ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — As many as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women in the United States live with symptoms of an overactive bladder. The often embarrassing condition can cause a sudden urge to urinate. It can interfere with your work life, your social life, and especially your sleep. But there are some natural ways to lessen the symptoms.
About 33 million Americans have an overactive bladder. A condition that causes a sudden or frequent urge to urinate. And, it can affect every aspect of your life.
The good news is that you may be able to improve your symptoms with just a few simple changes. First, cut out alcohol.
R. Mark Ellerkmann, MD, FACOG, Director of Urogynecology at Mercy Medical Center says, “Alcohol is not only an irritant to the bladder as you know but also a diuretic meaning that it impacts the kidneys to make more urine.”
Other drinks to avoid: caffeinated or carbonated beverages, citrus juices, and cranberry juice. Also, steer clear of spicy foods, acidic foods like tomatoes, chocolate, and artificial sweeteners. Doctors also recommend keeping track of how much you drink and how often you go.
“A 24 hour voiding diary can be very helpful. Better yet is a 3 day voiding diary that can give us a little more specific information about what is being consumed, especially with respect to bladder irritants. How much is being consumed and how often one is voiding,” Dr. Ellerkmann explains.
To avoid having to urinate during the night, stop drinking fluids after about 5:00 or 6:00pm. Some experts also suggest going twice right before bed. Once before your bedtime routine, and once right before you lay down. Daily kegel exercises are another way to help relax your bladder. But if these natural remedies don’t work, see a doctor for other treatment options, which may include medications or certain procedures. They could offer you much needed relief.
It’s important to see a doctor if your symptoms become bothersome. Your healthcare provider will need to make sure you don’t have an infection, blood in your urine, or a more serious problem that could be causing your issues.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Jamie Koczan, Editor.
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NATURAL WAYS TO HELP OVERACTIVE BLADDER
BACKGROUND: Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition that affects around 33 million Americans. It is not considered a disease, rather it’s the name of a group of urinary symptoms. The most common symptom of OAB is a sudden urge to urinate that you can’t control. Some people will leak urine when they feel the urge. Leaking urine is called “incontinence.” Having to go to the bathroom many times during the day and night is another symptom of OAB. Another common bladder problem is called stress urinary incontinence (SUI), which is different from OAB. People with SUI leak urine while sneezing, laughing or doing other physical activities. As many as 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women in the United States live with OAB and SUI symptoms. The real number of people with this condition is most likely much larger because many people don’t ask for help. Some are embarrassed or don’t know how to talk to their health care provider about their symptoms. OAB can get in the way of your work, social life, exercise and sleep.
CAUSES AND CONCERNS: OAB can have many causes, including aging-related changes, medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, bladder obstruction, and weak pelvic muscles. Sometimes, the cause is unknown. However, OAB is a very common and treatable condition. In fact, several remedies like herbs, exercises, and behavioral therapies are known to help manage urinary symptoms. About 70 percent of women who use these methods report they’re satisfied with the results. Some foods and drinks that can contribute to OAB symptoms are: alcohol, artificial sweeteners, chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee, soda, spicy foods, tea, and tomato-based foods. Sometimes constipation can place extra pressure on your bladder. You can prevent constipation by exercising regularly and including more fiber in your diet. Foods high in fiber include beans, whole-wheat breads, fruits, and vegetables. While you may want to drink less liquid so you don’t have to urinate as often, you should still make sure you stay hydrated. More concentrated urine, usually darker in color, can irritate your bladder and cause more frequent urination.
NEW TREATMENTS FOR OAB: If your overactive bladder hasn’t improved with lifestyle changes and medicines and you don’t want to have surgery, percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) may be an option. During this technique, the doctor inserts a fine-needle electrode into the nerve just above your ankle. A mild electrical impulse is passed along the needle to nerves of the spine that control bladder function. Ross Rames, MD, associate professor of urology at the Medical University of South Carolina, says, “Often, we’ll see improvement within the first couple of weeks after the patient starts PTNS treatments.” You may need more than one treatment to keep seeing results. Another treatment option, sacral nerve stimulation, is a treatment in which mild electrical impulses are sent to the sacral nerves near the lower back. A device is implanted in the upper buttocks under the skin and used to provide electrical pulses that influence bladder function. Lastly, Botox is being used to relax an overactive bladder. Doctors inject botulinum toxin into the bladder muscle. “The goal is to reduce the over-activity of the bladder muscle so that the patient has better control, but still allow enough muscle contraction to empty the bladder,” Rames says. The effects generally last for about 9 months. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any major side effects from botulinum toxin, although it’s only recommended if your symptoms aren’t controlled with behavioral therapies, medications, or a combination of both.
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