Q. I hate having to get up three or four times a night to urinate. Around 3 or 4 in the morning I have trouble getting back to sleep.
I have discovered that when I take ibuprofen for post-exercise soreness I am much less likely to be awakened by my bladder. I don’t want to take this on a regular basis, though, because I worry about intestinal irritation.
I’ve heard that there is a new sleeping pill designed to help with going back to sleep. What can you tell me about it?

A. There are data suggesting that NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), celecoxib (Celebrex) and diclofenac (Voltaren) can ease nighttime urination problems (European Urology, Apr. 2006; Urology, Oct. 2008). Nevertheless, we worry that regular use of such drugs might affect kidney function and cause stomach ulcers.
The new sleeping pill is called Intermezzo. It is designed to dissolve under the tongue for fast action in the middle of the night. It is actually a low dose of the drug zolpidem, the active ingredient in the sleeping pill Ambien.
Should you wish a different approach, here is an intriguing story from a reader:

“I never liked beets, but my wife (who is Polish) does. I have come to enjoy barszcz, which is a sweet/sour soup made from beets with either a meat or vegetable stock.
“I am 63 years old and have the normal urinary symptoms of an aging prostate. When we have barszcz, I can pee like a 10-year-old. At night it is so satisfying to be able to empty my bladder completely and get back to sleep.
“I am not mistaken about the correlation as I have repeated the experiment many times. I now grow beets in my garden!”

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  1. Chen
    Cary nc

    My husband just tried this, and he onLy had to get up once the first night, and did not get up the second night. Now, we will be buying beets in quantity. Simple and effective solution.

  2. Jimmy Jack Melbourne

    You could try diced beets in a blender with apple juice.
    It’s also great for energy due to increase of nitrates.

  3. Jimmy Jack Melbourne

    JP you make me laugh very funny indeed and good luck with those awfull side effects.

  4. David G

    First of all, to the original poster of the tip, a big thank you. I intend to give it a try.
    If others have tried it, has it helped?

  5. harvey

    It sounds like good old fashiond jewish Beet Borscht should do the trick.
    You don’t have to enen cook it yourself, it’s easily found in jewish markets,

  6. Shelley P.

    A couple of questions regarding the Barszcz Soup — to get the effects as stated in the article, does this have to be consumed several days in a row? It sounds like the effect may have been the same night one consumes the soup? Also, is it the soup that has this effect, or does eating beets directly supposed to have the same effects?
    Thank you

  7. N. Ford

    This discussion strand sums up why I just love The People’s Pharmacy website. There is so much information, care and help given, not only by the Graedons but also by the people using the website. I will definitely be trying out the Beet Soup.

  8. ANDREW B.

    I too would like to know how to make “barszcz” for the prostate problem.

  9. Bob McCall

    How much soup do you eat at one time????????

  10. Sylvia B

    My super easy recipe for beet soup? I go to the ethnic section of my grocery store, buy a bottle of Manischewitz Beet Soup (with shredded beets settled on the bottom), pour it into a pot, squirt a bit of lemon juice in, and heat it all up. That’s it.
    If I feel like taking the extra effort, I’ll boil up some Idaho potatoes separately, mash them up, and plop a good bit into my bowl of beet soup. A tasty combination.

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