Ask the Nurse

What is your take on water soluble pumpkin seed extract for over active bladder symptoms? I’ve been reading about it and it appears that studies show there can be much improvement. I also have a few more questions: How many mg should one take per day for best results? A nutritionist recommended 2x the mg on the bottle dosage, approximately 1200 mg per day.How long does it take before one sees improvement? And if one does not see a marked improvement after say a month, is it best to abandon the supplement or go for say 6 months?Is it better to take soy isoflavones with the extract?

After I searched the literature for reliable studies on pumpkin seed extract, I came across the Nishimura study that was published in 2014. An extract of pumpkin seed oil specifically from C. maxima (10 g of oil/day) was orally administrated for 12 weeks. After 6 and 12 weeks, it has been shown that Pumpkin seed oil significantly reduced the degree of overactive bladder symptoms of the study participants.

The extracts available over the counter appear to be costly when there are other lifestyle modifications that you could start initially, including avoidance of bladder irritants. The standard management for urinary incontinence overall is pelvic floor physical therapy since the majority of women cannot isolate their pelvic floor muscles on their own- which is helpful in stress urinary incontinence.

Different pelvic stimulating devices can offer pelvic floor physical therapy on your own time and in the comfort of your own home. By doing this approach, we’re tackling the underlying issue of over-activity and involuntary squeezing/contraction of the smooth muscles of the bladder wall. If you’re interested in these devices, you could be seen at our Center on a Friday morning for fitting.

Unfortunately, there has been no good studies on soy isoflavones and its association with urinary incontinence - varying amounts were studied with no consensus.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women’s Health Nurse

March 16, 2018 at 2:31pm