Sometimes a medication isn’t as effective as hoped or its side effects overshadow the relief it provides.
Neenah, WI (PRWEB) February 26, 2014
The Oxytrol for Women patch has been available without a prescription since last fall as a possible solution to overactive bladder. According to a Feb. 17 article in The Washington Post, experts at Consumer Reports’ Best Buy Drugs say “women should think twice before rushing out to buy it.” Dianna Malkowski of The CareGiver Partnership says there are several drug-free alternatives to try first.
“There are many cases where prescription medications may not be the best or only solution. Sometimes a medication isn’t as effective as hoped or its side effects overshadow the relief it provides,” says Malkowski, physician assistant, nutritionist and professional adviser for The CareGiver Partnership, a national retailer of incontinence products and other home health care supplies.
Possible side effects of patches and pills to treat overactive bladder can include dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, mental confusion, skin rash at patch application site and constipation, according to The Washington Post article. “Constipation can also contribute to incontinence when compacted stool causes nearby bladder nerves to become overactive,” says Malkowski.
She encourages anyone with overactive bladder to first try these nutrition and fitness tips:
Monitoring fluid intake: Common sense says drinking too much fluid can overwork a bladder, but dehydration from drinking too little can cause urine to become concentrated with bladder-irritating salts. It can be helpful to keep a daily journal of fluid intake and bathroom visits to determine patterns. Keeping a record also assists health care providers in monitoring a patient’s condition if needed.
Avoiding bladder irritants: For those with bladder control problems, it may be helpful to limit alcohol and caffeine. Both are bladder stimulants and diuretics, which can cause a sudden need to urinate. Even teas and carbonated beverages may contribute to bladder problems. Other known irritants are sugar and artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, spicy foods, and acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus.
Increasing fiber: Eating a high-fiber diet can help prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber helps move stool and is found in vegetables, wheat bran and other whole grains, nuts, beans and berries. Soluble fiber helps soothe the digestive tract and is therefore often recommended for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Soluble fiber is found in fruits such as apples and oranges, pasta, white bread and potatoes.
Practicing Kegel exercises: Keeping pelvic muscles strong is important at any age. A doctor may recommend Kegel exercises, which are done by tightening and strengthening the pelvic muscles. This non-surgical way to improve bladder control can be practiced discreetly for just 5 minutes at a time. Here’s how to do Kegels.
“The symptoms of overactive bladder, such as feeling the need to use the bathroom eight or more times a day, can be caused by other conditions and medications, too,” Malkowski adds. “See your health care provider to rule out other possible conditions, such as a urinary tract infection, and tell her about any medications you’re taking.”
Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisers for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike.