How do you know if you have an overactive bladder?
If you have to go to the bathroom a lot, or your urine is very strong or colored, you might have an overactive bladder.
Having an overactive bladder means your bladder doesn’t work the way it should. Common symptoms of OAB include: 1) Feeling the need to go to the bathroom often 2) Being able to go only a few times before needing to go again 3) Having trouble starting or stopping urine flow
- You may be experiencing more frequent bathroom visits than usual.
- If you cannot hold your urine, it means that you have a problem.
- When you have to urinate, you might experience leakage.
- I need to go to the bathroom several times throughout the night.
These symptoms may gradually worsen over time and affect your daily life in various ways. They may make it more difficult to plan trips, cause unintentional disruptions while working, or affect your sleep quality.
OA is a common condition that can be caused by many factors, such as aging-related changes, medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, bladder obstruction, and weakened pelvic muscles. Sometimes the cause is unknown. OA is easily treatable.
There are several remedies that can help manage urinary symptoms, like herbs, exercises, and behavioral therapies. About 70% of women who use these methods are satisfied with the results, according to Harvard Health Blog.
If you have an overactive bladder, you can reduce trips to the bathroom by following these tips.
There are different herbal treatments for an overactive bladder.
Before taking any herbal supplements, always check with your doctor. Some supplements can interact with medicines you are taking and cause side effects you did not expect.
Chinese herbal blends
A blend of 10 Chinese herbs has been found to inhibit the bladder and significantly improve daytime frequency.
People who took 7.5 milligrams of GJG a day also reported better results on their International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), which records urinary symptoms.
There is another Chinese herbal medicine called Hachimi-jio-gan (HE). HE includes eight natural ingredients, some of which are also in GJG. Preliminary studies suggest that HE may have an effect on bladder muscle contraction.
Ganoderma lucidum (GL)
This extract from East Asia is used to treat a variety of ailments including hepatitis, hypertension, and cancer. In a study involving 50 men, they reported better scores on the IPSS scale.
This study recommends that men with lower urinary tract symptoms take 6 milligrams of GL extract.
Corn silk (Zea mays)
Corn silk is the waste material from corn cultivation. Corn silk has been used as a traditional medicine for many ailments, such as bedwetting and bladder irritation. It may help to strengthen and restore mucous membranes in the urinary tract to prevent incontinence. This passage is from an article written by someone who is involved with the International Continence Society.
Chile peppers contain capsaicin, which is used to treat pelvic pain syndrome. StudiesTrusted Source reports that peak bladder capacity increased from 106 milliliters to 302 milliliters as a result of using capsaicin.
Before trying alternative remedies for OAB, always talk to your doctor. These treatments may have side effects that you weren’t expecting. Make sure you buy your herbs from a reliable source. Herbs from unreliable sources may be contaminated, and many of them don’t have a standard dose.
Some herbs aren’t well studied and don’t have quality control processes or human trials to prove their effectiveness.
What can I do to help my overactive bladder?
Pumpkin seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. One study found that pumpkin seed oil improves urinary function and reduces symptoms of OAB (overactive bladder).
A Japanese study found that pumpkin and soybean seeds reduce incontinence. Participants took five tablets of these processed foods each day for the first two weeks and then three tablets a day for the next five.
Kohki tea is the extract of a Chinese subtropical plant. This sweet tea is available over-the-counter in Japan, and it is high in antioxidants. It is also believed to have protective effects on the bladder.
A study found that drinking kohki tea had a protective effect on bladder function and contractile responses in rabbits with partial bladder obstruction.
Other bladder-friendly drinks include:
- Soy milk is less irritating than cow’s or goat’s milk.
- Fruit juices that are less acidic, such as apple or pear, are best for drinking.
- barley water
- diluted squash
- Teas without caffeine are like fruit teas.
Eating to reduce constipation
Constipation can put extra pressure on your bladder. You can prevent constipation by exercising regularly and eating foods high in fiber, such as beans, whole-wheat breads, fruits and vegetables.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends eating two tablespoons of a mixture of one cup of applesauce, one cup of unprocessed wheat bran, and three-quarters cup of prune juice every morning to promote bowel regularity.
What foods and drinks to avoid
Even if you want to drink less, you should still stay hydrated. When your urine is more concentrated, it will usually be darker in color. This can irritate your bladder and cause you to urinate more often.
Other foods and drinks can contribute to OAB symptoms, including those that cause symptoms such as:
- artificial sweeteners
- citrus fruits
- spicy foods
- tomato-based foods
You can test which foods or drinks irritate your bladder by eliminating them from your diet. Then slowly reintroduce them one by one every two to three days at a time. Permanently eliminate the particular food or drink that worsens your symptoms.
If you want to get more sleep, avoid drinking two or three hours before bedtime.
It is recommended not to smoke. Smoking can irritate the bladder and cause coughing, which often leads to urinary incontinence.
What can exercise do for an OAB?
Too much weight can increase the pressure on your bladder, which can cause stress incontinence. This is when urine leaks after something that increases pressure on your bladder, like laughing, sneezing, or even just lifting.
Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly can help you lose weight, but it’s also important to be mindful of your calorie intake and exercise regularly. Strength training helps with long-term management of weight loss.
Studies have shown that overweight women who have bladder problems have fewer episodes of OAB. One study found that women who lost 10 percent of their body weight saw improved bladder control by 50 percent.
There are some simple exercises you can do to overcome an overactive bladder.
Kegel exercises and muscle training
You can also do special exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles or Kegel exercises. These exercises help to minimize involuntary contractions and improve posture. They are also one of the safest behavioral therapies without side effects or complications.
To do Kegel exercises:
When going to the bathroom, try to stop your urine mid-stream. Contracting the muscles in your pelvic floor will help.
When you have an empty bladder, focus on contracting and releasing your muscles. Hold this position for about five seconds at a time. Then relax the muscles and repeat five times. As your muscles become stronger, increase the duration to 10 seconds and 10 repetitions. Perform the exercises 10 or more times per day.
Do these exercises calmly and quietly.
Don’t squeeze your stomach or butt muscles instead of using the pelvic floor muscles.
You can talk to a physical therapist to see if you are contracting the right muscles.
Kegel exercises work for both men and women.
As OAB progresses, your bladder muscles start to react in a certain way. Retraining can help you restart those muscles and gradually work your way up to longer times before releasing urine. Retraining is most effective when it is done along with bladder surgery. Kegels are exercises that help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
To learn how to control your bladder, do the following:
Write in your journal to determine how often you go to the bathroom.
Try to hold off on urination for a few minutes before deciding. Once you feel the need to go, see if you can wait five minutes and increase the time gradually.
Plan trips to the bathroom. You can keep a diary to track how often you need to go and when you should delay that time. You can start with 10 minute delays and work your way up to every three to four hours. Most women should be able to wait three to six hours between bathroom breaks.
Do Kegel exercises regularly.
A bladder-retraining program can take six to eight weeks for it to be effective.