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11 Herbs & Supplements for Bladder Health, Plus Tips for a Healthy Bladder

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As many as 30% of men and 40% of women in the United States have bladder concerns, but a healthy bladder is something that many people take for granted until they notice changes.1

Even after noticing these changes, talking about bladder health can feel a little awkward, but it shouldn’t go ignored. If you’re having an issue, bring it up with your doctor, and remember that it’s always better to be proactive and give your body the support it needs to stay healthy. Here are the best herbs and supplements for bladder health, as well as helpful tips for supporting your bladder.

Best Herbs & Supplements for Bladder Health

There’s a bounty of bladder herbs and supplements out there, so how do you determine which is best for you? Well, it depends on your specific needs. Below is a list of the most popular bladder herbs and supplements along with their unique benefits.

#1 Probiotics

Probiotics are types of bacteria that are beneficial for your body—especially your digestive system. Research suggests that probiotics may keep you healthy by balancing the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut, as well as replacing “good” bacteria as you lose it. Different types of bacteria are classified as probiotics. Lactobacillus is the most common, and you can find it in yogurt and other fermented foods. Bifidobacterium is another popular probiotic, which can be found in some dairy products. And Sccharomyces boulardii, a yeast found in some probiotics, may also help with digestive health.3,4

Researchers report that probiotics can be a promising resource in supporting urinary tract health. By supporting your body’s optimal flora balance with probiotics, you can experience beneficial health effects elsewhere.5 When picking out a probiotic product, it’s important to select one that provides a variety of strains targeting your needs. Read the label to ensure that it includes several types of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium so you can reap the biggest wellness benefits.

Probiotics Benefits & Uses

  • Help balance “good” bacteria
  • Support urinary health
  • Support digestive health
  • Promote immune health

Learn more about probiotics in Translating the Language of Probiotics.

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#2 Bearberry for Bladder Health

Bearberry is a low-growing evergreen that produces a small red berry that bears like to eat (hence its name). It has been used in traditional herbalism practices for centuries due to the health benefits stemming from the plant’s organic compounds. Bearberry fruit can be eaten or cooked with other foods, and the roots can be made into a tea that supports both bladder and urinary health.6,7 One specific species of bearberry known as uva ursi delivers phytonutrients that can support kidney and urinary tract health. Its leaves are full of beneficial glycosides, tannins, hydroquinones and glucose.

Bearberry Benefits & Uses

  • Promotes bladder health
  • Supports urinary health
  • Promotes kidney health
  • Supports immune health

#3 Bladder Health Benefits of Cranberry

Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, a type of polyphenol commonly found in plants. Research has shown that the antioxidant benefits of cranberries due to these compounds are promising. And most people can easily include cranberries in their everyday diet. However, if you don’t want to eat cranberries or drink cranberry juice, a supplement may be more convenient. Cranberry supplements are made from dried, powdered cranberries and offer a simple way to enjoy the health benefits of the fruit. Some supplements contain vitamin C or probiotics as well to enhance their effects.

The potent antioxidant content of cranberries can help fortify your body against free radicals. Research has shown that taking cranberry supplements daily for eight weeks can result in significantly reduced oxidative stress in the body.8, 9

Cranberry Benefits & Uses

  • Supports urinary health
  • Promotes bladder health
  • Supports kidney function
  • Packed with antioxidants

Read Benefits of Cranberries: Raw, Juice, Pills, Tea & Extract to learn more. 

#4 Vitamin D for Your Bladder

A lack of vitamin D doesn’t just impact your bone health—it can affect your bladder health as well. Research suggests that as women age, if they don’t get enough vitamin D, the control of their pelvic floor muscles can decrease as well, leading to accidental urination.10 Conversely, women who maintain healthy vitamin D levels also tend to maintain better control over their pelvic floor muscles.

Men may also not get enough vitamin D on a regular basis. A recent study that evaluated the relationship between male urinary issues and vitamin D levels found a clear correlation between the two. When the men in the study increased their vitamin D intake, they witness significant relief of their urinary health issues.

Vitamin D Benefits & Uses

  • Promotes urinary health in men & women
  • Supports bladder health

You might also want to check out Say Hello to the Sunshine Vitamin: Top Foods High in Vitamin D.

Supplement Your Sunshine—Shop high-potency vitamin D

#5 Saw Palmetto for Bladder Health

Saw palmetto is a type of palm native to the southeastern U.S. It produces berries that are commonly used in supplements to promote prostate health, support hormonal health and assist urinary function in men. One particular study found that men who took two saw palmetto capsules daily for 12 weeks witnessed an improvement in their urinary tract health. A similar study found that after six months of daily saw palmetto supplements, men increased their healthy urine flow and improved their urinary tract health and overall quality of life.12

Saw Palmetto Benefits & Uses

  • Enhances urinary function in men
  • Promotes prostate health in men
  • Natural source of fatty acids

#6 Horsetail for a Healthy Bladder

Horsetail is a grass named for its long, tail-like appearance. It’s a member of the fern family and grows in swamps, marshes and rivers. Horsetail is high in antioxidants, which are known to fortify the body’s defenses against free radicals and aging-related stress. As you age, bladder tissue can become less healthy and more fibrous—horsetail may help slow or reverse the process.13 Horsetail is used to make homeopathic remedies that support bladder, urinary tract and kidney health. It contains natural chemicals that act similarly to diuretics, helping increase urine flow.14

 Horsetail Benefits & Uses

  • Supports bladder and urinary health
  • Acts similarly to diuretics
  • May support kidney health

#7 St. John’s Wort & Bladder Health

St. John’s Wort has been used for centuries by herbalists for balms for skin health and teas and tablets for a variety of health conditions.15 St. John’s Wort may also help relieve the feeling of having to urinate frequently, something millions of people in the U.S. experience. If supporting bladder health is a focus for you, consider supplementing with St. John’s Wort to help support your bladder and urinary health. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplement because certain medications may cause possible adverse interactions.16

St. John’s Wort Benefits & Uses

  • Supports bladder health
  • Promotes urinary health

#8 Stinging Nettle for Bladder Health

Stinging nettle grows naturally in the U.S., Canada and Europe and contains acetylcholine and serotonin. In the brain, acetylcholine acts as a neurotransmitter, a chemical used for communication between neurons, and a neuromodulator, a chemical messenger that affects the neurotransmission of a diverse group of neurons. Serotonin is known as a “happy chemical” because it contributes to your overall feelings of happiness and wellbeing.17,18,19,20 

Ancient civilizations used stinging nettle to treat various health issues. Today, the roots of stinging nettle are popular for supporting prostate health. Nettle is also used to promote urinary tract health and as a diuretic to increase the flow of urine.21,22

Stinging Nettle Benefits & Uses

  • Supports urinary tract health
  • Promotes healthy urination
  • Supports prostate health

#9 D-Mannose for Bladder Health

D-Mannose is a naturally-occurring sugar found in many fruits. It also exists in certain cells in the body and is related to glucose. D-Mannose nourishes the healthy flora that inhabit the membranes of the urinary tract and keep you in balance. D-Mannose may help support a healthy urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, bladder and urethra.23,24 A 2014 study found that D-Mannose may be effective for supporting urinary tract health. 24

D-Mannose Benefits & Uses

  • Promotes urinary tract health
  • Maintains bladder health
  • Nourishes healthy flora in the urinary tract

#10 Go-Less Bladder Control Formula

If your bladder controls your schedule, consider trying a wellness supplement like Swanson Go-Less Bladder Control Formula. It’s designed to assist mature adults in maintaining optimal urinary tract health. The phytoestrogen activity of Go-Less®, a powerful soy germ extract, supports healthy bladder function. The supplement also features synergistic fatty acids and sterols from pumpkin seeds, which have been used for more than 400 years to promote urinary tract health. Go-Less Bladder Control is suitable for both men and women.

Go-Less Bladder Control Formula Benefits & Uses

  • Formulated to support healthy bladder function
  • Promotes urinary tract health
  • Features soy extract plus pumpkin seed extract

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#11 Urinary Tract Essentials

Swanson Condition Specific Formulas Urinary Tract Essentials is an all-in-one formula that nourishes and defends your urinary system. It focuses on multiple elements of the urinary tract, delivering a combination of complex nutrients that work together for complete care. Bromelain is a recognized kidney supporter, and cranberry, D-mannose and Kyo-dophilus probiotics provide nourishment and defense for the bladder. Combined in synergistic potencies alongside vitamin C, these ingredients offer top-to-bottom urinary tract care.

Urinary Tract Essentials Benefits & Uses

  • Supports bladder and kidney health
  • Nourishes and defends the urinary system
  • Combination formula for comprehensive care

Tips for a Healthy Bladder

#1 Drink Enough Water: Water is the best fluid for maintaining bladder health. At least half of your daily fluid intake should be water. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends that healthy men should drink approximately 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids per day, and healthy women should consume approximately 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids per day. If you have specific health issues, you may need to drink more or less. Your doctor can recommend the proper daily water intake for you.25,26

#2 Limit Alcohol and Caffeine: Reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeine sources like coffee, tea and most sodas because they have diuretic effects and are dehydrating. Limit the amount of chocolate you eat as well because it contains caffeine.26

#3 Quit Smoking: If you smoke, you are more likely to have bladder health problems. Heavy smokers tend to expel air from their lungs sharply, which may add pressure on the bladder and lead to the loss of bladder control. Talk to your doctor about how you can quit smoking today.27

#4 Stay Regular: Straining during a bowel movement may damage your pelvic floor. Exercising, drinking water and eating bladder-cleansing, high-fiber foods like beans, lentils, vegetables, fruits and whole grains can help ease bowel movements.26, 27

#5 Lose Weight: More than two out of three adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Extra weight around your midsection puts extra pressure on your bladder, so losing a few pounds can improve your overall bladder health.27

#6 Exercise Regularly: Studies have shown that regular physical activity may support bladder health. Try adding 30 minutes of low-impact exercises—walking briskly, biking or swimming—into your day a few times per week.27

#7 Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor: Daily Kegel or pelvic floor exercises can strengthen your bladder muscles, which can help prevent accidental urination. Perform these exercises by squeezing your pelvic floor muscles for three seconds, relaxing for three seconds and repeating several times.26

#8 Go When You Need to Go: Urinate at least once every three to four hours. Holding urine in for too long can weaken your bladder muscles and promote bladder health issues. If urine stays in the bladder for too long, it may lead to bladder health issues.26

#9 Relax While Urinating: Relaxed bladder muscles make it easier to empty your bladder. Attempting to hover over a toilet seat may strain bladder muscles, so it’s best to sit down completely. If you’re using a public restroom, see if it has toilet seat covers.26

#10 Women, Wipe This Way: After going to the bathroom, women should wipe from front to back to help prevent bacteria from your gastrointestinal tract from entering your urethra and causing urinary tract issues.26, 27

#11 Urinate After Intimacy: Men and women should urinate after sex to clear the body of any bacteria that may have entered the urethra. This habit can reduce the chance of urinary health issues.26, 27

#12 Wear Cotton Underwear and Loose-Fitting Clothing: Keep the area around the urethra dry by wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing. Nylon underwear and tight pants can trap moisture and create a less-than-optimal environment for urinary health.26

#13 Men, Keep Your Prostate Healthy: Men over the age of 50 may have prostate health concerns, which can cause urinary problems if the bladder can’t empty properly due to prostate changes.27

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy reading The Best Vitality-Boosting Herbs for Women and Ways to Support Passion and Sexual Health. Also, subscribe to our Swanson Health Emails to get expert advice and our best promotions delivered straight to your inbox.

Lindsey Bristol, Swanson Health Products

 

 



 

About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health Products

Lindsey is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for pie. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food.

Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health.

Sources

1 What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)? Urology Care Foundation. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/overactive-bladder-(oab)

2 What Your Bladder is Trying to Tell You About Your Health. ClevelandClinic.org. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-your-bladder-is-trying-to-tell-you-about-your-health

3 What Are Probiotics? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-are-probiotics#1

4 Should you take probiotics? April 2015. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics

5 Borchert, D, et. al. Indian Journal of Urology. 2008 Apr-Jun. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684288/

6 Bearberry. BluePlanetBiomes.org. https://blueplanetbiomes.org/bear_berry.php

7 Impressive Benefits Of Bearberry. OrganicFacts.net. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/bearberry.html

8 Get the Facts: The Health Benefits of Cranberry Juice. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/cranberry-juice-benefits#1

9 What are the health benefits of cranberry juice? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322731.php

10 Low Vitamin D Levels Tied to Incontinence. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/news/20100322/low-vitamin-d-linked-incontinence

11 Namery, R, et. al. Overactive Bladder? Study shows vitamin D helps. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/overactive-bladder-study-shows-vitamin-d-helps/#.XRIo4-tKjIU

12 5 Promising Benefits and Uses of Saw Palmetto. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saw-palmetto-benefits#The-bottom-line

13 Herbal Remedies for Overactive Bladder. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/features/herbal-remedies-overactive-bladder#1

14 Horestail. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-843/horsetail

15 St. John's Wort. medicinenet.com. https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=63582

16 Natural Supplements for an Overactive Bladder. Livestrong. https://www.livestrong.com/article/258450-natural-supplements-for-an-overactive-bladder/

17 What are the benefits and uses of stinging nettle? Healthline. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325244.php

18 What is serotonin and what does it do? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/serotonin-facts-232248

19 Acetylcholine. Neuroscience. 2nd edition. National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11143/

20 Neurotransmitters VS Neuromodulators. The Revisionist. https://therevisionist.org/bio-hacking/neurotransmitters-vs-neuromodulators/#What_is_a_Neuromodulator

21 What are the benefits and uses of stinging nettle? Healthline. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325244.php

22 Nettle. WholeHealth Chicago®. https://wholehealthchicago.com/2009/05/19/nettle/

23 D-Mannose. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/d-mannose-uses-and-risks

24 Can D-mannose treat a UTI? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323938.php

25 10 Tips for Promoting a Healthy Bladder. U.S. News & World Report. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/slideshows/10-tips-for-promoting-a-healthy-bladder

26 13 Tips to Keep Your Bladder Healthy. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/13-tips-keep-your-bladder-healthy

27 Bladder control: Lifestyle strategies ease problems. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/in-depth/bladder-control-problem/art-20046597

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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