It is estimated that one in six adults over age 40 are affected by an overactive bladder, though it is hard to get accurate numbers as this is a highly personal and embarrassing condition.
Approximately 12 million Americans suffer from urinary incontinence every year.
For women, many suffer from stress incontinence. The toll of having babies can weaken pelvic muscles resulting in leakage with coughs, laughs, or even in some cases when the person stands up too quickly. Men often suffer from incontinence due to an enlarged prostate gland.
There are a number of products, medications, and treatment options available to help treat incontinence as well as manage the symptoms, but what about pumpkin seeds? Could pumpkin seeds be the answer to bladder control?
Pumpkin seeds have a long history of helping treat urinary problems. In fact, in 1578, a European herbal encyclopedia mentioned the use of pumpkin seeds to help with urinary problems. The Native Americans also used this method. It has been a home remedy for years. However, recently, Japanese researchers did a study using water-soluble pumpkin seed extract, and claim that this natural remedy decreases urinary incontinence by 795, daytime incontinence by 39 %, and nighttime urination by 68%.
Those are some pretty big numbers, so what is it about pumpkin seeds that offer this relief?
The study shows that the seeds contain fat and water soluble portions. And the water soluble portion is what helps with incontinence. Here’s how:
- The water soluble portion can inhibit the armoatase enzyme, and increase tissue building effect on the pelvic floor muscles.
- The water soluble part is believed to make more testosterone available, which can strengthen and build urinary tract muscles.
- The water-soluble part binds to the androgen receptor on pelvic muscles cells, strengthening the female bladder, and reducing the amount of urine left after voiding.
In addition to that, pumpkin seeds can increase the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide has a relaxing effect on arteries and muscles, which can aid urinary control. Too little nitric oxide will result in a hyperactive bladder and more frequent urination.
Most men who suffer from incontinence find that it is prostate related. Pumpkin seed extract can decrease the side of the prostate gland, and improve urinary flow as a result.
In other words, pumpkin seeds do not just help with one type of incontinence. They can improve symptoms of stress incontinence by helping improve pelvic floor muscles, and improve stress incontinence by reducing urges and frequency.
Next time you carve a pumpkin, don’t throw away the seeds. They could help with your urinary troubles.