Do you suffer from an overactive bladder? If you answered yes, know that you are not alone. Urinary incontinence is a fact of life for many people, women in particular, sometimes even before the onset of menopause.
One of the most troublesome types is urge incontinence which is more commonly called overactive bladder (OAB). As its name implies, the bladder is irritable for a variety of reasons, and the muscle in the bladder wall (detrusor) contracts involuntarily, causing urine to leak out. The more urine in your bladder, the more urine leaks out when the muscle contracts. Once this starts, it is almost impossible to stop and can be embarrassing and even debilitating. So, the key is to prevent the muscle from getting irritated in the first place. This is where supplements can be highly effective.
People are not often aware that what they ingest, food or supplement wise, can impact the pH of the bladder and its sensitivity. Did you know that foods such as asparagus can make urine smell funny? And most people know that cranberry can help acidify the urine and reduce bladder symptoms. So, it goes without saying that integrating a supplement that has key bladder-boosting ingredients such as cranberry and pumpkin seed, to name just a few, is essential to keeping your bladder in tip-top shape. Before talking more about supplements, let's have a look at the five main types of incontinence.
Types of urinary incontinence
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is urine leakage associated with increased abdominal pressure from laughing, sneezing, coughing, climbing stairs, or other activities that put physical pressure on the abdominal cavity and the bladder[2, 3] Exercises like aerobics, golf, and tennis worsen SUI symptoms.
Urge Incontinence (OAB): Involuntary leakage, accompanied by or immediately preceded by, the feeling of imminent urination or urgency. It is uncontrolled urine loss that cannot be prevented and usually a moderate to large quantity of urine is lost. Frequent trips to the bathroom and urges to go at night are common. Excess intake of water, tea, coffee, and alcohol can aggravate the symptoms.
- Mixed incontinence: Patients with mixed incontinence have symptoms of both stress incontinence and urge incontinence. There is mild to moderate loss of urine either with or without activity. Leakage can occur without warning. Frequent and urgent urination day and night can be present.
- Overflow incontinence: Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder is overfilled and the increased bladder pressure exceeds the ability of the urethra to keep the urine from coming out.
- Functional Incontinence: The inability to hold urine due to reasons other than neuro-urologic and lower urinary tract dysfunction (delirium, psychiatric disorders, urinary infection, impaired mobility).
- Pelvic support is impaired from childbirth
- Low estrogen levels
- Structural and functional disorders involving the bladder, urethra, ureters,
- Disorder of the spinal cord or central nervous system (CNS)
- Medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis or diabetes
- Drug-induced or side effects
The most common cause for SUI is excessive movement of the urethra due to poor support from surrounding tissue as a result of menopause and lack of estrogen, childbirth, surgeries, chronic cough, heavy lifting, and smoking.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been identified as a risk factor for urinary incontinence in older adults.
Conventional Remedies for Overactive Bladder
Current treatment for OAB consists of bladder retraining, biofeedback, pelvic muscle exercises such as Kegels, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and medications. Most of the medications have side effects which limit their use.
Bladder Brake’s Ingredients Help Control Bladder Spasms or Urgency
Supplements such as Bladder Brake can alleviate many of the OAB triggers. Its proprietary blend of pumpkin seed extract, soy seed extract, cranberry extract, and Vitamin D can be highly effective against an overactive bladder.
Studies have shown that a mixture of pumpkin seed extract and soybean germ extract is effective for both overactive bladder and prostate enlargement. In 2011, a randomized, double-blinded study, put these ingredients to the test for urinary incontinence due to overactive bladder. The participants (all women) took the pumpkin seed extract and soybean germ extract mixture twice daily for 12 weeks. Ninety percent of the participants who were given the mixture and not the placebo, were satisfied with the outcome. There were no side effects or adverse reactions.
Other than alleviating urinary symptoms, soybean extract can also help with menopause symptoms, osteoporosis, hot flashes, headaches, and mood disturbances. Pumpkin seed extract, an antioxidant, has the added benefit of reducing inflammation in the body and bladder. It also has anti-cancer properties and is high in magnesium which aids sleep.
Another study analyzed the results in people who took pumpkin seed extract and found vast improvement in symptoms of urinary urgency and OAB.
So, if you're fed up with OAB and its many downsides, making Bladder Brake part of your daily routine will help you get back to a normal life. Your days of constantly running for the bathroom will soon be a thing of the past.
Bongsuk Shim, The Effect of Pumpkin Seed Extract and Soybean Germ Extract on Overactive Bladder Symptom and Quality of Life. The Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition, 2011.
Nishimura, M., Ohkawara, T., Sato, H., Takeda, H., & Nishihira, J. (2014). Pumpkin Seed Oil Extracted From Cucurbita maxima Improves Urinary Disorder in Human Overactive Bladder. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 4(1), 72–74. https://doi.org/10.4103/2225-4110.124355
Gauruder-Burmester, A., Heim, S., Patz, B., & Seibt, S. (2019). Cucurbita pepo – Rhus aromatica – Humulus lupulus Combination Reduces Overactive Bladder Symptoms in Women – A Noninterventional Study. Planta Medica, 85(13), 1044.