Consider a Natural Supplement
If you’re wary of pharmaceuticals, there are some natural remedies that might bring you some more nighttime bladder control. Clinical trials conducted in Japan have revealed the bladder benefits of pumpkin seed oil — it was shown to reduce nighttime incontinence by almost 70 percent.
Other plant-derived supplements include palmetto, cornsilk and bromelain (derived from pineapples). However, just like any medication, natural remedies can be powerful and could interact with your other OAB treatments, so be sure to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor before visiting your naturopath.
Avoid Your Trigger Foods
As you know, the bladder muscle is pretty sensitive to certain things. Caffeine, alcohol, citrus and spicy foods top the list of OAB triggers, but there could be other culprits hiding in your favorite dishes, too. The key is to look carefully, record frequently, and investigate any suspicious patterns to weed out the bladder irritant.
A food journal is a good tool for a better understanding of your bladder. Write down what you eat every day, and what happens after the meal.
Keep an eye on acidic foods and artificial sweeteners, which are known to cause problems. Once you know which ingredients cause you the most trouble, try to avoid them completely, or at least from noon onward.
Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
Pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises) are one of the quickest and more reliable ways to strengthen the supportive muscles around your bladder, which can help you control feelings of urgency and urine flow at any time of day.
If you haven’t been practicing Kegels, start today. If you’re already familiar with the technique, get serious about your routine.
You should work in several sets of Kegels throughout each day, beginning in the morning with a set of eight to 12 pelvic floor contractions and releases. Hold each contraction for about three seconds before releasing.
Practice your Kegels at regular intervals, and when you feel a strong urge to run to the bathroom, first do a Kegel to try and calm the bladder spasm.
Try an Anticholinergic
Anticholinergics are among your best treatment options when your nighttime OAB isn’t responding to non-invasive measures. They work by relieving the bladder spasms that cause the urge to go, and can relieve nighttime symptoms as well as daytime symptoms.
The antimuscarinic drug tolterodine (sold under the brand name Detrol) also shows a lot of promise. Studies have shown that the drug can significantly reduce nighttime nocturia caused by OAB, and without many side effects at all.
Most people with OAB can bring their condition under control with a few clever changes to their diet and routine, but if you’re one of the unlucky few who can’t find relief, you may need to consider a surgical procedure.
However, don’t be too hasty: retraining your bladder takes time and patience, so be sure to commit to healthier habits and stick with them for several weeks before giving up on them.