Natural Remedies for Urinary Incontinence- ICS 2021 Workshop

Since 1971 the International Continence Society (ICS) has led multi-disciplinary continence research and education on a worldwide scale through the ICS Annual Meeting and the Neurourology and Urodynamics Journal. ICS is made up of of Urologists, Uro-gynaecologists, Physiotherapists, Nurses and Research Scientists with a focus on continence and pelvic floor disorders.

This mornings workshop was of particular interest to us as we know many of those in our community are experiencing perimenopausal and post menopausal symptoms like urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence. 

Speakers this morning were Associate Prof Kylie Mansfield form the School of Medicine in the University of Wollongon, Dr Betty Exintaris from the Drug Discovery Biology Monash University and Dr Iris Lim from Centre for Urology Research Bond University.

Prof Mansfield spoke about the prevalence of UTI's being 80% of women at some stage in their life with 53% over the age of 55years and 36% of younger women experiencing a recurrent infection within 1 year. Factors most likely to make women more susceptible to recurrent infections include

  • Kidney and bladder stones
  • Bacteria entering the urethra during intercourse
  • Anatomical or functional abnormalities of urinary tract
  • Changes in Estrogen levels during menopause
  • Genetic predisposition to developing bladder infections

Information is limited on how to prevent UTI's. The following natural remedies were discussed:

  1. Drinking water - maintaining the flow through the urinary tract.
  2. Cranberry and Mannose- preventing bacterial adhesion. Research shows that cranberry was not significantly different to antibiotics and D Mannose advertised as a non antibiotic treatment for UTI is available in powder and tablet form with 1-2g required every 3/4 hrs for acute cases. Perhaps quite a demanding routine! 
  3. Estrogen cream - in post menopausal women maintaining the normal microbiome. Vaginal estrogen has been known to strengthen the integrity of the lower urinary tract and it's antibacterial properties may prevent UTI's. 
Hormone inbalance estrogen depletion during menopause
Graph 1.Hormone levels: depletion rate during menopause

Dr B Exintaris dispalyed a graph (Graph 1. above) clearly showing the depletion in hormone levels during perimenopause and menopause, resulting in the integrity of the protective layers around the bladder being effected. Thus giving rise to bacteria been able to enter the bladder resulting in pain and frequent urination. Natural estrogen boosting foods consist of soy, soybeans and edamame, flaxseeds, cashews and walnuts, barley millet and oats, broccoli, cabbage and kale, apricots, strawberries and kiwis. 

Dr Iris Lim talked about 3 chinese herbal medicines Gosha - jinki - gan (contains 10 different herbs), Ba Wei Di Huang Wan (contains 8 herbal extracts) and Urox which showed promising results in a phase 2 randomised double blind placebo controlled trial. 

Discussion

It was clear from all presenters that there is a lack of research in this area and the need for more clinical trials is very important. Considering the prevalence of these issues and how debilitating these issues are we could not help feel disappointed. There is a huge mountain to climb when it comes to getting research out there and it takes a large amount of time and money. Women also play a role in this. The symptoms associated with these issues are embarrassing and as women we tend to keep these problems to ourselves. This has a knock on effect on the companies currently providing solutions. Perhaps there is a lack of motivation for the companies to innovate if the product they currently are producing is being consumed . Why would they want to disrupt themselves. We know there is a need for more research and more solutions in this area. Women deserve a bigger and better choice in this day and age to help them navigate the perimenopause and menopause stage of their lives. 

Please note we would always advise that you discuss your treatment plan with your medical practicioner before you try a new therapy. This blog was produced for information purposes only.

Please drop us a line at yvonne@evbsport.com if you found this to be helpful. Let us know what solutions you have found that help you navigate this period of your life.