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Solving Nighttime Urinary Problems

Solving Nighttime Urinary Problems
Beet vegetable blood pressure

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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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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