I am discussing this condition because it’s very common in the over-50 crowd and although it can be rather embarrassing, incontinence can be managed reasonably well. Incontinence occurs when the urine that is contained within your bladder flows or dribbles out of your urethra involuntarily. It can be quite a problem if you are releasing urine when you do not want to be!
Bladder problems are just downright embarrassing, but thankfully, there are remedies you can try to curb the problem. After all, what you eat and drink does affect your bladder problems and incontinence issues. Here are some things you need to know:
- Stress incontinence occurs when the level of intra-abdominal pressure is increased. This can occur when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or strain during exercise. This type of incontinence is associated with weakened pelvic muscles that can no longer support your bladder. Obesity and pregnancy are also associated with this type of incontinence.
- An overactive bladder can be associated with incontinence and is usually attributed to diabetes, chronic bladder infections, and nerve damage. When men have bladder problems, the type they have frequently involves the urinary difficulties associated with prostatic enlargement. Men may experience unwanted urinary flow from an incomplete urinary evacuation or an incomplete emptying of the bladder. This commonly occurs in older men who have a certain degree of prostatic enlargement which impedes the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra.
How to Manage Bladder Problems
There are several things that you can do to manage bladder problems. The first thing is to practice Kegel exercises regularly, as these can strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor.
Another method is to utilize an electronic monitor that measures your level of pelvic muscle contraction. This can help you consciously activate these muscles at will, allowing you to control the outflow of urine. If you suffer from incontinence due to recurrent or chronic bladder infections, there are a few natural remedies you may want to consider trying.
Benefits of Cranberry Juice for Bladder Problems
Try drinking eight ounces of pure, unsweetened cranberry juice diluted with water every day. This remedy can help kill the bacteria that line the inside of your bladder—which is why many people with bladder problems use this famous benefit of cranberry juice.
Benefits of Uva Ursi for Bladder Problems
This herb is considered one of the better herbs for managing bladder infections. The main benefit of uva ursi is that this herb kills bacteria and prevents them from clinging to the bladder wall. Effective doses range from two to four grams of dried leaves used as a tea, per day.
For men, I recommend they try saw palmetto to manage their incontinence issues if the bladder problems are associated with prostatic enlargement. This herb can decrease prostatic enlargement, especially if combined with other nutrients such as lycopene and selenium.
I recommend taking 150 mg of saw palmetto extract three times per day with 10 mg of lycopene and 200-400 mcg of selenium (in the form of selenomethionine).
Other herbal treatments include a Chinese herbal combination known as Gosha-jinki-gan which can decrease urinary frequency and urgency in people who suffer from an overactive bladder. The South African herb Buchu has been used as a bladder tonic and decreases the inflammation within the urinary tract.
Which Food and Drinks Should You Avoid?
There are a few foods and drinks that I would recommend you avoid if you are experiencing incontinence or bladder problems. The worst beverages to drink if you have this condition are alcohol and caffeine—both of which can increase urinary flow and worsen the probability of incontinence.
Foods containing higher amounts of artificial sweeteners, spices, or nitrates can be associated with an increase in urinary tract irritation, which can worsen your incontinence. Foods such as celery and cucumber can encourage dehydration and increase urinary flow. You may also want to avoid those!
Instead of suffering from bladder problems, try these remedies to help you manage incontinence naturally, just by making simple changes to what you eat and drink.
Guay, D.R., “Cranberry and urinary tract infections,” Drugs 2009; 69(7):775-807.
Head, K.A., “Natural approaches to prevention and treatment of infections of the lower urinary tract,” Altern Med Rev. September 2008; 13(3): 227-44
Minutoli, L., et al., “Serenoa Repens, lycopene and selenium: a triple therapeutic approach to manage benign prostatic hyperplasia,” Curr Med Chem 2013; 20(10): 1306-12.
Fujiuchi, Y., et al., “Effect of Goshajinkigan on storage symptoms in prostatic disease–fundamental researches of Chinese herbal medicine for voiding dysfunction and its future aspects,” Hinyokika Kiyo. June 2008; 54(6): 463-6.
Simpson. D., “Buchu–South Africa’s amazing herbal remedy,” Scott Med J. December 1998; 43(6): 189-91.
“Incontinence and overactive bladder health center,” WebMD web site; http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/types-of-urinary-incontinence, last accessed May 13, 2013.