Whether you’re at a New Year’s gathering or on a long car ride, you don’t want your bladder to suddenly rear its ugly head, demanding bathroom time — or else! Thankfully, Harvard Medical School researchers say these natural remedies can quickly calm bossy bladders for 70 percent of women studied — often more effectively than medications can! Read on for their four natural remedies for incontinence.
1. Go Twice
When you go more than once, it’s called double voiding, and it can add an extra hour between your bathroom visits, British researchers say. You can give it a go by standing for 10 seconds when you think your bladder is empty, then sitting down on the toilet again, putting your hands on your knees, leaning forward, and doing your business. Explains urologist Anne Wright, M.D., this is a great option for women who often retain urine due to a stretched out bladder, weak pelvic muscles, or a prolapsed uterus.
2. Try This Icelandic Herb
If you have to bolt to the bathroom — yet only a trickle comes out — an Icelandic herb called Angelica archangelica ($16.99, Amazon) may help. A Scandinavian study suggests taking 100 milligrams of this bladder-calming herb to increase the amount of urine it can hold before spasming by 60 percent. This supplement can also cut nighttime trips to the bathroom in half. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
3. Sip a Baking Soda Tonic
Drinking a glass of water with ½ tsp. of baking soda twice daily could cut urgency by as much as 47 percent, one study shows. Baking soda makes urine less acidic and less likely to irritate your bladder, which consequently triggers muscle spasms.
4. Take a Time Out
Stress rattles your nerves — and your bladder too! No wonder researchers at Chicago’s Loyola University say that finding ways to destress every day can cut your hurried bathroom trips by as much as 52 percent. Urologist Katie Moore, M.D., adds that the key is to choose something truly relaxing — such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, or quiet reading — and do it for 15 minutes, twice daily.
5. Add Fiber to Your Diet
Relieving constipation with a little extra fiber ($23.50, Amazon) and three glasses of water daily ends bladder mishaps for one in four women studied. That’s because strained bowel movements can weaken your pelvic floor — staying regular reduces pressure on the tiny muscles that hold your bladder shut.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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