The bladder is part of the urinary system, as hollow organ, much like a balloon, that stores urine. Urine contains wastes and extra fluid left over after the body takes what it needs from what we eat and drink. Everyone uses their bladder many times each day in order to fill–in the filtered urine from Kidneys and also evacuate the bladder through expelling the urine through the urethra.
Good bladder health is important for people of all ages. Poor bladder habits can lead to poor bladder control and incontinence. As the individual aged or in diseased conditions, the elastic bladder tissue may toughen and become less stretchy. A less stretchy bladder cannot hold as much urine as before and might make the person 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 urinary incontinence or urine to leak. While it may happen to anyone, urinary incontinence is more common in older people, especially women, reflecting as unintentional passing of urine.
Common bladder problems include:
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) often recognized as burning sensation, persistent urge to urinate, frequent but less urination, , passing strong smelling urine or cloudy urine, feeling spasm or pelvic pain includes -
1. Bladder infection
2. Kidney Infection
3. Urethra infection —A UTI can also develop in the urethra, but this is less common.
- Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS)—a group of symptoms such as trouble urinating, loss of bladder control, leaking urine, and frequent need to urinate. LUTS are caused by problems with the bladder, urethra, or pelvic floor muscles.
- Prostate Enlargement/ Prostatitis
- Weak bladder or pelvic floor muscles
- Bladder cancer occurs in the lining of the bladder.
Other Causative factors for diseased bladder are:
- Food, strong acidic & alkaline foods like sodas, artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, and tomato-based foods, make the problem worse in patients with bladder problems and they feel better by avoiding such components.
- Constipation, can put pressure on the bladder and keep it from expanding the way it should.
- Diabetes can damage nerves around the bladder that help with control.
- Obesity may be at higher risk for leaking urine.
- Low physical activity as sluggishment may retard circulation & tonicity
- Alcohol & Smoking are also the factors worsening the bladder health.
- Side effect of medicines like tranquilisers, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressant agents and anticholinergic respiratory agents), opioids and anaesthetics, alpha-adrenoceptor agonists, benzodiazepines, NSAIDs, detrusor relaxants and calcium channel antagonists etc.
There are different types of incontinence:
- Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks as pressure is put on the bladder, for example, during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. It’s the most common type of bladder control problem in younger and middle-age women.
- Urge incontinence happens when people have a sudden need to urinate and cannot hold their urine long enough to get to the toilet. It may be a problem for people having diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and other neuro-disorders.
- Overflow incontinence happens when small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full. Diabetes and spinal cord injuries can also cause this type of incontinence.
- Reflex incontinence occurs when the bladder muscle contracts and urine leaks (often in large amounts) without any warning or urge. This can happen as a result of damage to the nerves that normally warn the brain that the bladder is filling.
- Functional incontinence occurs in many elder people, having a problem getting to the toilet because of arthritis or other disorders that make it hard to move quickly.
Diagnosis of Bladder Problems:
Health Experts diagnose bladder diseases using different tests. These include urine tests, x-rays, and an examination of the bladder wall with a scope called a cystoscope. It is also considered how well the patient can retain the urine or evacuate the bladder.
Doctors use these exams to look for medical problems that may lead to accidental urine loss. Patient may be asked to cough while the bladder is full to see if you leak urine. This is called a stress test, and doctors use it to help diagnose stress incontinence
Treatment of Bladder Problems:
Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. It may include behavioural and lifestyle changes, exercises, medicines, surgery, or a combination of these treatment. Incontinence can often be cured or controlled.
Because most urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria, bacteria-fighting medications called antibiotics are the usual treatment for UTIs. The type of antibiotic and length of treatment depend on the patient’s history and the type of bacteria causing the infection. Drinking lots of fluids and urinating often may also speed healing. If needed, painkillers or anti-spasmodic can relieve the pain of a UTI. A heating pad on the back or abdomen may also help. Many of the herbs help relieve bladder problem.
(i) Urinary antiseptic and anti-adhesion herbs like Juniperus spp., Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), Sage Plant (Salvia officinalis), Dadim (Punica granatum), Gokshuru (Tribulus terrestris), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Taja (Cinnamomum cassia), and Neem (Azadirachta indica), which are effective against major urinary tract pathogens namely E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterococcus faecalis
(ii) Bladder protectives that control bladder and protect from infections comprising of Equisetum arvense, Varuna (Vernonea), Hydrangea petiolaris and Corn silk (Zea mays).
(iv) Herbs for symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, most notably Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), Pumpkin seeds, Salam Mishri (Orchis mascula) and Prunus Africana berries.
All these herbs are discerned to know different type of phytoconstituents and show potential in the treatment of urinary disorders and could be alternative to uro-pathogen resistance to the antibiotic during a UTI. Anticholinergic class of medication is used to control the muscle spasms that lead to Over Active Bladder. Anticholinergic drugs focus on blocking the nerve signals that typically trigger inopportune bladder contractions, reduce the frequency, and the severity of your urge to urinate.
Comprehensive poly-herbal products are also available in market, the segment leader is NEERI, which aim to focus on the following major actions for bladder health:
- Antimicrobial – inhibits microbial growth and expression.
- Anti-inflammatory - reduces inflammation and local irritation in tissues
- Astringent – removes excess secretions from tissues giving a “tonifying” effect
- Diuretic - supports the kidneys ability to excrete more fluid
- Antispasmodic - relieves uncomfortable spasms in the bladder and ureters.
NEERI is constituted from the major herbs like Punernava, Varuna, Gokshuru, Palash, Shudh Shilajeet, and many more herbs or their extractives. These herbs have been thoroughly studied and evidenced for their role in improving the bladder health. Punernava & Gokshuru based formulations like Punernavashtak Ghan Vati & Gokshuradi Guggal have been clinically studied Gokshuradi gugglu helps to get rid of the condition of dysuria, suppression of urine, inflamed bladder and renal calculi. The bark of Varuna is a useful drug for ailments of kidneys and bladder. CCRAS, a government research institution has reported the benefits of Varuna, in the management of enlargement of prostate and in poor tonicity in bladder. In another clinical trial with herbal formulation of C. nurvala was found to possess 5-α-reductase inhibitory and α-adrenoceptor antagonist activity. 5-α- reductase inhibition blocks the conversion of testosterone to dihydro-testosterone, the major hormone in prostatic cells responsible for BPH. Similarly, a study reported in International Journal of Contemporary Research and Review on Mimosa pudica (Lajaloo) indicates reversal of the hyperplasic changes associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Another Report published in International Ayurvedic Medical Journal, establishes the benefits of herbs like Punernava, Varuna, Gokshuru & Kasni available in the NEERI formulation in Cystitis conditions. This plant, Punernava is also called sothaghni which means that who alleviate inflammation. The alkaloid punarnavine & water soluble base choline from BD roots & evaluated them for effect on diuresis. In vitro studies–it was observed that ethanolic & aqueous extract possesses antibacterial activity against E. coli & Bacillus subtilis. Liriodendrin, quercetin & kaempferol have been reported from various extract from roots & leaves of plant have shown anti-inflammatory activity. Borrelli & co-worker have shown spasmolytic effect of methanolic root extract of Punernava.
NEERI, available in the market as Syrup & Tablets, is clinically recommended since decades by physicians in poor bladder tonicity, urinary incontinence, Prostatis & enlarged prostate.
Additional Health Tips for Bladder Problem/ Incontinence urination:
1, Drink less fluids and limit alcoholic drinks or caffeine at night.
2. Try your best to shed a few of your body weight, if overweight.
3. Avoid constipation and develop better bowel habits.
4. Ease chronic coughing do what you can to cut down on coughing, even if that means cough drops, humidifiers or hot tea on a regular basis. Coughing adds stress to your pelvic floor, weakening your muscles and causing more bladder leaks.
5. Stop smoking. Smoking leads to coughing, which weakens the muscles that help you control your sensitive bladder.
6. Train your bladder. Try to hold the urge to empty your bladder. Focus on building up to every 3–4 hours during the day and every 4–8 hours at night. You may notice your urges go down after just a few weeks.
7. Do Kegel exercises. These pelvic floor muscle exercises are a form of muscle training that also helps.