Better bladder control requires a healthy bladder. And a strong bladder can be the difference between getting out and living your life, or being stuck at home watching yet another rerun of Murder, She Wrote.
And let’s face it. It’s embarrassing to have to plan your day around bathroom breaks. Frustrating to have activities and conversations constantly interrupted by emergency restroom runs. And exhausting running to the bathroom all night long.
If you sometimes feel chained to the toilet, you’re not alone. Over 25 million American adults are struggling with bladder control issues right along with you.
But it’s time to stop letting your bladder be the boss. Because according to experts, some simple changes can help soothe and strengthen your cranky bladder.
Six secrets to better bladder control
Following are six of the most effective changes you can make today for better bladder control.
1. Take supplements:
You take supplements for your heart and joints. Well, why not for your bladder too?
Start with vitamins D and E. In a study published in the journal Cancer Causes Control researchers found these two “alphabet vitamins” were linked to lower rates of bladder cancer, especially in older folks. And studies have linked low vitamin D to bladder leaking.
But don’t stop there. Consider capsaicin, as well. A study out of Thailand found this pepper extract could help with bladder control by reducing bladder irritation, urgency and leaks. In the study, researchers gave the supplement through a catheter. But you may be able to mimic the results with an oral supplement or by including more hot peppers in your diet.
Pumpkin seeds which are high in omega-3 fatty acids and zinc may help calm your overactive bladder. In one study, a daily dose of pumpkin seed oil for 12 weeks significantly improved daytime frequency, nighttime frequency, urgency and episodes of incontinence in a group of volunteers battling an overactive bladder.
Cranberry has a solid reputation as a bladder buddy. Experts say extracts of this tart treat can fight off urinary infections, and help keep them from coming back. And since UTIs are a common cause of urinary urgency and leaks, better bladder control is sure to follow.
Acidic compounds in cranberry prevent bacteria from attaching to the walls of your bladder, so infection can’t set in. Just make sure you take or drink 100 percent pure cranberry, without fillers or sugar added.
2. Quit smoking:
If you’re serious about your bladder health it’s time to quit smoking. For REAL this time. Because smoking is the single greatest risk factor for bladder cancer.
The toxins you take in every time you puff on a cigarette leave your body the same way many toxins do: in your urine. As the urine collects in your bladder, the concentrated carcinogens raise your cancer risk.
In fact, according to a study run by the National Institute of Health, 50 percent of all bladder cancer cases are in smokers. And if you’re a smoker you’re risk of getting bladder cancer is four times greater than your non-smoking peers.
3. Try acupuncture:
According to researchers at University of California Davis, acupuncture could help you with bladder control. This ancient practice, which uses tiny needles inserted into specific key spots on your body, can help relieve overactive bladder symptoms.
Acupuncture temporarily reduces urgency, frequency and leaking. And users report having a better quality of life after being treated. In one randomized controlled trial, women receiving acupuncture had 59 percent fewer episodes of incontinence and a 30 percent drop in feelings of urgency. Trips to the bathroom were also down by 14 percent.
4. Check your meds:
If your bladder symptoms are relatively new check with your doctor about any recent changes to your medications. Several types of drugs which have nothing to do with your bladder could be responsible for your bladder control issues.
Antihistamines, muscle relaxants, pain killers, and antidepressants are just a few of the many meds that could be irritating your bladder. Be sure to check on any over-the-counter drugs you’re taking too.
5. Keep moving:
If you’ve been more a couch potato than a busy bee lately, it could be contributing to your bladder control problems.
When we don’t move enough fluid can build up in our legs, ankles and feet. But then when you go to bed and your feet are elevated the fluid drains back out of your legs heads to your bladder. The next thing you know you’re wearing holes in the rug with roundtrips to the bathroom all night long.
The solution, of course, is to get up and move more. Take a walk every day, fit in an exercise session at least three days a week, and make sure you’re getting up and moving around at least once an hour. And when you’re stuck sitting for longer, be sure to flex your feet and roll your ankles to help keep the blood moving.
If you need a little inspiration for getting started, but aren’t ready for a heavy-duty exercise routine check out our special report 5 easy and effective exercises for out of shape beginners.
6. Practice safer for your bladder sex:
Ladies our anatomy makes it easy for bacteria to reach our bladders during and immediately after sex. And that makes us more susceptible to the bladder and urinary-tract infections that can cause urgency and leaks.
To cut back on your risk take extra care in keeping things clean below the belt. That simply means using warm water to wash—especially before and after sex. Use a mild pH balanced organic soap only if necessary. (No over the counter douches unless directed by your doctor!)
Go to the bathroom before sex and right after as well. This helps flush out any bacteria that’s lurking around. And make sure you BOTH wash your hands before the petting gets too heavy.
Be the boss of your own bladder starting NOW, using these six changes for better bladder control.