September 1, 2013
By Christine Cheng (R.Ph, C.N.P.A.), Fred Cheng (R.Ph, C.N.P.A.)
Don’t you find it annoying to be woken up from a wonderful dream by the urge to…pee? Having a poor night’s sleep can literally ruin your day, not to mention sleep deprivation could have severe consequences, be it stress, irritability, cognitive impairment, memory lapses, compromised immunity, or a strain on personal relationships. NOCTURIA refers to the need to wake up and void at least once a night. This affects many of us, no matter our sex or race, but as we age, we become more prone to this bothersome trend. POLYURIA (frequent urination) and nocturia can be related to various medical conditions which must be investigated by your physician (eg. overactive bladder, benign prostate enlargement, renal failure, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, peripheral edema, liver diseases, sleep disorders, etc.). As part of our series on sleep, we will look at a few supplements that could help you combat nocturia.
Polyuria can be due to an irritation or inflammation of the urinary tract. In such cases, a good concentrated cranberry extract (such as NEW ROOTS “CRANBERRY”), or one with D-mannose built-in (such as AOR “UTI CLEANSE” or QUEST “D-MANNOSE WITH CRANBERRY”) may be beneficial in restoring urinary tract health. A supplement called “URISTATIN” by THORNE contains buchu extract, echinacea, berberine, uva-ursi, and has been shown to work well together to help soothe an irritated urinary tract as well as promote growth of the good microorganisms. Keep in mind, though, that if inflammation is not the trigger of polyuria, then some of the ingredients (eg. uva-ursi) in some supplements could actually worsen your symptoms.
A truly promising herb used to combat nocturia is the Icelandic herb, ANGELICA ARCHANGELICA, sold in BC as “SAGAPRO” by SAGAMEDICA. It works by calming bladder muscle contractions. Studies show that this allows the bladder to distend further and hold up to three times the volume between voids, with an accompanied three-fold increase in initial sleep duration. SagaPro has been on the market in Iceland since 2005 and can be found locally at CLOVERDALE PHARMASAVE. It is easy to take (once daily) and has been well-tolerated in both men and women. There is also no effect on libido or testosterone. Benefits are typically realized in a month or less.
A few homeopathic remedies have been used quite successfully to address polyurea and incontinence in both humans and pets. “INCONTINENCE COMPLEX” is taken orally, typically 2-3 times daily, and is very safe and well-tolerated. Results can be expected in a matter of days.
When you gotta go, you gotta go! And when it occurs frequently throughout the night, it is impossible to get a restful sleep, and the negative health effects can be quite serious and lasting. Do yourself (and your partner) a favour and consider minimizing nocturia with a herbal supplement such as SagaPro or a homeopathic remedy such as Incontinence Complex.
(Christine and Fred Cheng are a sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique family-owned and operated Pharmasave in Cloverdale, BC. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Everything mentioned in their articles, and much more, can be found at their Cloverdale Pharmasave. They would love to hear from you! 604-576-2888; www.cloverdalepharmasave.com. Of course, before you begin any activity program or try any OTC supplementation, check with your physician and pharmacist.)