As we age, the prevalence (and probability) of incontinence rises. This is such a common problem that many view incontinence as just another of the problems of growing older and may not mention it to their doctors. They may decide to just live with chronic incontinence instead of looking for a way to treat the underlying issue. Incontinence is not a health condition that you simply have to accept, but it can be treated with natural treatments and alternative therapies. Dietary changes, kegel exercises, behavioral therapy, and herbs like St. John’s wort are effective for treating incontinence in older patients.
Natural Remedies for Incontinence in the Elderly
One of the first steps that should be taken is to discuss this with your doctor. A doctor can help rule out any further health issues that may be contributing to the incontinence and work with you to identify effective treatment options. You should also consider trying some natural treatment options that will help strengthen your body.
1. Dietary Changes
For some older people, incontinence is a result of the body's inability to process certain foods and food components. By changing your diet, you can gradually have fewer episodes of incontinence.
Foods to Avoid as They Can Irritate the Bladder
Caffeine, including coffee, tea, chocolate and sodas with caffeine; for a chocolate craving, have one miniature bar or chocolate kiss;
Carbonated beverages, especially those with caffeine;
Acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomato products;
Spicy foods, raw onions and processed foods;
Cranberries - this may be a surprise, but cranberries are actually acidic and can irritate the bladder.
Salty snacks cause the body to retain water, which will all go to the bladder; the salt also makes you thirstier.
Foods That are Good for the Bladder
Fresh non-acidic fruits, such as pears and blueberries;
Water - drink 6 - 8 ounce glasses per day, but limit water consumption in the evening.
Replace orange juice with apple or pear juice, diluted with water.
Eat snacks with low salt or no salt.
Keep a Food Diary
It may not be necessary to avoid all of the foods on the "Avoid" list. Keep a record of what was eaten and the effect that it had. Eliminate only one food at a time, for a week. If there is an improvement, but you still want to try to eat the food, try adding it back a little at a time until the symptoms return.
Kegel exercises can be an effective way to treat incontinence.
How to do Kegel exercises
Find the muscles you use to stop urinating.
Squeeze these muscles for 3 seconds. Then relax for 3 seconds.
Add 1 second each week until you are able to squeeze for 10 seconds each time
Research posted by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health suggest behavioral training as an effective remedy as well. This practice involves the establishment of habit training or timed voiding to allow the individual to establish a regular schedule of voluntary voiding. According to the study, an individual can expect a 50% reduction in frequency of incontinence using this method.
4. St. John’s Wort
Research also supports the use of herbal treatments for incontinence, such as St. John’s wort. This helps to regulate voluntary voiding and supports excretory health. Check with your doctor prior to using this remedy, however, as it interferes with several common medications.
Incontinence is not an issue of aging that you just have to accept. Dietary changes, exercise, behavioral therapy, and natural supplements can remedy the issue so that you can get back to your life. Try one of these treatments and let us know how it works for you.
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