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Will Pumpkin Pie Help You Sleep All Night?

How often do you have to get up in the night and trek off to the bathroom? Nocturia (nighttime urination) is a pesky problem for a lot of people. We recently heard from a reader who reported that taking pumpkin seed oil reduced the need to rise at night to urinate. It also seemed to prevent urinary tract infections. Pumpkin seeds and their oil have a reputation for easing urinary symptoms associated with enlarged prostate glands in men. One reader who read this post had a bright idea: pumpkin pie!

Will Pumpkin Pie Prevent Nocturia?

Q. I read in your column that pumpkin seed oil could reduce both urinary tract infections and nighttime bathroom visits. Is there a possibility that eating pumpkin pie would have the same effects as eating the seeds? That sure would be a tasty way to solve the problem!

Don’t Count on Pumpkin Pie:

A. Although pumpkin pie is very popular this time of year, we’re afraid that it doesn’t contain any pumpkin seeds. We doubt that it will be any help against frequent nighttime urination.

There are, however, a few things you might want to try. Start with some detective work: try to figure out how often you have to urinate. Is it all day long as well as at night? Overactive bladder shows up around the clock but can make nocturia worse.

What Are You Drinking?

Consider drinking more fluid in the morning and cutting back towards the end of the day. Less fluid in the afternoon and evening means less you have to get rid of overnight, but you don’t want to cut back so much that you get dehydrated.

Cut the Caffeine:

Watch out for caffeine consumption. In one study of young women with overactive bladder syndrome, those who consumed more caffeine had more trouble (Journal of Women’s Health, Feb. 2018). They also drank more carbonated beverages. A review of treatments for overactive bladder concluded that cutting caffeine, reducing fluid intake, training the muscles of the pelvic floor and undergoing acupuncture could all be helpful (American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, July 2016).

Put Your Legs Up:

If your legs swell significantly during the day, that fluid will want to find its way out of your body at night. Spend some time in the afternoon with your legs elevated, and contemplate support hose to prevent the swelling. If it’s significant, be sure to bring it to your doctor’s attention. Edema could signal a serious health problem that should be addressed.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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