Let’s face it, no matter if it’s…
- a little leak when you laugh or sneeze,
- an annoying urge that sends you running for the restroom so often you’re afraid they’re going to start charging you rent,
- or a full-on trickle that forces you to change your sheets in the middle of the night
—when your bladder becomes a bully YOU become miserable.
Planning your life around bathroom breaks is no way to live.
And let’s not even get started on those diapers for adults they’ve been trying to convince us are fashionable these days. They may be necessary, but they’re not going to make an appearance on the runway in Paris anytime soon.
If you’re one of the 33 million Americans suffering with a leaky or overactive bladder you may have been told you just have to live with it. You may have even resigned yourself to turning down invitations and staying close to home to avoid embarrassment.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact I’ve got some great news.
It’s time to dust off your party shoes and unchain yourself from the toilet. Because there are some simple steps you can take that could help you put your leaky bladder days behind you without resorting to heavy-duty drugs or invasive surgeries.
Let’s start with what NOT to do.
Drop these foods to soothe a cranky bladder
Certain foods could be contributing to your leaky bladder blues. Dropping them from your diet may help get your cranky bladder back under control.
Using an elimination diet approach will allow you to pinpoint if any of these common trigger foods are responsible for your own bladder woes.
Try removing each one from your diet one at a time over the next couple of weeks. Be sure to keep track of how often you have a bladder breach or experience that “got to go” urgency. If you find they’re happening less often than before, you have your culprit.
1. Cut the Caffeine:
We all know caffeine is a stimulant. That’s why many of us down a cup or two of coffee to get started in the morning. Or reach for a soft drink or mug of tea when the 3 o’clock slump hits in the afternoon.
But caffeine doesn’t just stimulate your brain. It stimulates your bladder too giving you that “gotta go RIGHT NOW” feeling you dread.
Caffeine is also a diuretic, meaning it causes you to have to pee.
Try cutting back on (or completely removing) caffeine from your diet for a few weeks and see if your urination issues start to dry up. If they don’t, feel free to re-introduce coffee and tea back into your diet, they both have health benefits.
But skip the soda, both the diet and full sugar versions are bad for your health.
2. Ax artificial sweeteners:
Hopefully you’ve ALREADY cut these toxins from your diet. But if you haven’t it’s time to do it. Research has linked artificial sweeteners like the aspartame you find in diet sodas to increased urgency and frequency.
In other words, they can make you feel like you’ve got to really badly and that you need to go more often.
If you find that removing artificial sweeteners from your diet doesn’t help with your leaky bladder this is another case where once you’ve cut the foods out you should just keep them out.
3. Aim at acidic foods:
Foods that have a high acid content such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tomatoes and pineapples (and their juices) can irritate a sensitive bladder making you feel like you have to urinate.
Try cutting the acidic foods from your diet for a couple of weeks to see if your symptoms improve. If not feel free to put these delicious foods back on the menu again.
4. Ban the burn:
If you’re a fan of hot and spicy dishes you might need to cut back. Experts say spicy foods can irritate the lining of your bladder stimulating the urge to go.
The deep and tangy flavors that you get from some herbs and spices such as garlic are typically fine. But if you’re a “it’s better when it burns” type who adds a dash of hot sauce to everything—and who tops most meals with a sprinkle of jalapeno peppers—try dialing back the heat for a few weeks.
If you don’t notice less leaks or urgency then by all means make a reservation at your favorite Szechuan restaurant and enjoy the burn.
Help your leaky bladder do an about-face
If adjusting your diet hasn’t done the trick don’t lose hope. There are a couple of things to try that have worked wonders for others in your situation. Either one could turn out to be the key to you gaining control over your bothersome bladder too.
Ban Bladder Breaches Tip #1 – Drop a few pounds:
Believe it or not losing a few pounds can be all it takes for some people to reverse their leaky bladder issues. The reason why is simple. Carrying around extra weight can put pressure on your bladder.
And of course that pressure can make you wear a hole in the floor running back and forth to the restroom. It’s the same reason that so many women experience an overactive bladder during pregnancy.
So if you’re carrying around some extra weight try shaving off a few pounds and you could find yourself “cured.”
Ban Bladder Breaches Tip #2 – Do your kegels:
Kegels are simple exercises designed to help beef up the muscles located in the floor of your pelvis. If you’re a woman who has ever been pregnant, or a guy who has had some type of prostate surgery, you may have already been introduced to these exercises before.
Kegel exercises can help both men and women shore up their leaky bladders.
To begin you need to locate the muscles. To do this the next time you urinate try to stop your urine stream halfway through. Avoid squeezing muscles in your buttocks, thighs or stomach and just concentrate on the muscles you use to hold back urine.
When you do this successfully you’ve found the right muscles, these are the same once you’re going to be exercising. Now you’re ready to do kegels anytime and anywhere you’re standing around.
- To perform a kegel simply tense up those same muscles you used to stop your urine stream and hold the contraction for a count of three, then release.
- Do a set of 10 of these three times a day.
- Once you master this you can increase the hold count for each contraction, working up to five and then 10 seconds.
You should soon begin to notice you have much more control over your bladder muscles. You may even be able to eliminate leaks permanently.
Fix the flow with bladder friendly supplements
Herbs and supplements can often help with a demanding bladder.
Extracts from the horsetail fern have been long been used in traditional medicine to help heal urinary tract issues.
You may be surprised to find horsetail in this list when you learn it’s a mild diuretic. After all, you’re trying to STOP peeing, right?
But horsetail could have a lot to offer when it comes to relieving urgency and the accompanying leaks. You see urgency can be the result of inflammation and/or swelling and horsetail is a hero when it comes to relieving both.
That’s why horsetail is traditionally used to soothe the urinary tract and help with bladder control.
The herb’s diuretic properties may also encourage you to fully empty your bladder so you have the urge to go less frequently.
In addition, horsetail is brimming with healthy antioxidants.
This mushroom has been a favorite of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners for thousands of years. In one study, in just eight weeks flat the mushroom was able to significantly reduce urgency.
Lindera root has long been a star in TCM and traditional Japanese medicine. Extracts of the root have been used for thousands of years to support kidney health and urinary function.
The plant is often used in TCM to relieve urgency and eliminate bladder leaks, which could make it the perfect fit to help you resolve your own bladder complaints.
This traditional blend of 10 herbs has been shown to reduce bladder contractions.
In one Japanese study volunteers who took the blend for eight weeks urinated significantly less. Other studies have found it can help with bladder leaks.
Three leaf caper:
The Three Leaf Caper, or crateva nurvala plant, has long been used to support healthy urinary and bladder function.
Extracts of the plant have been shown to support the tone of smooth muscles, like the kind that line your bladder and urinary tract. In one study crateva extracts successfully improved bladder tone in animals
Magnesium supports both muscle and nerve function. It can help relieve muscle spasms and contractions, which makes it a natural choice for addressing bladder and urinary issues.
In one study over twenty women saw improvements in urinary incontinence when they took the mineral twice a day. They were even able to sleep better without having to get up as often in the night.
Studies suggest that up to 80 percent of Americans are deficient in this vital mineral. The recommended daily amount is 350 to 400 milligrams a day.
This important vitamin is vital for so many functions in our body it’s not surprising that it could also play a role in our urinary health.
Women with a normal vitamin D range have been found to be less likely to suffer with a leaky bladder or other pelvic floor problems.
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread, so chances are good that you’re running low. Your doctor can run a test to be sure. The recommended daily amount of D is 600 IU a day if you’re under 70, and 800 if you’re over.
Combining one or more of these supplements with some of the tips above could deliver the perfect one-two (or even three) punch you need to knock your leaky bladder problems right out of the picture.
We believe that everyone has good ideas about how best to care for our loved ones and ourselves. Many of our contributors are doctors that have spent their life’s work invested in the health and well being of the human body and mind. Some have spent their lives tirelessly researching health and the human body, developing new vitamins and products dedicated to making people healthier.
Others are ordinary people that have natural family cures passed down from generations, or discovered an inexpensive home remedy out of necessity or even by accident.
So Healthier Talk not only offers professional advice and solutions, but also provides much sought after natural family cures and at-home remedies, right at your fingertips!