Urinary Stress/Urge

Urinary Stress/Urge Incontinence: Overview

Over 13 million American men and women of all ages suffer from incontinence, causing them to leak urine.  Urinary incontinence is not a disease, but instead a sign that a problem exists in the urinary tract; it is the result of a variety of anatomic, physiologic, and/or pathologic factors.  It is considered an important condition to treat, because it can lead to social isolation, low self-esteem, depression and dependence.

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There are three major types of incontinence:

  • Stress – leakage only with increased pressure as in coughing or jumping
  • Urge – leakage due to an overpowering sensation of impending urination
  • Overflow – people with overflow incontinence do not feel the urge to urinate.  The bladder never empties normally and remains at least partially full; small amounts of urine are leaked on a nearly continuous basis.  Weak bladder muscles – caused by nerve damage from diabetes or other diseases – or a blocked urethra can be responsible.

Causes and Development

Overactive bladder is a common cause of incontinence, yielding uncontrolled contractions of the detrusor muscle during bladder filling.  These contractions may cause urge urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency.

From a holistic standpoint, most bladder control problems that are not the direct result of neurological damage, poor muscle tone or hormone deficiencies are usually the result of irritability within the bladder or urethral tissues caused by chronic inflammation and/or food allergies.

Signs and Symptoms

The term "overactive bladder" describes a wide range of symptoms that include urge urinary incontinence, urgency, and frequency.  Urge urinary incontinence is one of the most disturbing symptoms of overactive bladder and is characterized by a strong desire to void that is associated with an involuntary loss of urine.

Treatment and Prevention

Homeopathic treatment possibilities:

  • Causticum for stress incontinence associated with frequent urging and difficulty urinating.
  • Natrum muriaticum for stress incontinence associated with the menopausal symptoms of vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and a history of emotional grief.
  • Pareira for difficulty urinating due to prostate enlargement.
  • Sepia for stress incontinence with sudden urging, especially associated with vaginitis or prolapsed uterus.
  • Zincum metallicum for difficulty urinating while standing up (must sit to initiate flow), associated with prostate problems.

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Urinary Stress/Urge Incontinence:

Symptoms - Urinary

Risk factors for Urinary Stress/Urge Incontinence:

Medical Procedures

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Urinary Stress/Urge Incontinence suggests the following may be present:


Estrogens Low

The cause of urinary stress incontinence in women is usually pelvic relaxation resulting from childbirth and the aging process.  These changes become more pronounced following menopause as estrogen deficiency allows atrophy of the genitourinary tissues.


EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement

Flax seed oil at 1 Tablespoon per day is sometimes recommended because it can reduce inflammation contributing to an overactive bladder.

Recommendations for Urinary Stress/Urge Incontinence:

Botanical / Herbal


Cleavers may provide some benefit as a traditional urinary tonic for an overactive bladder along with other herbal candidates such as marshmallow root, buchu, corn silk, horsetail or usnea lichen.


Elimination Diet

An elimination diet can deal with both food allergens and food irritants which may be causing the irritable bladder.

Digestive Aids


Bromelain at 400mg three times per day, separate from meals, may have an anti-inflammatory action in patients with an overactive bladder.

Laboratory Testing

Test for Food Allergies

Naturopathic physicians and holistic medical doctors report countless success stories of treating this uncomfortable condition with changes in the diet that eliminate sensitive and/or inflammatory foods.


Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin C at 500mg, 2-3 times daily with meals may provide some anti-inflammatory support.

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