Home Remedies for Overactive Bladder
Home Remedies for Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder (incontinence) is a common health complaint. It’s also a health issue many people are embarrassed of, so they don’t openly discuss it. If frequent trips to the bathroom and accidents are interfering with your quality of life, it’s time to do something about it.
Making changes to your daily routine can complement treatment. Consider the following home remedies to help decrease urinary troubles and get back to enjoying your daily life.
Find Fluid Balance
In some cases, reducing fluids can help reduce urinary frequency. However, too few fluids can make some people go more often to rid the body of excess of waste. The Mayo Clinic recommends spacing out your fluid intake by a glass of water between meals, and no more than 16 ounces with meals. Keep in mind that reducing fluid intake may not solve symptoms of urgency.
Cut Out Alcohol and Caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine consumption worsens overactive bladder. Both are stimulants and diuretics, so you may experience increased urination along with powerful urges to go. Cutting out caffeine doesn’t just mean skipping your morning cup of coffee. Other sources of caffeine include:
- certain medications
The National Association for Continence recommends decreasing your daily caffeine intake to 100 mg a day or less. A gradual reduction will prevent common withdrawal symptoms such as headaches.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are a common method of decreasing your sugar and calorie intake. Despite these benefits, sweeteners can aggravate both urinary urges and frequency. According to the National Association for Continence, the risk for these symptoms is higher with artificially sweetened diet drinks than it is with sugary beverages.
Common culprits include acesulfame K, aspartame, and sodium saccharine. Get rid of sugary beverages altogether and make the switch to water if you’re still worried about calories.
Exercise Your Pelvic Muscles
Women can help strengthen pelvic muscles to reduce leaks and urges through Kegel exercises. Kegels work by squeezing pelvic floor muscles as if you’re trying to stop urinating. The Mayo Clinic recommends performing Kegels three to four times a day for best results.
You may also consider wearing vaginal weights to enhance Kegel exercise performance. These are small, cone-shaped weights that insert into the vagina. You have to contract your pelvic floor muscles to hold the weights in place, which strengthens the bladder.
Being overweight poses a number of health risks, including overactive bladder. Fat around your abdomen and hips places extra pressure on your pelvic muscles, increasing urination. This is one reason pregnant women experience increased urination during the second and third trimesters.
Talk to your doctor about safe ways you can lose weight to control frequent urination. Regular, moderate exercise can reduce incontinence by strengthening pelvic muscles.
Create a Schedule
You can prevent frequent accidents caused by an overactive bladder by maintaining a consistent bathroom schedule. This routine can be helpful even if you don’t feel like going, because the urge to urinate often comes on without warning.
Make it a point to visit the toilet as often as possible. You may be able to decrease the frequency as you strengthen your bladder and eliminate triggers through other home remedies.
Keep Track of Your Symptoms
Just as a food diary helps some patients lose weight, a record of your bladder symptoms can provide keen insight into triggers. Jot down your fluid intake as well as any use of caffeine, alcohol, and sweeteners. Keep in mind that stress can also worsen an overactive bladder.
Writing down the amount of times you go per day can help your doctor determine the best course of treatment.
Work With Your Doctor to Treat Overactive Bladder
Patients with overactive bladder often prefer trying home remedies over medications as a first course of action. Depending on your condition, you may need prescription drugs to help alleviate that constant urge to go. Along with home therapies, medications can also help prevent embarrassing accidents.
Discuss all treatment options with your doctor. Fill them in on all the methods you currently use to treat overactive bladder at home. Together, you can come up with a cohesive plan that will improve your quality of life—accident and worry-free.
- 16 Home Remedies for Incontinence (2013). Discovery Health. Retrieved August 18, 2013 from http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-incontinence.htm
- Eldercare at Home: Incontinence (2013). Health in Aging. Retrieved August 18, 2013 from http://www.healthinaging.org/resources/resource:eldercare-at-home-incontinence/
- Bladder Control Problems in Women: Lifestyle Strategies for Relief (2011, July 30). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved August 18, 2013 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/bladder-control-problem/WO00122/METHOD=print
- Urgency Urinary Incontinence (2013, May 20). National Association for Continence. Retrieved August 18, 2013 from http://www.nafc.org/bladder-bowel-health/types-of-incontinence/urge-incontinence/