Using alternative treatments is another option for individuals who may not be able to take medication or have surgery. Some of these treatments address OAB symptoms directly, while others are taken to promote the general health of the urinary tract.
As is the case with many alternative treatments for any disease or condition, opinions are often mixed as to the efficacy of some treatment methods, and research is often minimal in comparison to traditional-medicine treatments.
However, many people have had success in using alternative treatments in the management of many diseases and conditions, including overactive bladder. Before trying any OAB alternative treatments, you should always check with your doctor to be sure that the methods are safe and right for you.
Supplements and Herbal Treatments
As with any sort of medication or supplements, consult a physician to see what may work best and to avoid negative interactions.
A small study has shown that magnesium hydroxide can reduce involuntary muscle contractions that cause urinary incontinence.
This amino acid is available as a supplement that helps in creating nitric oxide, which is believed to play an important role in the lower urinary tract and has shown to help with bladder obstruction.
With the most scientific evidence to support it, pumpkin-seed extract is a becoming a popular natural treatment for overactive bladder and urinary incontinence. Specifically, the water-soluble part of the pumpkin seed has shown to build and strengthen tissue in the pelvic-floor muscles, which weaken as a result of low estrogen levels due to menopause. These weak muscles can lead to urge incontinence associated with OAB as well as stress incontinence. Pumpkin-seed extract was also proven to increase the production of nitric oxide, which plays an important role in the general health and function of the lower urinary tract.
This climbing plant has been used for centuries to treat skin diseases. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties that could ease symptoms of OAB.
This is a cognitive therapy in which patients are guided to a relaxed state of mind through imagery and thoughts. This exercise serves to aid the mental control of bladder relaxation and helps reduce urge incontinence.
Biofeedback is a behavior-modification technique that helps people learn to control bodily functions. The method uses electrodes to gather information and display the signals on a monitor that both the patient and doctor are watching. With guidance from the doctor, the patient uses the feedback to gain more control over a particular area. Using biofeedback people with OAB can re-train their bladder or rehabilitate pelvic-floor muscles to minimize the risk for incontinence.
Chinese medicine can offer a holistic approach to treating OAB, and several studies support the efficacy of acupuncture as a complimentary treatment of OAB and urinary incontinence. Treatment can be done once or twice a week in series of about 12 sessions.