An inability to control the bladder at any age beyond infancy is a cause for shame and discomfort. Young children who wet themselves in public can be an embarrassment to their parents. Older children who wet the bed after falling asleep may miss out on the fun of sleep-overs with friends. Adults who lose a little urine when they cough, sneeze, or laugh may feel forced to wear protection. In addition, the urgency to void the bladder or the frequency required may interrupt an adult’s work or conversation in an awkward way.
Many children who become incontinent after successful toilet training suffer from an emotional stress they can’t express, or feel powerless to do so. Disruptions in the child’s life, such as moving or the separation of parents, can affect the child more than he or she is aware. If parents themselves are upset about an event, children will also be concerned.
Children who have never been dry at night may be genetically predisposed to nocturnal enuresis if their parents have experienced bedwetting. Other factors include constipation, excess fluid intake, heart condition, neurological disorders, food allergies, urinary tract infection or urethral obstruction.
An acquired condition such as diabetes, epilepsy or sleep apnea can also lead to bladder control difficulties.
In adults, temporary urinary incontinence can result from:
• Alcohol is a diuretic which increases the amount of urine your body produces. Under the influence of alcohol, you may not realize that your bladder is overfull.
• Caffeine is a diuretic which may also decrease the bladder’s ability to hold urine.
• Bladder irritation – carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and artificial sweeteners, as well as decaffeinated tea and coffee, can all aggravate the bladder.
• Drugs – sedatives, blood pressure, heart medication or cold medicines can all increase urgency and frequency.
• Over-hydration – too much fluid in your system can overload your bladder.
• Dehydration – not enough liquid in your body can result in concentrated urine, which aggravates the bladder.
• Constipation – a hard, impacted stool can put pressure on the bladder.
• Bladder infection – cystitis often increases the desire to urinate and affects the bladder’s ability to hold urine.
With a little reflection, it’s usually possible to identify the cause of your bladder’s irritation and take steps to avoid it. In the case of irritation from drugs, you should speak to your doctor about the problem. You should also consider homeopathic treatment for the underlying cause. Homeopathy can help alleviate many conditions. Depression, insomnia, constipation, cystitis and colds can all be successfully treated with homeopathic remedies.
Changes in the body can result in more persistent frequency and urgency.
• Pregnancy and childbirth – can result in displacement of the bladder and consequent urgency and frequency.
• Excess weight – can put additional pressure on the bladder.
• High blood pressure or blood vessel disease – can result in an overactive bladder.
• Aging – In post-menopausal women, reduced levels of the hormone estrogen can affect bladder control. In older men, an enlarged prostate gland can restrict the urethra, which leads to urgency and sometimes incontinence.
• Interstitial cystitis – an inflammation of the bladder wall, which leads to painful and frequent urination.
Standard treatment for these more complicated conditions can include pelvic floor exercises (Kegels), bladder training, and the management of food and drink. In addition, a person may be offered anti-spasmodic drugs, anti-depressants, antibiotics or surgery.
TYPES OF INCONTINENCE
• Urge incontinence – Most people can hold their urine after sensing the need to urinate. With urge incontinence, the urine leaks out almost as soon as the need is felt.
• Stress incontinence – This is the uncontrollable loss of urine when there is pressure on the abdomen. The pressure may be caused by sneezing, coughing or moving a heavy object.
• Overflow incontinence – This can happen when the bladder is overfull and the urinary sphincter cannot hold back the urine. Sometimes the person does not have the sensation of a full bladder.
• Total incontinence – This may occur when the bladder has been damaged by accident or surgery.
• Psychological incontinence – Emotional disturbances can lead to incontinence.
• Mixed incontinence – Any combination of the above causes
THE HOMEOPATHIC APPROACH
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that treats the whole person rather than isolated symptoms (although these are important). A person’s mental, emotional, and spiritual states are just as important as his or her specific physical symptoms. In addition, the person’s responses to temperature, weather, air and food, as well as his or her habits, attitudes and beliefs are all considered in prescribing a remedy. Homeopathy can successfully treat bladder control issues, much to the relief of many people who have suffered from this embarrassing condition.
1) By her early 50s, Valerie had suffered from high blood pressure for 15 years and was on medication. More recently, she had developed the need to urinate frequently and urgently, which was usually painful. Even worse was the need to pee frequently after she had gone to bed for the night. As well, she suffered from recurring bouts of interstitial cystitis. Valerie was a large, confident woman who loved to eat and drink. She was especially fond of wine with her dinner.
I prescribed Sulphur 30c for her. After the first dose she felt great for two days. Unfortunately, she drank alcohol with her dinner the next day and antidoted the remedy. After another dose she began to feel better during the day, but still suffered at night. I then gave her Sulphur LM1, which has a slightly deeper effect than 30c. She began to feel much better. She reduced her dosage of an antidepressant she was also taking to alleviate her night time symptoms. Because Valerie’s health was compromised by a bad candida infection which came to light when I had her tested for food sensitivities, she continued to take the Sulphur while working on clearing the candida. When her body became desensitized to Sulphur LM1, I gave her Sulphur LM2 and didn’t see her for six months. A year after I first saw her, she had eliminated all of the medication she used to take for bladder problems. All of her pain had gone and she had lost 50 pounds.
2) Alice, 61, came to me because she was experiencing frequent urinary urgency and was worried she might not make it to the toilet. Alice is a person who is very concerned about the injustices in the world. As well, she makes many personal sacrifices for the good of her family.
The homeopathic remedy Causticum fit her profile very well. She has taken various potencies that have helped. Most recently Causticum LM3 cleared up the problem. She began taking it every day – then she found that sometimes just thinking about the remedy was enough to slow down the urgency. Eventually, she needed the remedy less and less, and finally didn’t need it at all.
3) Malia was a charming, friendly three-and-a-half-year-old who began wetting herself at daycare and at home while she was playing. It seemed at times as though she was really unconscious of the need to pee until it just came out. Her mother, understandably, was becoming increasingly frustrated with her. There had been some recent disruptions in Malia’s life. The family had just moved into a new apartment and the little girl was no longer seeing her favourite aunt as much as she used to. Her mother told me that she used to cry whenever her aunt had to leave. Earlier in her childhood, this little girl had responded very well to Pulsatilla for teething problems. As a solution to the new urinary problem, some regularly scheduled visits by her aunt and Pulsatilla 200c worked very well.