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The Bladder - Nocturia and Paruresis (Shy Bladder) - by Susun Weed



Step 1.  Collect Information


  • Waking to urinate more than twice a night - nocturia - is considered a medical problem unless you are menopausal, or over 80, when it is normal, if not restful.


  • Menopausal women will want to consult New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.


  • As we age, there is a natural shift in the timing of urination. Instead of being most active during the day, the urinary system gets into gear at night, alas. To prevent falls, keep bathroom access well lit and forego rugs or slippers that slip and trip.


  • Hypertension, diabetes, prostate enlargement, stroke, kidney disease, and even a tumor in the bladder can also cause nocturia.



Step 2.  Engage the Energy


Homeopathic remedies for those with nocturia include homeopathic sulphur (Sulphura) and Ferrum phos.



Step 3.  Nourish and Tonify


  • One of my favorite herbal remedies for menopausal women troubled by night sweats and nocturia is nettle infusion. Nettles’ ability to rebuild adrenal and kidney functioning is nothing short of miraculous. I do not experience nettle as a diuretic; while the initial response to drinking 2-4 cups of infusion may be a need to urinate more often, this is due to improvement of the kidneys, not stimulation, and as they strengthen, frequency returns to normal.


  • Quercetin is a strong antioxidant found in herbs and foods. It decreases urinary and pelvic inflammation, and, most importantly, inhibits cell damage in the kidneys. Find quercetin in oak bark, cranberries, AND blueberries.



Step 4.  Stimulate/Sedate


Limiting fluid intake to a little water only in the four hours before bed - no coffee, tea, alcohol, juice, or soda - may help.



Step 5b.  Use Drugs


  • Common drugs, such as blood pressure medications, can increase urinary frequency. Eliminate them; eliminate nocturia. 


  • Desmopressin acetate, DDAVP, is a prescription nasal spray that blocks the urge to urinate. Elders may find it helpful in shifting the timing of urination back toward daytime.[1]


  • On an average, men with BPH get up three times a night to urinate, and many have a difficult time returning to sleep.  Of drugs tested, only doxazosin made a significant difference.[2]



Paruresis - Shy Bladder


Step 0.  Do Nothing


That’s what most of those with a shy bladder do: nothing. They don’t talk about it. They don’t seek treatment. And in the worst case scenarios, they don’t leave home for fear that someone will be aware of their urination.



Step 1.  Collect Information


  • It is estimated that 20 million Americans, mostly men, deal with shy bladder; for 2 million of them, it is incapacitating.[3]


  • Anxiety can cause the smooth muscles of the urethra to clamp down, making it impossible to produce urine, no matter how much you want to or how much you try. The thought that someone may be watching or listening or even aware of one’s urination, can produce extreme anxiety in the person with a bashful bladder. In the mildest cases, men cannot void in a public urinal with others watching. In worst cases, men cannot void in any public facility and may have difficulty at home unless they are totally alone.


  • Bashful bladder is different from the difficulty in voiding that occurs when a swollen prostate narrows the urethra.



Step 2.  Engage the Energy


[A true tale] As the mind-altering effects of the plant took hold of me, I suddenly became terrified. I thought everyone was not only watching me, but that they could read my mind as well. My guide laughed: “They are only concerned with themselves. You are invisible to them. Set aside your big ego and your big wish to be the center of attention. You are just another human, doing human business. Laugh at your fear; send it away.”



Step 3.  Nourish and Tonify


  • Be kind to your shy bladder with corn silk tea. If you can’t get corn silk, the liquid from canned corn will have a similar effect.


  • Be kind to your nerves with oatstraw infusion. Regular use of 2-4 cups a day will rebuild the nervous system, so you can handle far more stress with less anxiety.



Step 4.  Stimulate/Sedate


A bottle of anxiety-relieving motherwort tincture in your pocket may make your bladder less shy. A dose of 1-2 droppersful, taken on your way to the toilet, will have fast results.



Step 5b.  Use Drugs


More than half the men answering a recent survey said they were unable to produce a urine sample on demand for a drug test, especially if they were under surveillance to prevent contamination or substitution.[4]


Resources:  www.pruresis.org


[1] “Questions & Answers,” Health News, May 2005.

[2] Johnson TM et al, Journal of Urology, Nov 2007, 178:2045.

[3] “Shy bladder,” Michael Miller MD, Harvard Mental Health Letter, Jan 2004.

[4] Ibid. (57).

Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health.


Visit her site  for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more or contact her at:

Susun Weed

PO Box 64

Woodstock, NY 12498

Fax:  1-845-246-8081

For permission to reprint this article, contact us at:


Legal Disclaimer: This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner with a specific formula for you. All material contained herein is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Contact a reputable healthcare practitioner if you are in need of medical care. Exercise self-empowerment by seeking a second opinion.




Browse the publishing site - Ash Tree Publishing - to learn more about her alternative health books.


Venture into the NEW Menopause site to learn all about the Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.

Or Join the Forum! Susun Weed’s Wise Woman Forum - an open space for discussion. Make yourself at home, post a message or start a discussion. This place is for you to share your questions, concerns, and comments with other wise women like you. Take a moment to register and become part of the community. Enjoy!


Susun Weed’s books include:


Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year

Author: Susun S. Weed. Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control. Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $11.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

Healing Wise 

Author: Susun S. Weed. Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston. 312 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $17.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing


New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

Author: Susun S. Weed. The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Foreword by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $16.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

For more great info on menopause, visit the site.

Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

Author: Susun S. Weed. Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen. Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. 380 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $14.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

For more great info on Breast Health, visit Susun's Breast Health site.

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