By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
It seems like every other week I’m on a plane bound for one medical conference or another so I’m pretty familiar with airport security.
But I couldn’t believe my ears this morning when I heard about the 95-year-old woman with cancer who was forced by TSA agents to remove her adult diaper! That just goes beyond all reason and sense of decency!
Anyone who suffers from urinary problems can tell you it’s incredibly embarrassing. And you can imagine how this poor woman must have felt to be singled out. But she’s certainly not alone with this problem. Maybe you’ve experienced this inconvenient and embarrassing problem, too.
- Do you “leak” when you laugh or sneeze?
- Do you need to go NOW, even if you’ve just urinated a short time before?
- Do you avoid long trips or turn down social invitations because you’re afraid of being away from a bathroom?
If any of these questions sound familiar, you may be one of 33 million men and women with overactive bladder. In addition to being inconvenient, 40% of folks with the condition also suffer from an involuntary loss of urine.
So what’s causing the floodgates to open? Sure, an enlarged prostate, recurring urinary tract infections or weak urethral or pelvic muscles can set you up for bladder control issues. But overactive bladder can also be triggered by a number of other conditions not having anything to do with your bladder. Obesity, frequent constipation, dementia, stroke, MS, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome can all trigger overactive bladder.
It can even be caused as a result of taking certain medications.
Of course there are pharmaceutical drugs you can take to decrease the urgency and frequency. But then you’d have to cope with the possible common side effects of dry mouth, constipation, headache and blurred vision. Added to that, one researcher found that memory loss is a real concern for people who take some of these drugs.1
Fortunately, a future filled with bladder control drugs and adult diapers isn’t your only option.
Over the years, I’ve developed a highly effective protocol for my patients with bladder control issues. It’s both safe and natural with no side effects. Here’s what you can do to strengthen your bladder muscles and put yourself back in the driver’s seat.
Antioxidants. To combat the oxidative stress that can irritate the nerves surrounding the bladder, take a combination of antioxidants. Try 1,000 mg of vitamin C, 800 IU of vitamin E, and 100 mg of alpha-lipoic acid daily.
Cranberry. Bladder control issues are often linked to urinary tract infections, especially if those infections are recurrent. Cranberry has been proven time and again to prevent urinary tract infections and for its ability to help maintain overall urinary tract health. It’s so effective that some research suggests it can even help prevent bladder cancer.2 Take 400 mg of a standardized cranberry extract twice a day.
D-Mannose. This simple sugar, taken once or twice a day, will bind E.Coli bladder bacteria and flush them out of your bladder with each urination keeping the critical number of bacteria to low for “ biofilm” formation and the resulting infection occurring with it. You can either add one teaspoon of d-mannose powder to water twice a day to treat ongoing bladder problems or take 500 mg of d-mannose in capsule form once a day for prevention.
Magnesium. Yes, magnesium the relaxation mineral. Have your doctor check your red blood cell magnesium (RBC magnesium). If it’s not in the center of the reference range begin supplementation with at least 150 to 250 mg of magnesium glycinate or orotate daily. Within days to weeks, bladder spasms will decrease or stop—as will most other muscle twitches you might have.
Pumpkin Seed Extract. During the past 20 years, pumpkin seed has become popular as a treatment for the urinary complaints associated with an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH). But you don’t need to have a prostate to reap its benefits. In fact, pumpkin seed offers a wide spectrum of nutrients, including essential fatty acids, vitamin E, carotenoids, selenium and magnesium. It also boasts a rare protein called myosin that’s involved in muscle contraction.3 Plus, there’s some evidence that pumpkin seed reduces bladder pressure and helps strengthen the muslces along the pelvic floor. Take 160 mg 3 times per day with meals.
Kegel Exercises. Contracting your pelvic muscles throughout the day can strengthen them and give you more control over when and how urgently you need to go. Simply contract your pelvic floor muscles for a count of 10, then relax the muscles for another count of 10. Repeat the exercise 8 to 12 times, 3 times a day (usually morning, afternoon and evening).4
An overactive bladder can interfere with your daily work schedule and weekend social life. It can wreak havoc on your personal relationships and prevent you from living life to the fullest. And it can even lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
Don’t avoid dealing with overactive bladder syndrome just because it’s an embarrassing issue. Take charge of your bladder health now for a drier, more carefree tomorrow.
- Antimuscarinic Drugs and Memory Loss in Patients with Overactive Bladder: An Expert Interview With Dr. Gary Kay. Medscape Urology. 2006;8(1).
- Prasain JK. Effect of cranberry juice concentrate on chemically-induced urinary bladder cancers. Oncology Reports. 2008;19:1565-1570.
- Zhang X. In vitro and in vivo relaxation of urinary bladder smooth muscle by the selective myosin II inhibitor, blebbistatin. BJU International. 2011;107:310-317.
- Aslan E. Bladder training and Kegel exercises for women with urinary complaints living in a rest home. Gerontology. 2008;54:224-31.