An overactive bladder is a condition that affects the bladder’s ability to store urine so that one experiences a sudden urge to pee. This urge is usually hard to control, and is often linked to involuntary urine leakage (medically referred to as urine incontinence). This sudden urge occurs any time, anywhere, regardless of the kind of fluids you have had.
In fact, the urge sometimes occurs immediately after visiting the bathroom, which certainly makes it uncomfortable for affected persons. Other symptoms that accompany an overactive bladder frequent urination (typically more than 10 times in a 24-hour period) as well as rushing to the washroom only to release a few drops of urine.
These symptoms cause embarrassment, and it is easy for affected individuals to isolate themselves socially because the accidental leaks that result from an overactive bladder affect your daily life. This disruption makes it difficult to lead quality lifestyles. Some of the causes of an overactive bladder include weak pelvic muscles, medical disorders as well as age-related factors.
Sometimes the cause of the condition remains unclear. For this reason, it helps to get professional medical attention. In addition, a number of home remedies and lifestyle changes are available to treat an overactive bladder naturally. Below are some of the options which go a long way in managing this condition. The first line of treatment usually involves behavioral strategies which are used over a period of time before advancing to herbal options as the second line of treatment. The home remedies and lifestyle changes below will be categorized as such.
I – Behavioral Strategies Used to Manage an Overactive Bladder:
1. Keep a Record of Details:
Time Required: Varies, but typically over a couple of days.
What You Need: A notebook, pen and consciousness about trips to the bathroom.
One of the first things you need to do to treat an overactive bladder is to keep a log of details that show specifics of your bathroom trips. This not only creates a consciousness on how the condition manifests, it also gives you a glimpse into some of the lifestyle changes that you can make, and simply ways in which you can take charge of your natural home treatment. You will need to do this daily for at least a week for consistency and accurate findings.
What to write on the Daily Log.
- Indicate the amount of fluids you take. This means taking note of the amount of water, beverages, soups and other fluids you consume. Remember to record the specific time of fluid intake.
- Write down the number of times you head to the bathroom to pee.
- Have you had an accidental leak? If yes, note down the number of times the leaks have occurred.
- Indicate the circumstances surrounding the accidental leaks. For instance, were you sleeping, sneezing, eating, coughing or laughing?
- Do this for 7 consecutive days as this forms the basis of the strategies and remedies that you will take up to treat an overactive bladder.
2. Create a Fluid Schedule:
Time Required: Varies from one person to another
What You Need: Consistency when setting up the schedule and flexibility
The purpose of creating a fluid schedule, like any other habit which requires enforcement, is to create a system which can help train the bladder. Consistency is key if the schedule is to be an effective tool for treating an overactive bladder. It is also important to be flexible because life happens, and it is vital to cut yourself some slack and not stress over a skipped day or two. Remember, the information required for setting up this schedule is, in part, obtained from the log created in the first behavioral strategy.
Tips on how to create a Fluid Schedule
- Ensure that there is enough water so that you are well hydrated. Soups are an excellent addition because they also nourish the body. This seems counteractive, but actually plays a critical role in managing an overactive bladder. When urine is too concentrated (appears as dark yellow) it causes bladder irritation, which in turn triggers more frequent bathroom visitors. This only makes an overactive bladder more pronounced. As such, make sure you stay hydrated by consuming an adequate amount of fluids daily.
- If, from the log above, you experience the need to urinate severally at night, consider scheduling most fluids in the morning period to reduce fluid intake as night approaches.
- Choose carefully your preferred fluids as some of them are known to worsen the symptoms of an overactive bladder.
3. Make Diet Changes
Time Required: Varies accordingly
What You Need: Eliminate foods and fluids which trigger frequent urination.
There are different foods that are known to make the symptoms of an overactive bladder worse, and should therefore be eliminated from one’s daily diet. Typically processed spicy foods and caffeinated drinks are some of the most common examples in this category. Below are some of the tips that come in handy in making diet changes to treat an overactive bladder at home.
- As a general guide, get rid of the following groups of foods and fluids: tomato-based dishes, caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages, artificial sweeteners, spicy hot foods as well as alcohol.
- Chocolate is also known to trigger an overactive bladder and should therefore be avoided.
- In place of the aforementioned fluids, it helps to take non-irritating fluids in addition to water.
4. Quit Smoking:
Time Required: Varies from one person to another
What You Need: Professional help and/or a support group.
Another effective behavioral strategy recommended for the management of an overactive bladder revolves around the need to quit smoking. Smoking bot only introduces toxins to the body, it also increases bladder irritation. This is especially unnerving for anyone suffering from an overactive bladder. Research goes on to show that smoking has been linked to cancer of the bladder. What’s more, smoking often causes coughing, which in turn increases the chances of leaking urine. Anyone struggling with an overactive bladder will appreciate the impact of quitting smoking.
Tips on how to Quit Smoking
- If you are a cigarette addict, the first thing you need to do is to admit that you have a problem and it is making the overactive bladder worse.
- Once you have come to terms with this, the next step involves asking for help to manage the addiction. Look out for professional medical help which is where your doctor will guide you on some of the medical options available (such as nicotine patches) depending on the level of addiction. It also helps to join a support group for people struggling with the same.
- Once you have this under control, it becomes easier to manage an overactive bladder.
5. Manage Regular Pressure by Encouraging More Frequent Bowel Movements:
Time Required: Varies depending on the specific foods as well as the choice activities.
What You Need: To add more fiber to your diet as well as to lead an active lifestyle.
Healthy bowel habits go a long way in managing an overactive bladder. The reason for this is simple: irregular bowel movements cause stool to harden in the system. This in turn piles extra pressure on the bladder which increases the frequency of urination and makes the symptoms of an overactive bladder more intense. To avoid constipation, add more fiber to your diet. Leading an active lifestyle also helps to increase regular bowel movements and relieve pressure on the bladder.
Simple ways to prevent Constipation
- ‘Get things moving’ by adding more fiber. Some of the food sources ideal for this strategy include whole wheat products, bran, cereals and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Daily portions of fruits and vegetables are recommended for daily intake to prevent constipation. In line with this, avoid processed foods.
- Add regular activities to your daily schedule to sustain bowel regularity.
6. Exercise Regularly
Time Required: Varies depending on the preferred exercise routine
What You Need: Appropriate exercise gear and/or equipment as well as a reliable place to work out from
Exercising on a regular basis has such a profound effect on an overactive bladder largely because plays a dual role as far as the natural treatment of this condition is concerned. First, depending on the exercise routines, workouts that target the pelvic muscles help strengthen these muscles and manage some of the symptoms exhibited by an overactive bladder. Secondly, regular exercise prevents obesity which studies have linked to stress incontinence. Incontinence, or leaking urine, is one of the symptoms of the condition.
Tips on Exercising Regularly
- Start off today even if it means just 20 minutes of working out. You can then build on this foundation until exercising is a regular part of your daily schedule. Make sure you invest in appropriate exercise gear and equipment.
- If you would like, get professional advice from a trained fitness instructor on the way forward.
- Kegel exercises are an easy option that you can use anywhere anytime. These exercises target the pelvic floor, and help strengthen the muscles around the bladder so that the ability to hold urine is improved.If you are unsure of which muscles you need to exercise, try stopping your urine midstream during a bathroom call. The muscles used to achieve these are the pelvic floor muscles, and these will be the focal point of your exercises. Note that it is not advisable to kegels when urinating as this is likely to cause urine retention which can irritate the bladder.
- To perform kegels, contract the pelvic muscles to mimic the action of holding in urine (but on an empty bladder). Hold this position for a couple of seconds before releasing. Repeat at least ten times daily. As the muscles become stronger, increase the holding duration from a few seconds, to 5 seconds to 20 seconds and onwards. This discreet set of exercises is an excellent way to treat an overactive bladder.
II – Herbal Remedies and Natural Options for the Treatment of an Overactive Bladder:
1. Vitamin C Supplements:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Vitamin C supplements and a glass of warm water.
Vitamin C supplements have long been recommended for the natural treatment of an overactive bladder. This is because the supplements are packed with ingredients which help keep oxidative stress at bay. Oxidative stress not only burdens the immune system, it also causes nerve irritation particularly around the bladder region. This in turn, triggers the urge to urinate frequently while making it more likely to suffer incontinence. Use these supplements and monitor your progress with the help of the records in the chart created (remedy 1 of the behavioral strategies).
- Follow the dosage indicated on the packaging, and take the supplements alongside a cup of warm water.
- If in doubt, check with your doctor before using this remedy.
2. Pumpkin Seed Extract:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Pumpkin seed extract in supplement form.
An overactive bladder causes distress for affected persons because it is both embarrassing and inconveniencing. Pumpkin seed extract has been shown to have a tremendous effect on the condition, particularly because the seeds have long been used in ancient days to treat issues affecting the urinary tract. The specific ingredient in the seeds relevant for this remedy is the water-soluble extract. This extract, through different mechanisms, produces compounds that help strengthen the pelvic muscles. Additional benefits of using the seed extract include less predisposition to urinary tract infections as well as reduced urine incontinence.
- Follow the dosage indicated on the pumpkin seed extract supplements packaging.
- Remember to consult your doctor as you use this remedy to prevent possible drug interactions.
3. Herbal Remedies:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Any of the herbal remedies listed below.
Herbal remedies are often preferred because they have minimal side-effects, are typically easy to access and may often supplant conventional medical treatment. It is important to note, however, that since research is not conclusive for a number of the remedies, it is advisable to check with your doctor if in doubt. The advantage of using these remedies is that a good number have been used since ancient civilizations, and are available in the market.
Common herbal solutions for an Overactive Bladder
- Hachi-mi-jio-gan is a Chinese remedy that contains a blend of multiple ingredients, and is known to ease contractions in the muscles around the bladder.
- Cleavers is a herb used to prepare herbal tea, and which is believed to soothe the bladder. The herb effectively prevents the irritation of the bladder, which in turn reduces frequent urination.
- Gosha-jinki-gan is yet another herbal remedy that is fronted for the natural management of an overactive bladder. This blended remedy is a popular option, and studies carried out in Japan indicate that it lowers the frequent urge of urination. This remedy also helps to deal with incontinence.
- Kohki Tea is a herbal remedy that is rich in antioxidants, and which improves bladder function for the natural treatment of an overactive bladder.
Regular use of these remedies helps manage an overactive bladder. If the symptoms become worse, consider talking to your doctor and have them know what remedies you have sampled to help find an appropriate treatment option.