By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
October 5, 2015
- An urgent need to pee…
- What causes overactive bladder?
- Don’t let urinary frequency get the best of you
In the last issue of Advanced Natural Wellness I talked about a few things that might be contributing to your bowel problems and offered up some tips on how to conquer these issues.
Well, this opened the floodgates, so to speak. Within minutes, questions about urinary problems started arriving in my inbox. And most of the questions were from women.
But almost all of the queries focused in on overactive bladder. “Is it a real disease?”…”Does the medication really work?”…”What happens if I don’t treat it?”
So let’s talk about this. To start with, overactive bladder (OA) isn’t a disease.
And it’s my educated opinion that it’s not a medical condition that requires treatment with pharmaceutical drugs. However, I do recommend that anyone who has this condition take measures to gain the upper hand.
If your bladder is overactive, you likely have sudden urges to urinate.
And you probably do it quite often…maybe more than 10 or 15 times a day. Some people also experience embarrassing leakage.
Now, a weak urethra or pelvic muscles may be part of the problem. But there are many things that can confuse the issue.
A recurring urinary tract infection can set you up for bladder control issues. Obesity, frequent constipation, dementia, stroke, MS, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome can all trigger overactive bladder.
And after the age of 40, men can experience urinary problems. They could be overactive bladder, but it could also be because their prostate begins to grow and push against the bladder.
In other words, it could be either.
And taking a drug to relax your bladder isn’t the answer. And don’t forget that drugs have side effects. Those drugs can leave you feeling drowsy, rob you of your brainpower and give you constipation.
So if taking medication isn’t the right solution, what is?
First off, it’s important to regulate your liquid consumption. It’s easy to chug down 12 or 20 ounces of liquid at a time when you’re thirsty. And that’s a lot for your bladder to process.
If you want to avoid putting too much burden on your bladder at once, try drinking a steady 4 to 5 ounces of liquid each hour.
Secondly, caffeine will kick your bladder into high gear. Coffee, tea and soda all have diuretic tendencies that are guaranteed to keep you running to the toilet to relieve yourself.
If you have bladder control issues, I suggest going caffeine-free.
Last, but not least, are the “bladder irritants.” Fruits and juices high in acid, like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits can all irritate the bladder. Carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners and alcoholic beverages also fall into this category. Any one of these items can cause frequent and urgent trips to the bathroom.
Once you’ve mastered these fluids, here are some other things that will help improve your bladder health…
Cranberry extract. It’s not unusual to confuse urinary tract infections with an overactive bladder. And cranberry is one of the best things you can do to maintain urinary tract health. But don’t buy processed and sugary cranberry drinks from the grocery store. They won’t help. Instead, take 400 mg of standardized cranberry extract twice a day.
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.
Magnesium. 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.
Men! If you’re experiencing serious urinary issues, I suggest paying a visit to your doctor. You may have OA or prostate problems (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.)
When your prostate becomes enlarged, it presses down on your urethra like a vice. This can cause all sorts of troubles when it comes to passing fluids through your pipe. If you’re diagnosed with BPH, here are some tips to help relieve the symptoms of enlarged prostate and get your urine flowing again.
As an added measure, try some Kegel exercises. You women know what I’m talking about. But they work equally as well for men. 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
McCall J, et al. Cranberry impairs selected behaviors essential for virulence in Proteus mirabilis HI4320. Can J Microbiol. 2013 Jun;59(6):430-6.
Tao Y, et al. Oral consumption of cranberry juice cocktail inhibits molecular-scale adhesion of clinical uropathogenic Escherichia coli. J Med Food. 2011 Jul-Aug;14(7-8):739-45.
Gordon D, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of magnesium hydroxide for treatment of sensory urgency and detrusor instability: preliminary results. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1998 Jun;105(6):667-9.
Friederich M, et al. Prosta Fink Forte capsules in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Multicentric surveillance study in 2245 patients. [Article in German] Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2000 Aug;7(4):200-4.
Nishimura M, et al. Pumpkin Seed Oil Extracted From Cucurbita maxima Improves Urinary Disorder in Human Overactive Bladder. J Tradit Complement Med. 2014 Jan;4(1):72-4.