Getting up several times during the night to use the bathroom or frequent necessary pit stops to the nearest gas station restroom while traveling can be irritating and uncomfortable. Supplement your nutrition and train your body to better support bladder control with these simple tips!
According to the Mayo Clinic, the severity of urinary incontinence (the loss of bladder control) is more common than some people may think. This embarrassing problem can happen when you accidentally leak urine when you cough or sneeze, or it could be an overwhelming constant urge to urinate.
If that’s the case, simple lifestyle changes such as special exercises for your lower body, a change in nutrition, or taking dietary supplements to fill nutritional gaps in your diet, may help temporarily ease discomfort.
While there are many potentially helpful methods to supporting bladder health and achieving better control over the urge to urinate, we’ve uncovered some of the triggers and potential support options for urinary incontinence.
What Causes an Overactive Bladder?
The bladder holds the urine made by the kidneys. When the bladder contracts it releases urine through the urethra and out of the body. According to the American Urological Association, one-quarter to one-third of men and women in the United States experience urinary incontinence. However, urinary incontinence is much more common in females than men.
Women who have given birth or gone through the natural stages of aging may experience stress incontinence, which occurs when physical stress or strain is placed on the bladder and muscles involved in urinary control. In addition, obesity, smoking and old age are also risk factors for urinary incontinence. When placed under sudden extra pressure, the person may urinate involuntarily. (Source)
Reflex incontinence, also known as an “overactive bladder,” occurs when there is a sudden, involuntary contraction of the bladder’s muscular wall that causes an urge to urinate that cannot be stopped. This may occur when bladder muscles activate involuntarily because of damage to the nerves or to the muscles. For some people, changing positions, hearing the sound of running water or experiencing physical intimacy may spur these reactions.
Other common types of bladder control problems are overflow incontinence, which occurs in men with prostate gland problems, a damaged bladder or a blocked urethra. Elderly or immobile people who cannot physically make it to the bathroom in time, people who have dementia or poor dexterity, or people who have had a spinal cord injury, may also experience incontinence.
Nutritional Supplements for Bladder Support
There are simple alternatives to conventional medicine, such as nutritional supplements, that people with overactive bladders may try to support their bladder health. Natural Healthy Concepts has a great selection of nutritional supplements to support bladder, urinary tract and kidney health.
SagaPro from Terry Naturally is a bladder health supplement made with Angelica leaf (Angelica archangelica) extract harvested in Iceland that is ideal for both men and women. This clinically tested herb contains flavonoids such as isoquercitrin, polyphenols and polysaccharides, which may support the bladder’s capacity to hold urine without triggering its irritating, unintentional release.
Extra Strength Continence Max by Solaray is a dietary supplement that provides an herbal blend of ingredients formulated for their potential to support bladder control, including pumpkin seed extract, cranberry extract, morinda root extract, psoralea fruit extract, raspberry extract and alpinia extract.
Foods and Fluids as Triggers
Sometimes what you drink or eat (and how much) can aggravate an overactive bladder. The American Urogynecologic Society suggests spreading out fluid intake throughout the day, but remember to always drink fluids when you’re thirsty. Sip water between meals to stay hydrated, but don’t gulp. If you are well hydrated, your urine should be light yellow or nearly clear. Remember that fruits, vegetables and soups contain water too.
In addition, you should cut down on drinking any beverages with caffeine, alcohol, acidic juices or carbonation. Also avoid spicy, salty or overly sugary foods, as these may challenge bladder control abilities. In addition, don’t drink fluids right before bed.
If you’re not sure where to start, keep a “bladder diary.” Write down a daily record of what and when you eat and drink, and your urination habits. Over a few weeks, you’ll notice patterns and can eliminate possible things triggering your constant urge to urinate. (Source)
Support Bladder Health With Exercise
For stress incontinence, try Kegel exercises, which may help strengthen the urinary sphincter and pelvic floor muscles that control urination. For example, you can help build and maintain a strong pelvic floor with Laselle Kegel Routine from Intimina. The kit includes three exercisers of varying weights and resistance for beginning through advanced training, ideal for use by women after pregnancy or for overall intimacy and pelvic floor health.
Most Kegel exercises work in a similar way. You tighten, hold and relax the muscles you use to start and stop the process of urination. Gradually work your way up to three sets of 10. (Source)
An additional activity to try is bladder training. By delaying urination and only going to the bathroom at scheduled intervals throughout the day, for example, every 2 hours, it may help train the body to gain back control over the bladder.
Remember to talk to your doctor about your health and to get help diagnosing urinary incontinence and the best possible solutions for you.
Have you or a family member been able to gain control over your bladder challenges? We’d love to hear your advice! Share your story in the comments below.