Overactive bladder affects millions of men and women. Symptoms include feeling an overwhelming, uncontrollable urge to urinate, increased frequency, urine leakage, and waking to urinate several times during the night.
Overactive bladder is a frustrating condition for many people. It can also be embarrassing if symptoms such as leaking urine are difficult to control. Fortunately, there are natural treatments that are effective in reducing, preventing and treating overactive bladder.
Most exercises are used to train the bladder and strengthen muscles that control urination. They can be done anywhere, and don’t require equipment or difficult instruction.
Set voiding: This is also known as scheduled voiding. This method requires the person to urinate at set times throughout the day, and while it may not feel like exercise, it trains the bladder muscles to contract only when the bladder is full.
Kegel exercise: While Kegel exercises are a popular way to keep muscles strong during and after childbirth, they aren’t exclusive to women. Men can do these exercises as well. Tighten the muscles used to start and stop the flow of urination, hold, and release. Do this several times a day. On average, it takes four to six weeks to see results.
Cardio and weights: A regular routine of cardio and strength training may be beneficial if you are overweight. Excess weight can put pressure on the bladder, which can worsen symptoms of overactive bladder.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods are known to make overactive bladder worse. Avoiding these foods can go a long way toward managing overactive bladder.
- Tomato products
- Artificial sweeteners
- Spicy foods
- Salty foods
Try removing trigger foods for one week, and then slowly add them back to your diet one at a time. If you notice symptoms returning, cut back on the amount until symptoms disappear. This will help determine whether you can enjoy some of the known problem foods in moderation.
It is important to balance fluid intake. Too much fluid will increase the need to urinate while too little fluid will also increase urination frequency.
Some herbs are known to treat overactive bladder. Using herbs in combination with exercise and dietary changes can increase the success of treatment. Including herbs in your treatment plan may also decrease the time it takes to see improvement.
- This is actually a mixture of herbs, popular in traditional Asian medicine, which increases bladder capacity, and improves urinary urgency, frequency, and night time urination.
- Buchu (Barosma betulina)
- This popular herb from South Africa nourishes the bladder tissue and improves bladder health.
- This herb coats the bladder wall, which decreases irritation that can cause overactive bladder.
- As one of the oldest known herbs for treating bladder problems, Cornsilk is reported to have a soothing effect on the urinary tract.
- Saw palmetto
- Studies show that this herb is most helpful for men. It reduces inflammation and helps balance testosterone levels. Saw palmetto is especially helpful for men who also have an enlarged prostate.
Before beginning herbal supplements, it is important to remember that many of these remedies haven’t been extensively studied in scientific settings for solid objective information. Natural treatment is most effective when exercise, dietary changes, and herbal remedies are used together.
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