieu's reported urination on the cabin floor of an airplane this week, appeared to surprise even himself with the force of his reaction. 

In Anderson Cooper’s case, the reported tinkling prompted the giggling. More often, it’s the giggling that prompts the tinkling, an event known as giggle incontinence. And yes, this is a real medical condition. Though it's not well understood, it appears to occur when the detrusor muscle, which squeezes urine from the bladder, contracts during a fit of laughter.

This problem affects some women, but mostly children and teenage females around puberty. And studies have shown that training children and young teens how to consciously exercise and control certain muscles can significantly reduce these unfortunate public incidents, perhaps even eliminate them entirely.

If those don't work, it might be time to stop watching Anderson Cooper riff on the Ridiculist: Sufferers should "learn to adapt by withdrawing from activities that will bring on excessive hilarity," according to Female Pelvic Health and Reconstructive Surgery. Giggle incontinence is no laughing matter.

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

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