There are many different ways to define urinary incontinence, but most people agree that the simplest definition is the one describing this health issue as an inability to manage and control urination which results in involuntary loss of urine and urine leakage.
Contrary to popular belief, this is a problem present in many people. The NAFS (National Association for Continence) claims that more than 25 million US citizens are dealing with urinary incontinence.
This urological problem can be separated into three different groups:
Urge incontinence – this type occurs due to hyperactive and/or overactive blades that lead to intense and unexpected urge for urination which eventually leads to spontaneous loss of urine.
Incontinence related to stress – this type of incontinence occurs when certain physical activities like jumping, strenuous workout, sneezing, coughing, or in some cases laughing brings tension to the bladder, and people spontaneously release urine.
Overflow incontinence – this form of incontinence is present in people who are not able to empty their bladders completely which results in the regular or constant release of small amounts of urine.
According to scientists, incontinence comes as a result of many different things including the process of aging (the muscles in the bladder are loosened), weaker pelvic floor muscles caused by childbirth or some type of surgery related to this area, menopause, enlarged prostate, nerve damage, overactive bladder, UTI (urinary tract infection), urinary stones and even by constipation.
In addition, some foods, beverages, and pharmaceutical drugs may activate the bladder and lead to short-term incontinence.
This health issue is not just embarrassing and uncomfortable, but it can also lead to pain in case the urine remains in the bladder because it can lead to the formation of an environment suitable for bacteria. It is good to point out that incontinence is not some kind of disease, but this is usually a symptom or sign of some health disorder or health issue.
So, in order to solve this issue, you will need to find the exact cause. Besides consulting your doctor and following their suggested treatment, you can also rely on some natural homemade remedies and promote changes in your lifestyle that might be able to stop or help you manage incontinence.
Before using these remedies, perform a medical examination in order to eliminate the possibility that this problem is related to some more serious problems like cancer.
The following is a list of the 10 best natural remedies used in cases of urinary incontinence.
1. Kegel (Pelvic Floor) Exercises
Activating the muscles in the pelvic floor with the help of some exercises can be a good way to heal and control incontinence especially when this problem has not progressed yet. With the help of these diseases, you will be able to enhance bladder management and lower urine leakage regardless of your gender. Kegel exercises are good for relieving stress and so-called urge incontinence.
- Contract the muscles in the pelvic floor and keep them tight for eight seconds. In case you can’t count to eight, simply keep them tight as much as you can;
- After that, relax the pelvic floor muscles for eight seconds;
- Perform ten repetitions, three times per day;
- In order to identify these muscles, we will provide simple instructions. In the moments when you are urinating, stop urinating for a while and continue. The muscles you feel when you do this are the muscles in the pelvic floor.
It is always a good idea to talk to a doctor in order to be sure that you are contracting the right muscles. In addition, the doctor may give you some advice related to your specific condition.
Don’t forget that while you are performing these exercises, the muscles located in the buttocks, thighs, and abdomen must be relaxed. Try to inhale and exhale normally while doing these exercises. Of course, empty the bladder before you start doing these exercises.
Magnesium is a great nutrient for situations like this. People who have symptoms of magnesium deficiency including leg cramps overnight will find taking magnesium very beneficial. This essential nutrient is crucial for proper muscle relaxation all over the body. So, with its help, you will be able to lower muscle spasms in the bladder and promote proper emptying of this organ.
A scientific study conducted 18 years ago and revealed in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology has shown that using magnesium hydroxide was quite successful in the treatment of urge incontinence in women because of its detrusor overactivity.
- Use magnesium hydroxide supplements (350 mg) two times a day for at least 3 weeks. Of course, talk to your doctor before you begin this practice;
- Enrich your diet with foods packed with magnesium like seeds, nuts, yogurt, and bananas;
- Another good idea is to soak your body in the Epsom salt bath for about 20 minutes three times a week. In case you didn’t know Epsom salt consists of magnesium sulfate and soaking in water with Epsom salt helps the body use this magnesium because it penetrates the skin. Put two cups of Epsom salt in a tub with warm water in order to prepare an Epsom salt bath.
3. Vitamin D
Many people use vitamin D to manage urinary incontinence because this vitamin preserves the strength of the muscles. A scientific study published 5 years ago and revealed in the Obstetrics and Gynecology journal has confirmed that women who consume more vitamin D have lower chances of experiencing disorders related to the pelvic floor.
- Spend ten minutes out in the sun every day. In this way, you will support your body’s effort to create vitamin D;
- Increase the intake of foods packed with vitamin D like egg yolks, oysters, fish, milk, and similar dairy products;
- Talk to your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements.
Yoga will help you make your muscles tighter. This positive effect of yoga is affecting the muscles that manage the work of the urethral sphincter too. According to experts, yoga provides similar effects as Kegel exercises. In addition, yoga has proven to be excellent for relaxation and de-stressing which means depression and anxiety linked to urinary incontinence will be reduced too.
A study conducted two years ago and revealed in the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery journal has shown that a yoga therapy program that lasted for one and a half months helped women suffering from stress incontinence manage their urinary incontinence urges. All the participants in this program noticed an improvement.
- If you want to deal with incontinence, you should definitely use some of these poses – Squat Pose or Malasana, Triangle Pose or Trikonasana, Chair Pose or Utkatasana, and Root Lock or Mula bandha. Find a yoga trainer that has experience with poses that improve the health of the pelvic floor.
In case you have never heard about Gosha-jinki-gan, you should know that this is a herbal remedy used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years. It was mostly used for healing urinary incontinence and overactive bladder. This natural remedy contains a few herbs.
Two scientific studies conducted in Japan have confirmed that this specific herbal medicine has the ability to enhance urinary frequency, urgency, and nighttime urination in individuals suffering from overactive bladder.
- Use this supplement only after talking to your doctor who will tell you whether you can use it and how much of this supplement you should use.
Buchu or Agathosma Betulina is an excellent urinary tract solution to boost urinary system health. Buchu is especially useful for incontinence triggered by a bladder infection due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic properties. In addition, buchu has the ability to strengthen the tissues linked to urination and soothe systemic irritation.
- Start by steeping one teaspoon of Buchi in a cup filled with hot water for ten minutes;
- After that, strain the mixture and consume this herbal tea throughout the day until you notice improvement;
- Don’t forget that you should stay away from buchu in case you are experiencing pain and/or swelling in your urinary tract. Talk to a physician before using this remedy.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an excellent remedy for your overall health. With its help, you can eliminate toxins from the body and combat infections in the bladder. In addition, apple cider vinegar supports weight loss. On the other hand, obesity and excess weight trigger and intensify urinary incontinence because the fat stored around the abdomen and hips creates additional pressure on the bladder.
- Take one or two teaspoons of unprocessed apple cider vinegar and put them in a glass of water. Mix the solution well and add some organic honey;
- Consume this mixture three times a day until you notice positive results;
- In case you witness irritation in your bladder or you are dealing with an overactive bladder, don’t use apple cider vinegar.
This is another ancient remedy for urinary issues. People have used cleavers to heal overactive bladder and cystitis for hundreds of years. Cleavers keep us safe from bladder irritation because they create a calming coating around the bladder.
- Put three teaspoons of cleavers in one cup of hot water and steep for 15 minutes;
- After that, strain the solution and consume it three times a day until you get better.
If you want to get better control of your body and lower incontinence, you can always rely on meditation. A study conducted 7 years ago at Loyola University has confirmed that cognitive therapy that includes guided imagery and deep breathing exercises can help the brain get better control of the bladder and as a result that the frequency of episodes related to incontinence that patients experienced each week was reduced from nearly 40 to 12.
So, perform some visualization and relaxation exercises for 2-3 weeks and you should be able to improve your condition.
Chinese folk medicine practitioners also recommend acupuncture for the reduction of urinary incontinence. In this way, patients can make the urinary system stronger and enhance the work of the kidneys.
Acupuncture can boost the ability to keep urine and lower urinary urge episodes. Scientific studies have also confirmed that acupuncture is great for healing incontinence even though these results are only preliminary and more precise studies are expected in the future.
If you want to get the most from an acupuncture treatment you should always use the help of a professional, experienced, and qualified acupuncturist. The best acupuncture points for treating urinary incontinence include St 36, LI 11, BL 31, BL 23, BL 28, BL 39, BL 32, GV 4, KI 3, CV 4, CV 3, and CV 6. It is good to point out that the vast majority of acupuncture points for treating urinary issues can be found in the lower back and lower abdomen.
- Enrich your daily diet with additional fiber. Fiber deficiency leads to constipation and constipation adds more pressure on your bladder;
- Consume an adequate amount of water, but don’t drink more than necessary;
- Get rid of those extra pounds;
- Workout for half an hour, five days per week;
- Stop smoking. Passionate smokers have much higher chances of having an overactive bladder;
- Stay away from caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, certain soft drinks, and alcohol. These beverages can make the situation worse and cause bladder irritation;
- Stay away from tomatoes, citrus fruits, hot peppers, vinegar, and spicy foods because they can cause bladder irritation too;
- Stay away from artificial sweeteners because these additions can increase the frequency and intensity of urinary urges;
- Keep a strict schedule of urinating and urinate every 3-4 hours even in situations when you don’t feel the urge.
Record the symptoms in order to find out what leads to these urges and talk to your doctor about the ideal treatment for your condition. Based on the symptoms you will reveal, they should be able to come up with an efficient plan that will at least lower the frequency of incontinence episodes.
Sources NCBI | NCBI | NCBI | Mayo Clinic | NCBI | NDTV