Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are a fashionable and tasty food choice, with pumpkin spiced lattes being increasingly popular. But did you know that pumpkin seeds are also heralded as a reliever of the symptoms of an overactive bladder (OAB)? Read on to find out more and discover some of our other favourite dietary remedies for urinary incontinence.
Are pumpkin seeds beneficial for your bladder?
Pumpkin seed extract is a popular natural treatment for OAB1. A recent study has suggested that pumpkin seed oil is effective in treating and preventing the symptoms of overactive bladders and other urinary disorders, such as waking up to wee in the night (also called nocturia).2
Pumpkin seed oil may also be effective at decreasing prostate size3, which may also improve urinary tract symptoms. Furthermore, water-soluble pumpkin extract has a tissue-building effect on the pelvic floor muscles through several mechanisms. It can help to increase testosterone production, which is often deficient in those with an overactive bladder.4
However, it is worth noting that the flesh and skin of the pumpkin itself contains a harmful substance (called β-cryptoxanthin, a pigment found in orange and yellow coloured plants), which has been found to worsen voiding symptoms (such as improper emptying of the bladder and leaks).6 Therefore, it might be worth avoiding pumpkin flesh and skin and only eating the seeds.
If you experience leaks from an overactive bladder, iD has a range of continence products suitable for all ages and genders. Comfortable, discreet and approved by dermatologists.
How to add pumpkin seeds into your diet
Pumpkin seeds are wonderfully versatile and can be used in a range of dishes, both sweet and savoury. Some of our favourite ways to incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet are:
- adding them to a salad – they add a delicious natural crunch for some extra flavour and texture
- popping them in a smoothie – you won’t even notice they’re there once they’re all ground up and you can use raw seeds
- make bread – add them inside the dough or top your bread with them
- try them in pesto – they make a great replacement for pine nuts
- add to muesli – top your favourite breakfast cereal with them. Other breakfast ideas include sprinkling them on top of yoghurt or adding them to pancake batter.
- top soup with them – roasted pumpkin seeds add a splash of colour and crunch to soup
- add to cookies for a bit of extra nuttiness
- try pumpkin seed butter – a wonderful alternative to almond butter and works great on toast
As you can see, there is some evidence that pumpkin seeds are beneficial for those with an overactive bladder. Plus, they’re really delicious and compliment a wide range of dishes, so they’ll be easy to add into your diet!
1 “Alternative Treatments for an Overactive Bladder”, Healthline Editorial Team, 2 October 2017, Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/overactive-bladder-alternative-treatments
2 “Pumpkin Seed Oil Extracted From Cucurbita maxima Improves Urinary Disorder in Human Overactive Bladder”, Mie Nishimura, Tatsuya Ohkawara, Hiroji Sato, Hiroshi Takeda and Jun Nishihira, Jan-March 2014, Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4032845/
4 “Treating An Overactive Bladder”, Shabir Daya, n.d., Source: https://editorial.victoriahealth.com/treating-an-overactive-bladder
5 “A Breakthrough in the Relief of Overactive Bladder and Urinary Incontinence”, William Faloon, November 2018, Source: https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2008/11/pumpkin-seed-relieves-overactive-bladder-urinary-incontinence
6 “Absorption, metabolism and functions of β-cryptoxanthin”, Betty J. Burri, Michael R. La Frano and Chenghao Zhu, 11 January 2016, Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892306/