What is mean by an ‘overactive bladder’?
Overactive bladder is a chronic condition that has not yet got a cure. It occurs when there is a problem with the bladder storage function, causing a sudden and desperate need to pass water.
Most people who suffer from the condition find it incredibly difficult to stop themselves from urinating when this occurs and it can lead to incontinence, or the involuntary passing of water. This, although there is no prevention, can feel embarrassing and can be uncomfortable.
Since there is no way to tell when the syndrome is going to be a problem or when you will feel the need to urinate, it can feel like a very isolating condition, and many people avoid going out and socializing for fear of not getting to a toilet in time should they feel the need to pass water.
However, there are some techniques that doctors and other medical experts can recommend that can make it easier to cope with overactive bladder syndrome.
Why should you look into natural remedies for an overactive bladder?
Modern western medicine, so far, has not found any absolute cure for overactive bladder syndrome.
Unfortunately, there is no pill or operation that can prevent, cure or even effectively help you to manage the condition, which means that most people have to turn to more natural remedies to help them cope with the issues that follow the syndrome.
Whereas these natural remedies will not completely cure an overactive bladder, they can help to ease some of the symptoms, make incontinence less likely and can help to decrease your chances of developing the syndrome in the first place.
Natural remedies for preventing overactive bladder
Doctors and other researchers do not yet know exactly what cause an overactive bladder, so it is slightly more difficult to prevent it from developing.
However, practitioners of holistic medicine (medicine that deals with the body as a whole rather than just focusing on one particular area or aspect) suggest that the best way to prevent overactive bladder syndrome is to take care of the entire body so that it can work as well as possible.
The best ways to take good care of your body, and to prevent not only overactive bladder syndrome but many other chronic illnesses and diseases, too, are outlined below:
Drink plenty of fluids
Particularly when it comes to maintaining the working order of your bladder and kidneys, it is essential to be drinking plenty of water and other healthy fluids (that means no sodas or other sugary drinks) each day.
Drinking enough water will help your bladder and kidneys to work properly as well as encouraging the rest of your body to work to the best of its ability. When your organs – particularly your brain – gets enough hydration throughout the day, you will start noticing a marked improvement in your mood, your energy levels and in your general health.
It has been noted particularly that those who drink water, fruit juices, sugar free squash and milk, for instance, are much less likely to suffer from urinary tract infections and from other problems related to their kidneys and bladder.
This has led scientists to suggest that drinking plenty of fluids from day to day can drastically reduce your chances of developing overactive bladder syndrome. Additionally, if you have already developed the syndrome, drinking plenty can help to regulate your system and make passing water slightly easier to time.
However, if you already suffer from overactive bladder, it is a good idea to avoid diuretics such as tea, coffee and soda, since these can speed up the time during which you need to urinate and can take you by surprise.
The best way to maintain a healthy body is to make sure that you are putting the right things into it.
Humans are designed to get most, if not all, of their essential vitamins and minerals from their food and nowadays food companies are packing things like cereals full of the things that we might otherwise struggle to get into our systems, such as zinc, magnesium and iron.
This means that, by eating healthily, you can ensure that your body is getting all the essential ingredients it needs to maintain itself and run properly, thus reducing your overall risk of developing chronic conditions later in life.
Eating healthily can also make it easier to come with overactive bladder syndrome should you already have developed it.
Studies have shown that those with a better BMI who eat well balanced and nutritious meals are less likely to suffer from more negative side effects of medications that are sometimes given to those with overactive bladder syndrome.
It has also been suggested that those who are generally healthier tend not to suffer from incontinence as much as those who are slightly overweight or unhealthy.
Get plenty of exercise
The last essential building block to maintaining the overall health of your body is making sure that you move it. A good diet and drinking plenty of water are not always sufficient to get your body at its peak of performance.
Instead, you have to make sure that you are moving at least three times a week for around fifty minutes at a time, getting your blood pumping and your heart rate up. This can mean playing a sport, going for a long walk or going to the gym.
It does not matter how you exercise, but strengthening your muscles – particularly those in your abdomen – can help to prevent and cope with overactive bladder, as they will help make certain exercises (that are described below) even easier, thus making it less likely that you will suffer from incontinence.
Coping with overactive bladder
For those who have already developed the syndrome, although there is no absolute cure, there are ways of coping with overactive bladder and reducing the risk of suffering from incontinence.
Natural remedies are often preferred by those who suffer from the condition, since they usually do not interfere with other medications that you may be taking and they do pump your body full of unnecessary chemicals.
Exercising your pelvic muscles (which is much easier if you are already fit and healthy and exercise regularly, as suggested above) is a great way to help regulate the way you pass water.
Many women will already be familiar with the Kegel exercises that are used often to strengthen the lower abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.
These are highly recommended for those who suffer from overactive bladder syndrome, as it can help to increase your ability to not pass water for longer, thus making it much less likely that you suffer from incontinence as a result of your overactive bladder.
It is recommended that you do these exercises – squeezing the pelvic floor muscles as though you are trying to stop yourself urinating – at least three to four times a day for the best results.
Incontinence, it is often suggested, is the worst part of the overactive bladder syndrome, and the part that most people fear. Whilst there is no way to prevent accidents from happening in 100% of cases, there are ways that the chances of experiencing incontinence can be drastically reduced.
The best way us to train your body to only pass water at certain times. For those with overactive bladders, it is a good idea to train yourself to urinate very regularly, even if you are not passing a lot of water.
Try to plan your day around when you are going to be close to a toilet so that you can ensure that you are getting to pass water around once an hour or more frequently if you would prefer.
After some time, you may find it easier and easier to increase the amount of time between going to the bathroom and urinating and may find it easier to avoid incontinence. Ask your physician for help and advice about the right way to go about training your body and your bladder to avoid accidents.
Not every patient is the same, but doctors will give you excellent advice to start with and, from there, you can develop your own tricks and techniques to help prevent incontinence and to feel as comfortable and confident as possible throughout the day.
There is evidence to suggest that certain herbs, when taken as supplements, ingredients in food or boiled as tea, can help to relieve some of the symptoms and difficulties that people with overactive bladders experience from day to day. Just a few of the herbs that are said to help with overactive bladder syndrome are listed below.
Buchu – this South African herb has been used for many hundreds of years to fight against things such as kidney and bladder infections, as well as urinary tract infections.
It has naturally anti-inflammatory properties as well as antibacterial and diuretic properties, which makes it perfect for flushing out infection and strengthening the bladder and kidneys against further infections.
It can also help with overactive bladder, helping to pass water more regularly and at controlled intervals rather than being surprised and suffering from incontinence.
Buchu works best on the urinary system as a whole, which means that, by taking it, you can be sure that not only your bladder but also your kidneys are getting the benefits of this excellent herb.
Cornsilk – once again, cornsilk, like buchu, has a long history of being used for urinary infections and troubles, and has since been proven to be effective in helping those with overactive bladders.
In addition to similar effects to buchu, cornsilk also has soothing effects on the urinary tract, which makes it ideal for those who suffer from urinary tract infections, which can be painful and distracting.
Gosha-jinki-gan – most practitioners of traditional and natural medicine would recommend this remedy most highly, and it is well known as one of the most effective natural remedies for overactive bladder.
While there are still no cures for the syndrome, gosha-jinki-gan comes as close as possible to actually getting to the root of the problem.
Gosha-jinki-gan is actually a combination of various different herbs, combined according to ancient Japanese recipes that, when taken, can improve the overall quality of life of patients suffering from overactive bladder.
It can affect the frequency and intensity of problems of involuntary urination, reducing both drastically even after only a few doses.
Scientists are starting to conduct further research on this treatment and have discovered that the herbal supplement may actually help to increase the capacity of the bladder as well as the number of contractions that it undergoes by affecting the nervous system.
It is definitely one of the most effective and best treatments for overactive bladder syndrome.
Cut out diuretics
You should be drinking just as much as usual, even if you have an overactive bladder, because it will help to maintain your urinary system. It will also be easier to regulate your trips to the bathroom if you know exactly how much you have drunk and how often throughout the day you drink.
However, cutting out diuretics is a great way to further improve your quality of life while living with overactive bladder. Diuretics make it harder to predict exactly when you will need to pass water, which will make the likelihood of incontinence a lot higher.
Cutting out things like tea, coffee, sodas, chocolates and even certain types of medications should be one of the first and one of the easiest ways to regulate your urination patterns.
Alcohol, too, which needs to be filtered through the kidneys and is difficult for the body to process properly, should at least be cut down if not cut out entirely by those suffering from an overactive bladder.
Talk to your doctor about the best way to cut out medications that may contain diuretic ingredients (usually those with caffeine in will be diuretics, but it is best to consult your doctor, particularly if you are being prescribed something, before you alter your dose or stop taking then medicine altogether).
Cutting out things like caffeine can also help your body in other ways, too, including reducing the number of headaches that you experience.
Don’t use or ingest artificial sweeteners
Many of us use sweeteners in our tea to reduce our daily sugar intake, and it is a great way of cutting out extra and unnecessary sugar.
However, many of the most common brands of sweeteners – both those that we put in our tea and coffee and those that are sometimes added to foods and other drinks – can aggravate the need to urinate and can help to cause incontinence.
It is important, therefore, to try and cut these out of your diet as much as possible.
You can replace sweeteners with sugar – although if you are cutting down on the amount of tea or coffee that you are consuming, you may find that this is not a problem – and check the ingredients for food stuffs and drinks before you buy or consume them to ensure that you are not ingesting more artificial sweeteners than absolutely necessary.
Most importantly – know and understand your body and your illness
Each and every person who suffers from overactive bladder syndrome will experience the condition in different ways. You are the only person who can truly understand their illness and what they need to do to make things easier and improve their quality of life.
Listen to your doctor’s advice, but also remember that your experiences are equally valid. If you find that you can drink a cup of tea once a day without any particularly negative side effects, then you can make the decision to keep drinking caffeine.
If, however, you know that certain other ingredients, drinks or food stuffs tend to affect you negatively, do not wait for your doctor to tell you that you can cut them out. Listen to your body, make notes of your condition, when it flares up and when it is easy to manage and try to work out what works for you.
Living with overactive bladder syndrome
Although there is, as yet, no cure for overactive bladder syndrome, there are a number of ways to cope with the more severe side effects of medications and of the condition itself.
This syndrome is one of those that is best treated naturally, with exercises, diet, exercise and careful regimes.
Once you have discovered what works for you, make sure that you continue to do the exercises, drink and eat right and exercise regularly so that you can improve your chances of living a relatively normal and stress free life with overactive bladder syndrome.
A lot of people who suffer from the condition do so without their friends or family noticing, so it is completely possible, while following the advice outlined above, to live a normal, healthy and happy life with an overactive bladder.