For women dealing with a condition known as urge incontinence, or “overactive bladder,” help may be as close as your health food store shelf. A recent study shows that magnesium, a relatively inexpensive mineral supplement, may significantly benefit the condition. In urge incontinence, a person feels a sudden need to urinate, followed by a strong bladder contraction. This often leads to an involuntary leakage of urine. The condition occurs most commonly in women and in the elderly, affecting as many as one of every 50 adult women.
In the study, 60 women with urge incontinence were randomly assigned to receive a magnesium supplement providing about 150 mg of elemental magnesium or a placebo twice a day for one month. The researchers found that 12 of the 30 women (40%) getting magnesium reported improvement in urinary incontinence after one month, compared with only five of 30 (17%) in the placebo group. The magnesium group also experienced significantly fewer episodes of urge incontinence, urinated less frequently, and wakened fewer times at night to urinate, compared to those taking the placebo.
The researches note that magnesium is known to ease muscle spasms in the body, and therefore might have a direct effect on the overactive bladder muscles. Good dietary sources of magnesium include nuts, whole grains, wheat germ, fish and green leafy vegetables.
Family Practice News, Feb 1, 2003