Even though the urinary bladder, a muscular sac located in the pelvis, doesn’t actually do a lot in its primary role as a reservoir for urine, it has a way of grabbing our attention when it needs to be emptied or has been invaded by inflammation or an infection. It’s called pain, or at the very least discomfort.
The kidneys produce the urine, a waste product, which then is transported via a pair of tubes to the bladder. That’s where the urine is stored, with the bladder expanding to accommodate the incoming urine, per webmd.com. This storage function is aided by the presence of layers of muscle tissue that line the bladder, allowing it to expand as urine begins to fill the “tank.”
Although the bladder doesn’t really have anything in the way of working parts, it is susceptible to several medical conditions that can range from annoying to worthy of a doctor’s immediate attention. Most of these bladder issues will cause some level of pain that will trip the inner alarm, telling us something needs attention, usually of some level of urgency, like a quick trip to the bathroom.
Unwanted Bladder Conditions
Following are some of the various conditions, per webmd.com, that can afflict the bladder, beyond just the bladder being full and now it’s time to go empty it:
- Cystitis. Painful inflammation or infection that can cause pain or urinary frequency or delay.
- Urinary stones. These can form in the kidney and move down to the bladder. Can be very painful if the stones block urine flow to or from the bladder.
- Urinary incontinence. This is involuntary urination, which can be caused by several factors.
- Overactive bladder. The bladder muscle, known as the detrusor, contracts involuntarily, resulting in urine leakage.
- Urinary retention. When urine is unable to be expelled from the bladder as it normally does because of some sort of blockage or limited bladder muscle activity.
- Cystocele. A condition for women in which the bladder presses against the vagina, leading to urination problems.
- Bedwetting. This fairly common occurrence among toddlers becomes more of a concern when it involves a child five or older who wets the bed at least once or twice a week for three months or more.
- Dysuria. Simply, painful urination.
Vitamins and Supplements to Support Bladder Health
The one condition receiving a lot of media attention is overactive bladder, which should not come as a shock. That’s because the Urology Care Foundation, per medicalnewstoday.com, estimates that at least 33 million Americans have an overactive bladder involving the bladder muscle and accompanied by leakage.
Among the possible causes: Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or kidney disease, as well as medications, surgery, or childbirth – or even unknown causes.
Here are 10 (among more) vitamins and supplements known to be effective when it comes to supporting bladder health, with many of these aimed at overactive bladder (OAB), especially:
- Capsaicin - Extracted from chili peppers (the fleshy parts), it is often used to treat pelvic pain syndrome, one of the symptoms of OAB.
- Collinsonia root - Also goes by several other names, such as horseweed, ox-balm, and stone root. Has been used for treatment in many areas, to include kidney and urinary health.
- Corn silk - This waste substance from the cultivation of corn has been used in many countries as a treatment for bedwetting and bladder irritation, among other afflictions.
- Vitamin D - A 2010 study, per medicalnewstoday.com, reported that increased vitamin D levels were linked to a lower incidence of pelvic floor disorders, such as leaking bladders, in women.
- Ganoderma lucidum (GL) - Found in Reishi mushrooms, One study has shown it useful in reducing lower urinary tract issues in males.
- Gosha-jinki-gan - A mix of 10 traditional Chinese herbs that can help with bladder contraction, per medicalnewstoday.com.
- Horsetail - An herbal remedy, per livestrong.com, with tissue-healing capacity and known to relieve urinary tract infections.
- Pumpkin seeds - They contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and have been shown by at least one study to enhance urinary function and diminish OAB symptoms, per healthline.com.
- Saw Palmetto - Used in the care of several bladder disorders, to include urinary incontinence resulting form prostate problems, per livestrong.com.
- St. John’s wort - Found to alleviate OAB symptoms.