Overactive bladder (or OAB) is a condition that causes an uncontrolled urge to urinate. OAB affects both men and women, which is common for those who are 40 years or older. According to studies, 1 in 3 adults suffers from OAB, which is often due to aging, diabetes, or an enlarged prostate. In The United States alone, there are more than 200,000 new cases of OAB per year, which is considered the leading cause of incontinence.
There is a huge difference between occasional incontinence and OAB, which is why it’s important to understand the symptoms associated with OAB. The symptoms of OAB can change, but most commonly include an urgent need to urinate, involuntary loss of urine, or if you have an uncontrollable urge to urinate more than 8 times a day. A doctor’s diagnosis is often required to determine if a patient is suffering from OAB. The foods you eat, believe it or not, may actually make your OAB symptoms worse:
It’s a well-known fact that alcohol consumption increases your body’s production of urine. Alcohol is a diuretic, which is defined as “ a drug that increases urination.” Alcohol can cause symptoms of OAB to worsen and irritate the bladder.
2. Artificial sweeteners
In recent years studies have found that artificial sweeteners aren’t the healthiest, which are found in many foods and beverages. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sodium saccharin, and acesulfame cause your bladder muscles to become hyperactive, which will increase your urge to urinate.
3. Carbonated drinks
Carbonated drinks, which includes soda, club soda, sparkling water, seltzer water, or beverage that contains carbon dioxide can irritate the bladder and increase your urge to urinate.
4. Coffee or caffeinated foods and drinks
If you’re a frequent coffee or tea drinker and if you happen to suffer from OAB, then you should consider switching to decaf. Caffeine increases bladder activity and causes frequent urination. Caffeine heightens a person’s blood pressure, which can therefore impact the bladder and increase its activity.
Cheese is arguably one of the most delicious foods on the planet, which can also affect those who suffer from OAB. Dairy products such as cheeses, especially creamed and aged cheeses can lead to chronic inflammation of the bladder and therefore worsen symptoms of OAB.
OAB affects more than 43% of women, but luckily there are a variety of treatment options available, which include medications, self-care products, and behavioral interventions such as weight management, diet, and exercise. There are also a variety of natural remedies, including herbal remedies and foods, which can improve abnormal urinary function. Pumpkin seeds, cranberry juice, squash, and kohki tea can help reduce incontinence and improve bladder function. Constipation can also significantly impact your bladder, which can cause added pressure on the bladder. Regular exercise and maintaining a fiber-rich diet, which includes foods such as beans, broccoli, whole grains, and berries can help prevent constipation and therefore reduce symptoms of OAB.
There are other natural more invasive methods of treating OAB, which includes
Axonics Sacral Neuromodulation. Axonics is a system that is designed to stimulate the sacral nerve, which is an implanted stimulator used to treat symptoms of OAB. The implanted stimulator is fitted with electrodes, which send electrical pulses to the sacral nerve. The sacral nerve controls the muscles of the bladder and pelvic floor.