Your Urine Doesn’t Actually Need To Be Clear
There’s a widespread belief that, ideally, your urine should be perfectly clear at all times a sign that you’re well-hydrated. In reality, however, having totally clear urine may be a sign that you’re actually drinking too much water.
“Generally, if someone is well-hydrated, the urine is going to be on the clear side, and if they’re less hydrated it will be darker,” Brucker says. “But it’s a myth that you should always be super well-hydrated and peeing clear. For most people, I just say, ‘Drink when you’re thirsty.'”
Doctors generally recommend that your urine is either a “pale straw” or transparent yellow color, although it’s not a huge deal if it’s a bit darker or lighter . Other colors like pink, red, orange, or green could be a sign of a kidney or liver disorder, or could just be the result of food coloring in something you ate.
Herbal Remedies For Overactive Bladder
If youÃ¢re curious about herbal remedies for overactive bladder, youÃ¢re hardly alone. The CDC says about 75% of people with the condition have turned to a complementary treatment at some point.
Why do people go natural? Because their medical treatments donÃ¢t work, or they may have unpleasant side effects, says Bilal Chughtai, MD, an assistant professor of urology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
But are herbal treatments worth it? ItÃ¢s hard to know for sure. Ã¢ThereÃ¢s very little scientific research on the topic,Ã¢ says Linda Brubaker, MD, a professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. âWithout quality studies, doctors canÃ¢t say if these remedies work, or if theyÃ¢re safe to use â either alone or with other medications.Ã¢
Chughtai, who studies how herbs affect the urinary tract, agrees. Ã¢WeÃ¢re still in the very early stages of uncovering how herbs may treat overactive bladder,Ã¢ he says.
But even without solid proof that they work, a number of these remedies are on the market. Some have been used to treat OAB for centuries.
HereÃ¢s what we know about 10 common herbal treatments.
Gosha-jinki-gan: This blend of 10 herbs is one of the most studied products. Japanese researchers found that people who took it daily for 8 weeks went to the bathroom less. Other studies confirm that it lowers the urge and helps with incontinence. Chughtai says it may work by stopping nerve signals to the bladder.
Risk Factors For Urinary Incontinence
The following factors may put you at higher risk for developing UI.
Being female Women experience stress incontinence twice as often as men. Men, on the other hand, are at greater risk for urge and overflow incontinence.
Advancing age As we get older, our bladder and urinary sphincter muscles often weaken, which may result in frequent and unexpected urges to urinate. Even though incontinence is more common in older people, it is not considered a normal part of aging.
Excess body fat Extra body fat increases the pressure on the bladder and can lead to urine leakage during exercise or when coughing or sneezing.
Other chronic diseases Vascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions may increase the risk of urinary incontinence
Smoking A chronic smoker’s cough can trigger or aggravate stress incontinence by putting pressure on the urinary sphincter.
High-impact sports While sports don’t cause incontinence, running, jumping, and other activities that create sudden pressure on the bladder can lead to occasional episodes of incontinence during sports activities.
Read Also: T1 Low Grade Bladder Cancer
Alternatives To Drinking Alcohol
If you are out on the town, opt for one of the fancy mixed drinks, but ask the bartender to leave out the alcohol. They still taste good, even without the alcohol. At home, consume nonalcoholic wine, unless the acidity irritates your bladder. I do not recommend nonalcoholic beer as carbonated beverages are irritating.
Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, black, tea, green tea, cocoa and yerba mate irritate the bladder. Limit these beverages. Avoid artificial sweeteners and carbonated beverages. Acidic fruit juices may cause bladder irritation.
The best beverage that you can drink is water. You may choose to consume decaffeinated beverages and herb teas. Try carob instead of cocoa.
A simple tea may be prepared from fresh corn silk. Pour two cups of boiling water of the silk from one ear of corn. Cover the container. Let the silk infuse for twenty minutes. Discard the corn silk. Drink the tea. It has a light, corn-like flavor. Corn silk effectively relieves bladder spasms reducing the urge to void.
What Are Symptoms Of An Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder refers to a group of urinary symptoms that include:
- Urinary urgency with or without urinary incontinence: Strong and sudden need to urinate that may cause bladder discomfort. Urinary incontinence refers to a lack of control over urination. Not all people with urinary urgency have incontinence. Those who have incontinence complain of uncontrolled leakage of urine.
- Urinary frequency: Urinating more often than usual.
- Nocturia: Increased need to urinate at night.
OAB is fairly common, affecting about 40% of women and 30% of men in the United States. Symptoms can be managed with medical treatment, although sometimes surgery may be necessary.
Don’t Miss: Bladder Retraining For Urge Incontinence
When To Drink More Water
Some people have a medical reason to drink large amounts of water, such as kidney stones or kidney disease, or low blood pressure. In other people with a painful bladder, the production of a more concentrated urine may be irritating to the bladder. In these patients, drinking more water can help incontinence due to decrease in the frequency of voiding and the amount of leakage.
How Alcohol Impacts A Healthy Bladder
Alcohol is a powerful diuretic , meaning even just one drink can increase your urine production5and make you need to use the toilet more. It can also cause dehydration and more concentrated urine, which, in turn, causes irritation and inflammation in the lining of the bladder. 6 This causes discomfort both when you urinate and at rest.
Oab: Drinks That May Increase The Urge To Go
One of the biggest OAB culprits is caffeine, which can make you urinate more. Studies show that reducing caffeine intake to below 100 milligrams per day — the amount in one cup of drip coffee — may help reduce urge incontinence symptoms.
Cut down or cut out these problem beverages:
- Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, colas, energy drinks, and teas
- Acidic fruit juices, especially orange, grapefruit, and tomato
- Carbonated beverages, sodas, or seltzers
- Drinks with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharin, which may irritate the bladder
If you can’t imagine starting your day without a morning cup of coffee, try to lower the amount of caffeine you take in. Make a cup that’s half decaf and half regular. You may want to wean yourself gradually to avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches.
For fruit juice, try switching to something with less acid, such as apple or pear juice, and dilute it with water.
Does Drinking More Water Help Incontinence Can Drinking Too Much Water Irritate Your Bladder Does Drinking Water Help With Overactive Bladder
- Does drinking more water help incontinence? Can drinking too much water irritate your bladder? Does drinking water help with overactive bladder?
Drinking water is important for your overall health. Overall, each personâs fluid intake is dependent on several factors unique to them. As you drink water the kidneys will use it to make urine and help to rid the body of unneeded electrolytes and waste products. Many people have heard that they should drink 8 glasses of water per day. However, for most people this is more than enough fluid, and drinking too much water can irritate your bladder leading to more incontinence. If you have no medical reason to take in high volumes of fluid, it is fine to drink as much water as you are thirsty for.
Read Also: Cysts On Bladder And Kidneys
Tips To Keep Your Bladder Healthy
People rarely talk about bladder health, but everyone is affected by it. Located in the lower abdomen, the bladder is a hollow organ, much like a balloon, that stores urine. Urine contains waste and extra fluid left over after the body takes what it needs from what we eat and drink. Each day, adults pass about a quart and a half of urine through the bladder and out of the body.
As people get older, the bladder changes. The elastic bladder tissue may toughen and become less stretchy. A less flexible bladder cannot hold as much urine as before and might make you go to the bathroom more often. The bladder wall and pelvic floor muscles may weaken, making it harder to empty the bladder fully and causing urine to leak.
While you cant control everything that affects your bladder, here are 15 steps you can take to keep it as healthy as possible:
You Can Train Yourself To Not Need To Urinate As Often
This sweater-vested man’s got to go!
“I see a lot of patients with complaints of frequent urination, or overactive bladder,” Brucker says. “But a lot of the time, it’s just a matter of them breaking the habit of peeing every opportunity they have, because then they end up peeing 25 times per day.”
Simply holding it for a bit instead of going the second you feel the need to pee will gradually strengthen both the mental communication circuit responsible for keeping your bladder from emptying and the actual muscles that let you do so.
if all else fails, there’s a secret move you can whip out in dire circumstances
If you’re stuck in a situation where you do need to hold it for an especially long time, there are some things you can do. WikiHow’s exquisitely illustrated guide has some interesting tips: It’s good to cross your legs if standing, but not if you’re sitting . Don’t move too much, don’t drink anything, and try to think about something totally unrelated to your overwhelming urge to pee.
If this all fails, there’s a secret move you can whip out in especially dire circumstances, though it requires advance preparation. It’s called the knack maneuver, and both men and women can develop the ability to execute it by doing exercises similar to Kegel exercises over time. Essentially, you try to squeeze the muscles that make up your pelvic floor, then intentionally cough or pretend to sneeze .
Read Also: Bladder And Urinary Tract Infections
Short Term Effects Of Alcohol On The Body
To keep health risks to a minimum, its recommended not to exceed 14 units of alcohol, equivalent to 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of wine, in a week regularly.1 Nonetheless, we have all had one too many drinks on occasion at a party so what are the short-term effects of excessive drinking? Many things can change how alcohol affects you, including your mood, what and how much youve eaten and how much youve slept the night before.2 Drinking a lot on a single occasion can increase your risk of:
- damage to the nervous system4
In addition to these, alcohol can affect your bladder both in the long and short term.
Eat And Drink With Your Bladder In Mind:
Adopting a bladder-friendly diet will go a long way in easing the symptoms of an overactive bladder. This means avoiding foods that make your urine acidic because acid will further irritate your bladder. Do your best to saying no to caffeine, alcohol, citrus, carbonated beverages and spicy foods.
If you wake up a lot needing to go to the restroom, then make sure you are getting plenty of fluids during the day and limit drinking fluids closer towards before bedtime. This may help reduce the need to urinate frequently at night.
Don’t Miss: Loss Of Bladder Control When Running
Medical Treatments For An Overactive Bladder
Depending on how successful they were and the strength of your condition, your doctor may recommend that you continue with the above treatments and return for another check-up after a specific period of time.
However, if they decide, usually in consultation with the patient, that medical treatment may be beneficial or necessary, they may choose to prescribe one or multiple medical treatments, some of which are detailed below.
And Throw A Bit Of Vitamin D In There As Well
Something else that you can do to your diet is throw in a bit of Vitamin D.
While the primary use of this vitamin has been to promote calcium intake over the years, some studies have shown that it has positive effects on the bladder as well.
Its worth mentioning that the daily requirement of vitamin D is 600 IU and most people fall well short of this.
Considering the fact that studies have specifically targeted vitamin D in relation to incontinence issues, it might be time to fine-tune your diet.
Don’t Miss: Different Types Of Bladder Cancer
Theres No Way To Curb Alcohol
Not to be a buzzkill, but its true. The best strategy for reducing excess urination as a result of drinking alcohol is to drink less alcohol, Koob says.
OK, fine, you could try choosing drinks with urine output in mind, Dr. Brucker says, like by opting for a smaller cocktail over a huge one. Even then, at some point, what goes in must come out.
Duration Of Urinary Incontinence
Most cases of UI are chronic, and will remain so until treated. Depending on the cause, however, not all UI cases are chronic. If the cause is temporary, such as a vaginal infection or a urinary tract infection, the UI will stop once the issue is addressed.
You May Like: Is High Grade Bladder Cancer Curable
Wine: Good Or Bad For Oab
Wine can trigger a leaky bladder for two reasons.
- Alcohol is a diuretic that will start an increase of urine production leading to more trips to the bathroom.
- Red wine has more tannins in it giving it a darker color. Tannins are found in fruit skins that add both bitterness and astringency. Unfortunately, these tasty chemical compounds are bladder irritants and cause OAB patients to have discomfort.
Medicines And Medical Conditions
- Medicines such as diuretics for high blood pressure cause you to get rid of fluid that your body is keeping.
- If you take a diuretic, it will make your bladder fill up quickly and then you will need to pee more often.
- For some women, after taking the medicine, they stay close to a bathroom and pee more often to lower leakage.
- Do not take this type of medicine at bedtime. You will need to get up often during the night to pee.
Also Check: What Causes Losing Bladder Control
Products To Help Manage Incontinence
Many people find the following products useful for dealing with incontinence symptoms:
- Pads and undergarments Absorbent, non-bulky pads and underwear are worn discreetly under clothing and are available in different sizes for both men and women. For those with mild or moderate leakage, panty liners are sometimes all that’s required.
- Patches and plugs Many women are able to manage light leakage from stress incontinence by using products that block the flow of urine, such as a small, disposable adhesive patch that fits over the urethral opening, a tampon-like urethral plug, or a vaginal insert called a pessary.
- Catheters For otherwise unmanageable incontinence, a physician can place a catheter in the urethra to continually drain the bladder. Due to a higher risk of developing infections and kidney stones, catheters are usually a last resort and used only for severely ill patients.
The Three Stages Of Oab Treatment
First, you need to know that the goal of OAB treatment is to reduce your symptoms, not to eliminate them all together, says Maude Carmel, M.D., an associate professor of urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. To set expectations, Dr. Carmel tells her patients: If you have OAB, I can make you better, but not cure you. That said, symptom reduction can mean significantly fewer trips to the bathroom. The American Urological Association recommends a three-line treatment strategy to help: behavioral changes first, medications second, and finally neural regulation therapies.
Recommended Reading: How To Train Bladder To Hold More Urine
Recommended Reading: Best Over The Counter Bladder Control Medicine
Solutions For Stress Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence impacts almost 1 out of 2 women, and 1 out of 4 men in the US. Among women, stress urinary incontinence is the most common type of incontinence, and there are several types of treatment.
The first focus of treating women with stress urinary incontinence is improving pelvic floor health. The network of muscles that comprises your pelvic floor can be strengthened by doing Kegel exercises. Consistent Kegels tighten your pelvic floor, providing better support for your pelvic organs, including your bladder. But doing Kegels correctly isnt always easy.
ELITONE is an FDA-cleared device that uses gentle stimulation to do your Kegels for you, and its noninvasive and worn externally, like a maxi pad, under your clothes.
In many cases, early intervention can greatly reduce and even eliminate bladder leaks. Learning about the connection between alcohol and incontinence and limiting your alcohol intake are ways you can help control incontinence. Diet, weight gain, and exercise habits are other areas to explore for minimizing leaks. Being proactive about your bladder health will help you live a leak-free life.