Question: Just recently I’ve developed an embarrassing bladder problem. Every time I cough or sneeze, I wet myself ever so slightly. Why is this and how can I stop the problem from becoming worse?
16 September, 2008 – 19:19
Answer: Bladder incontinence can take several forms. Stress incontinence, which is usually the result of weakened pelvic muscles after childbirth, tends to affect women more than men. Initial symptoms include a few drops of urine leaking wheneveryou cough or strain, but eventually any physical effort can cause a leakage.
Urge-incontinence can affect both men and women and results when suffererscannot reach the bathroom in time and dribblingincontinence, which is often thesign of a prostate problem, is more common among men. The bladder is neverproperly emptied so urine continues to dribble out.
If you suspect you are suffering from any form ofincontinence, you should consult your GP first. However, natural remedies canalso be effective.
Pelvic floor exercises, such as the Kegel exercises, canbe particularly helpful for stress incontinence. They strengthen the musclesthat contract and relax to control the opening and closing of your bladder,preventing involuntary leakage.
To identify the musclesyou need to exercise, imagine you are trying to hold back a bowel movement bytightening the muscles around the anus. This is the back part of the pelvicfloor. To find the front part, try to stop your urinary flow and restart. Onceyou’ve identified both sets of muscles, squeeze for a count of four and relaxfor up to five minutes twice daily. These exercises can be done sitting orlying down and if done correctly, can lead to an improvement within six weeks.
Diet is also important.Constipation can aggravate bladder problems so make sure you are eating enoughfibre. Peas, beans, brown rice, wholemeal bread, jacket potatoes, rawvegetables and fresh or dried fruits are great fibre providers, but they doneed to be washed down with plenty of fluids.
As far as herbalremedies are concerned, pumpkin seeds have long been used in connection withthe prevention and treatment of bladder and prostate problems, as has WhitePoplar extract.
Likewise, Sweet Sumachextract is recognised for its astringent and antiseptic properties in thetreatment of incontinence in older people and bed-wetting (enuresis) inchildren.
All of the above areavailable separately or in a capsule combination called Inurin. For furtherinformation, ask at your local health store.