When you know something’s wrong in your body, it’s tough.
But when you seek out treatment and the options are few, the results are mixed, and doing nothing is no option at all, it’s terribly frustrating.
This is often the case when readers ask about overactive bladder (OAB).
If you find yourself getting up to pee during the night, this could be you. And if you start paying close attention and realize you’re going a lot during the day too… it’s even more likely.
The question is, what can you do about it? And as my readers are most interested to know, what can you do that’s safe, natural and effective?
Because at best OAB is intrusive.
At worst, it can be quite embarrassing and disruptive. To your sleep, and to your life.
But the first thing you should realize is, you’re not alone. Literally millions of people – both men and women – are dealing with the same thing. So what works for them?
What can be really helpful are a few simple lifestyle changes. Particularly if you combine them, you could be on the path to actual relief.
The first thing you should do is examine your diet. Curry and citrus can be triggers for many, as well as spicy foods like chili peppers or horseradish.
Acidic foods are often culprits too. So take note of when you’re having a particularly bad day. What did you eat? Was it something on this list?
One particular note you should be aware of. Many – many – people hand you cranberry juice whenever it comes to issues with your bladder. And for bladder health and avoiding UTIs, cranberry juice can be an effective natural strategy.
But for bladder irritation, it can have the exact opposite effect. Cranberry juice is highly acidic, so it can make your problem worse. Best to avoid.
It’s also smart to keep track of other drinks too, like caffeine and alcohol. They’re a double whammy. They’re diuretic, so they make you pee more to begin with.
And they stimulate bladder function, so by cutting back, you can often put yourself on the road to recovery.
Don’t cut back on water too much, however. Dehydration concentrates your urine, which can make it even more irritating. If you’re getting up at night to pee, cut your water at least 4 hours before bed.
You can also work your pelvic muscles doing an exercise known as Kegels. If you feel the urge to go, engage these muscles for 10 seconds. Or, before you urinate, do some rapid contractions, then go. Like any muscle, your bladder will respond to workouts if you stick with it.
Another thing you could consider is acupuncture. One study in London showed that nearly 8 in 10 OAB sufferers saw significant improvement after 10 weeks of weekly acupuncture sessions – and these are folks who’ve tried other options with no success.
The good news about any of these choices is none have any real side effects, and most will improve your health in other ways, even if your progress with OAB comes slowly.
But a walk of a 1000 miles begins with a single step. And if you’re suffering with OAB, it’s best to start taking steps as soon as it becomes real.
Because you want to make sure it doesn’t become more of an issue.