Bladder Disorder Therapy

Before looking at  holistic solutions to bladder disorders  (Section B), we need to establish the correct diagnosis (Section A)

Section A

Diagnosis

The main symptoms of OAB can also occur in other health conditions like bladder cancer, urinary tract infection (UTI) and enlarged prostate. Seeing blood in the urine is not a symptom of OAB. (Source)

A sudden and frequent need to urinate is common in both OAB and a UTI.  Unlike OAB, a UTI also comes with other symptoms such as discomfort while urinating. In addition, OAB symptoms are continuous while UTI symptoms are sudden and may also include a fever. (Source)

On the other hand, an overflow incontinence is characterized by the involuntary release of urine from an overfull urinary bladder, often in the absence of any urge to urinate. This condition is not associated with OAB. It typically occurs in people who have a blockage of the bladder outlet, which can occur with benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostate cancer or a narrowing of the urethra. Overflow incontinence can also occur when the muscle responsible for removing urine from the bladder is too weak to empty the bladder in a normal way. (Source)

Section B

 Holistic  & Herbal Remedies for an Overactive Bladder

Herbal treatments

Always check with your  health professional before taking any herbal supplements. They can interact with medicines  and cause unintended side effects stemming from the prescription drugs. In misguided legal systems, herbs can not be stand alone in any disease, whereas in civilizations that are thousands of years, herbs are one of the foundations upon which healing  and public health occured.  Contrarily to prescribed drigs. herbs in general are cost friendly, safe and efficient, with few if any side effects. (0)

Chinese herbal blends

Gosha-jinki-gan (GJG) is a blend of 10 traditional Chinese herbs. Several studies have been done on this herbal blend, and researchers found that GJG inhibits the bladder and significantly improves daytime frequency. People who took 7.5 milligrams of GJG a day also reported better results on their International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), which records urinary symptoms.

Another Chinese herbal medicine is Hachimi-jio-gan (HE). HE is made up of eight natural ingredients, some of which are also in GJG. Preliminary studies show that HE has an effect on bladder muscle contraction.

Ganoderma lucidum (GL)

Also known as lingzhi mushroom, this extract from East Asia is used to cure many ailments including hepatitis, hypertension, cancers and bladder disorders. In this perspective,  a randomized study of 50 men reported better scores for IPSS, meaning few urinary tract symptoms. This study recommends 6 milligrams of GL extract.

Corn silk (Zea mays)

Corn silk is the waste material from corn cultivation. Countries from China to France use this as a traditional medicine for many ailments, including bedwetting and bladder irritation. It may help with strengthening and restoring mucous membranes in the urinary tract to prevent incontinence, according to the International Continence Society.

Capsaicin

Capsaicin is found in the fleshy part of Chile peppers, not the seeds. It’s commonly used to treat pelvic pain syndrome, which is often a symptom of OAB. Studies have found that peak bladder capacity increased from 106 milliliters to 302 milliliters.

 

“As in the able-bodied population, pharmacotherapy is an established approach to managing OAB in neurogenic populations. Antimuscarinic agents are the first-line choice for pharmacologic treatment of neurogenic OAB. Antimuscarinic therapy increases bladder capacity and delays the initial urge to void. Unlike idiopathic OAB, higher-than-recommended doses of antimuscarinic agents are often needed to achieve the patient’s therapeutic goals. Newer chemical denervation therapy, such as BTX, seems very promising in treating neurogenic OAB. As we learn more about the underlying pathophysiology of OAB, we will gain greater skill in applying pharmacologic tools to treat OAB in the neurogenic population. (Ibid)

 

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are packed with  long chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. One study found that pumpkin seed oil improves abnormal urinary function and reduces symptoms of OAB.

Another Japanese study found that pumpkin seeds and soybean seed extract also significantly reduced incontinence. Participants took five tablets of this processed food two times a day for the first two weeks and then three tablets a day for the next five.

Kohki tea and More

Kohki tea is the extract of a subtropical plant in southern China. This sweet tea is sold over the counter in Japan and is high in antioxidants. It’s also shown to have protective effects on the bladder.One study found that kohki tea had a significant protective effect on bladder function and contractile responses in rabbits with partial bladder obstruction. True, human aren’t rabbits. So there is only a presumption that this tea would work on human bladders.

Other bladder-friendly drinks include: plain water soy milk, which may be less irritating than cow’s or goat’s milk cranberry juice less acidic fruit juices, such as apple or pear barley water diluted squash caffeine-free teas like fruit teas

Eating to reduce constipation

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.

The Cleveland Clinic recommends eating 2 tablespoons of a mixture of 1 cup of applesauce, 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran, and 3/4 cup of prune juice every morning to promote bowel regularity.

What foods and drinks to avoid

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. Other foods and drinks can contribute to OAB symptoms, including: alcohol artificial sweeteners chocolate citrus fruits coffee soda spicy foodstea tomato-based foods

You can test which drinks or foods irritate your bladder by eliminating them from your diet. Then reincorporate them one by one every two to three days at a time. Permanently eliminate the particular food or drink that worsens your symptoms.

Other irritants

You can reduce the amount of times you get out of bed by not drinking two to three hours before you sleep. It’s also recommended to refrain from smoking. Smoking can irritate the bladder muscle and cause coughing, which often contributes to incontinence.

Exercise, Weight  and  OAB

Extra weight can also increase the pressure on your bladder and cause stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is when urine leaks after you do something that increases pressure on the bladder, like laughing, sneezing, or lifting. While eating healthy foods can help you lose excess weight, getting regular exercise like strength training can help with long-term management.

Research shows that women who are overweight and have incontinence had less episodes of OAB. One study found that women with obesity who lose 10 percent of their body weight saw improved bladder control by 50 percent.

Kegel exercises and muscle training

If a weak pelvic floor is at the root of the OAB then kegel exercises can help. These pelvic floor exercises can be done anywhere at anytime and they benefit both men and women.  These exercises will trigger a reflex mechanism to relax the bladder. Doing a kegel before running to the bathroom will help settle down the bladder spasm (Source)

You can also do special pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises, in addition to regular exercise. Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles to minimize involuntary contractions and improve posture. It’s also one of the safest behavioral therapies without side effects and complications. To do Kegel exercises: Try stopping your urine mid-stream when going. The muscles you use are pelvic floor muscles. This is what you’ll focus on contracting during Kegel exercises. Focus on tightening those muscles when you have an empty bladder. Hold this position for about five seconds at a time. Relax the muscles and then repeat five times. As your muscles get stronger, increase the duration to 10 seconds and 10 repetitions. Perform the exercises 10 or more times a day. Breathe normally when doing these exercises. Avoid squeezing your stomach, thighs, or buttocks instead of your pelvic floor muscles.

Bladder retraining

Overtime OAB causes your bladder muscles to react a certain way. Bladder retraining can help reboot your bladder muscles. The idea is to let the urge to urinate pass before going to the bathroom and gradually work your way toward longer holding times. Bladder retraining also works best alongside Kegel exercises. Perform the following steps to train your bladder: Keep a journal to determine how frequently you go to the bathroom. Delay urination with small intervals. Once you feel the need to pee, see if you can hold off for five minutes and work your way up. Schedule trips to the bathroom. You can keep a journal to see how often you need to go and delay that time. You can start with 10 minute delays and work your way up to every three to four hours. Most women should be able to wait three to six hours between bathroom breaks. Perform Kegel exercises regularly. A bladder-retraining program can take six to eight weeks to prove effective.

 

 

 Avoid Dietary Triggers

Significantly reduce the following foods and drinks that are known to contribute to overactive bladder: (Source) Alcohol Caffeinated beverages and foods Citrus juices and fruits Soda and other carbonated beverages Spicy foods Artificial sweeteners Milk and milk products Sugar and high sugar foods (also don’t overdo it on honey and choose a high quality honey to use)

Caffeine, alcohol and certain medications like diuretics are known to be major causes of acute incontinence, especially in the elderly population. (Source) Cranberry juice is surprisingly another thing to avoid if you have OAB. Although cranberry juice is often recommend for bladder health, it actually acts as an irritant if you have OAB. (Source)

 Watch Fluid Intake

It’s essential to drink enough water each day to avoid dehydration. However, if you are drinking too many liquids right before bed, you are more likely to need to empty your bladder. Many OAB sufferers have nocturia, which is the need to urinate several times a night. This is obviously very disruptive to a good night’s sleep. Additionally, a really sound sleeper may not get out of bed fast and can end up unintentionally wetting the bed. To reduce this risk and OAB symptoms at night, it’s recommended to limit fluid intake before bedtime. One suggestions is to not drink any liquids after 5 or 6 p.m. (Source)

 Double-Void

Another natural way to help with OAB symptoms, especially at night, is to double-void. This means that you urinate not once, but twice before going to bed. Melody Denson, MD (board-certified urologist) recommends, “Go to the bathroom, then brush your teeth and go through the rest of your bedtime routine. Then, just before you’re about to lie down — even if you don’t feel like you have to go — try to urinate and see if you can squeeze out another tablespoon or so.” (Source)

Schedule bathroom trips

To help retrain your bladder, you can try keeping a daily dairy of urinary urges and trips to the bathroom, as well as any urine leakage. After you figure out how many times you’re going to the bathroom daily, you can start scheduling your trips, adding on about 15 minutes to the normally expected time. Even if you don’t have to go to the bathroom, stick with the scheduled times. As time passes, you can increase the amount of time that passes between urinations. This is meant to improve bladder control. (Source)

Delay Urination

Delaying urination is another part of a typical bladder retraining technique. It may not sound pleasant, but if you can hold out another few minutes after feeling the urge to urinate, you can help retrain your bladder. By gradually increasing the holding time, you can eventually and ideally go at least three to four hours without having to go to the bathroom. At some points, if you find that you really just can’t hold it any longer, use the bathroom, but stick to your next scheduled urination time. (Source) Using relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, can help make the delay time more bearable.

Acupuncture

A study published in the British Journal of Urology offers another natural treatment option for OAB: acupuncture! The study’s 20 subjects received acupuncture treatment once per week for a total of 10 weeks. Each treatment session was 30 minutes long and targeted acupuncture points SP6, CV4 (RN4) and KI3.  The results of this study were excellent: 77 percent of patients with idiopathic detrusor instability were symptomatically cured. (Source A, Source B)

Acupuncture was applied at a rate of once per week for a total of 10 weeks. Each acupuncture treatment session was 30 minutes in length. Acupuncture points SP6, CV4 (RN4) and KI3 were applied. SP6 and KI3 were needled bilaterally on the lower leg and ankle. CV4 (RN4) was needled on the midline and is depicted in the image at top of the article. The researchers note that the study began with the use of traditional manual acupuncture and later electroacupuncture was applied to the needles. Urodynamic studies and evaluations confirm that this regime of care is both safe and effective for the treatment of overactive bladder syndrome. (1)

The researchers note that acupuncture has several benefits. It can be used for patients who cannot tolerate medications, acupuncture does not cause the adverse effects associated with OAB medications, acupuncture demonstrated efficacy where medications and behavioral therapy failed and acupuncture may avert the need for surgery as a corrective measure. Acupuncture provides an effective option to patients who have tried medications without success. In this way, acupuncture can potentially reduce the number of patients requiring surgery for OAB.” (Post-treatment, Pre-treatment, and ICIQ-UI Short Form. “ACUPUNCTURE IN THE MANAGEMENT OF OVERACTIVE BLADDER SYNDROME.” 2014 Philp T, Shah PJR, Worth PHL. Acupuncture in the treatment of bladder instability. British Journal of Urology  1988 Jun: 61(6); 490-493.)

Smoking

The reasons to stop smoking cigarettes are basically endless. Here is another. Smoking not only irritates the bladder, it also increases the risk of bladder cancer.  Smoking cigarettes can also lead to coughing spasms that increase problems with stress incontinence. (Source) Stress urinary incontinence occurs when the bladder leaks urine during physical activity or exertion including coughing or lifting something heavy. (Source) Anyone who smokes and is dealing with overactive bladder should quit smoking right away.

 Angelica

Angelica archangelica contains a number of important compounds, including isoquercitrin and other flavonoids, polyphenols and polysaccharides. It is these compounds that are considered to be responsible for the plant’s many amazing effects. (2)

An important thing to note is that Angelica archangelica grows in Iceland — it is not the same as Chinese angelica (Angelica sinensis), also known as dong quai. This angelica extract is taken from the leaf of the plant and has clinical research to back it up. In an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, men suffering from nocturia — basically an overactive bladder at night — used Iceland’s Angelica archangelica or a placebo. The men in this study were age 45 and older, which is often when men begin noticing urinary frequency and the first symptoms of BPH.2 Not surprisingly, in Iceland, angelica extract has become the number one herbal treatment to reduce urinary frequency in men, and has replaced saw palmetto berry as the treatment of choice.

Many times, any urinary frequency issues for men are immediately considered a prostate problem. But that’s not always the case. In fact, overactive bladder is prevalent too, and requires a very different approach than we’d use for prostate health. During this study, three main parameters were measured: the increase in bladder volume, reduction in nocturnal voids and the increase in the duration of the first sleep period. The results were excellent. In the group with low bladder capacity, those taking the Angelica archangelica extract saw an increase of over 300 percent in bladder capacity.2 In the group reporting more than three nighttime urinations, the arctic angelica extract enhanced sleep and significantly reduced nighttime bathroom visits. (2)  In the group of men age 70 or older, the angelica extract increased the duration of uninterrupted sleep (measured by time to first awakening) by 280 percent — almost three times that of a placebo!

What’s interesting about this study is that the direct action of Iceland’s arctic Angelica archangelica was not on the prostate, but on improving bladder strength. That’s good news for anyone — men or women. Plus, the angelica extract was very well tolerated and showed no hormonal effects or unwanted side effects like increased blood pressure or heart rate, or reduced libido. That’s a definite difference from many prescription drugs.

Conclusion

About 17 percent of women and 16 percent of men over the age of 18 have overactive bladder issues. As we age, an overactive bladder becomes common — affecting one in five adults over the age of 40.1 Urinary incontinence, whether due to chronic bladder irritation, bladder weakness, bacteria or prostate enlargement (technically known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or “BPH”), which causes urgency and urinary frequency, affects at least 25 million Americans. Most of the sufferers are women, but one-third of women andmen 30 to 70 years old have experienced some symptoms of urinary incontinence.1 And while bed-wetting is often associated with children, there are some adults who, because of their overactive or weak bladders, have never experienced a dry night. Conventional prescription approaches aren’t always effective, cause side effects and can be risky as well. Of course, in many cases, even natural approaches dealing with bladder health and incontinence are divided between men and women.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXObBQ9qYL0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_zc84fcNR0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iAkItp6OSE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1EhAkK5q0k

References

(0).  Herbs from unreliable sources may be contaminated.

(1). Idiopathic detrusor instability (IDI) plays a role in OAB because it a common cause of lower urinary tract storage symptoms including urgency, frequency and urge incontinence. “Our study supports the notion that there is a fundamental abnormality in IDI at the level of the bladder wall, with evidence of altered spontaneous contractile activity consistent with an increased electrical coupling of cells, a patchy denervation of the detrusor and a potassium supersensitivity”. (Source)

 (2).  “Urge Incontinence/Overactive Bladder”, from National Association for Continence. Available at: http://nafc.org/media/statistics/urge-incontinence-and-oab/. Accessed: March 25, 2013. And Sigurdsson S, Geirsson G, Gudmundsdottir H, Egilsdottir PB, Gudbjarnason S. A parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate the effect of a proprietary Angelica archangelica extract on nocturia in men. Scand J Urol. 2013 Feb;47(1):26-32. And Sigurdsson S, Gudbjarnason S. Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase by extracts and constituents from Angelica archangelica and Geranium sylvaticum. Z Naturforsch C. 2007 Sep-Oct;62(9-10):689-93. And Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Gudbjarnason S. Antiproliferative effect of Angelica archangelica fruits. Z Naturforsch C. 2004 Jul-Aug;59(7-8):523-7.  And  Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Gudbjarnason S. The cytotoxic effect of two chemotypes of essential oils from the fruits of Angelica archangelica L. Anticancer Res. 2005 May-Jun;25(3B):1877-80.  And Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Hallgrimsson J, Gudbjarnason S. Antitumour activity of Angelica archangelica leaf extract. In Vivo. 2005 Jan-Feb;19(1):191-4.

Complementary Sources

Bladder problems. (n.d.)

britishhomeopathic.org/bha-charity/how-we-can-help/articles/bladder-problems/

Bladder retraining. (2015)

nafc.org/bladder-retraining

Chughtai, B., Kavaler, E., Lee, R., Te, A., Kaplan, S., & Lowe, F. (2013). Use of herbal supplements for overactive bladder. Reviews in Urology, 15(3), 93-96

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3821987/

Kennelly, M. J., & DeVoe, W. B. (2008). Overactive bladder: Pharmacologic treatments in the neurogenic population. Reviews in Urology, 10(3), 182-191

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2556485/

Kong, T., & Liao, L. (2012, July). Basic theory of traditional Chinese medicine and treatment for urinary incontinence. International Continence Society, 8(2), 14-15

ics.org/Documents/DocumentsDownload.aspx?DocumentID=1477

Levin, R. M., Kawashima, Y., Leggett, R. E., Whitbeck, C., Horan, P., & Mizutani, K. (2002, May). Effect of oral kohki tea on bladder dysfunction induced by severe partial outlet obstruction. The Journal of Urology, 167(5), 2260-2266

sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022534705651397?np=y

Management: diet and exercise. (2015)

nafc.org/diet-and-exercise

Natural remedies for overactive bladder? (2013, November 26)

socalurologyinstitute.com/blog/Natural-Remedies-For-Overactive-Bladder.html

New guidelines recommend Kegels, other lifestyle treatments for urinary incontinence in women. (2014, September 17)

health.harvard.edu/blog/new-recommend-kegels-and-other-treatments-for-incontinence-women-201409177438

Nishimura, M., Ohkawara, T., Sato, H., Takeda, H., & Nishihira, J. (2014, January-March). Pumpkin seed oil extracted from cucurbita maxima improves urinary disorder in human overactive bladder. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 4(1), 72-74

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4032845/

Overactive bladder advice and treatment pain. (2016, May)

southtees.nhs.uk/content/uploads/MICB4817-Over-Active-Bladder.pdf

The overactive bladder and bladder retraining. (2015, November)

ouh.nhs.uk/patient-guide/leaflets/files%5C121213overactivebladder.pdf

Overactive bladder. (2014, July 22)

my.clevelandclinic.org/services/urology-kidney/diseases-conditions/hic-overactive-bladder

Overactive bladder. (2014, September 26)

mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/overactive-bladder/basics/definition/con-20027632

Sharma, S. K., Vij, A. S., & Sharma, M. (2013, November 15). Mechanisms and clinical uses of capsaicin. European Journal of Pharmacology, 720(1-3), 55-62

sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299913008200

What is overactive bladder (OAB)? (n.d.)

urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/overactive-bladder-(oab)

Yanakisawa, E., & Satoh, I. (2003). Study of effectiveness of mixed processed food containing cucurbita pepo seed extract and soybean seed extract on stress urinary incontinence in women. Japanese Journal of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Science, 14(3), 313-322

valosun.com/resources/upload/data/183_yanagisawa2003.pdf
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References“Urge Incontinence/Overactive Bladder”, from National Association for Continence. Available at: http://wwwnafc.org/media/statistics/urge-incontinence-and-oab/. Accessed: March 25, 2013. Sigurdsson S, Geirsson G, Gudmundsdottir H, Egilsdottir PB, Gudbjarnason S. A parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate the effect of SagaPro on nocturia in men. Scand J Urol. 2013 Feb;47(1):26-32. Sigurdsson S, Gudbjarnason S. Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase by extracts and constituents from Angelica archangelica and Geranium sylvaticum. Z Naturforsch C. 2007 Sep-Oct;62(9-10):689-93. Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Gudbjarnason S. Antiproliferative effect of Angelica archangelica fruits. Z Naturforsch C. 2004 Jul-Aug;59(7-8):523-7. Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Gudbjarnason S. The cytotoxic effect of two chemotypes of essential oils from the fruits of Angelica archangelica L. Anticancer Res. 2005 May-Jun;25(3B):1877-80. Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Hallgrimsson J, Gudbjarnason S. Antitumour activity of Angelica archangelica leaf extract. In Vivo. 2005 Jan-Feb;19(1):191-4.Disclosure in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission regulation 16 CFR, Part 255: this post is sponsored by an advertiser.

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