Monday, February 14, 2011

Natural Treatment Strategies for Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder is a broad term used to describe a variety of symptoms that include an urgency to urinate, with or without incontinence; high frequency of urinating; and symptoms at night. However, it is important to see a physician to be diagnosed with overactive bladder as these symptoms may be caused by infections or other disease processes.

Once a physician diagnoses overactive bladder, the cause still needs to be determined. The most distinguishing factor is whether the symptoms are caused by the nervous system, or the wiring of your body that helps you control your muscles (including those in the bladder that help you urinate).

Natural strategies to help with these symptoms are individualized to address the root cause of overactive bladder. Physicians such as naturopathic doctors work alongside urologists and neurologists to provide the most appropriate care. They may incorporate herbal medicine, mind-body techniques such as biofeedback, and appropriate lifestyle and diet changes to manage your symptoms. Obesity is a significant contributing factor in overactive bladder, and your physician will work with you on weight loss if it is a health concern.

Treatment of overactive bladder requires a team approach to properly diagnose, treat and support patients afflicted by these symptoms. If you feel you have symptoms consistent with overactive bladder, don't hesitate to see your physician to receive expert help with this common problem.

Brendan Smith, ND, naturopathic physician and resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, the teaching clinic of Bastyr University. Call (206) 834-4100 to schedule an appointment.

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