Although research is limited on pumpkin seeds in their various forms as a treatment for overactive bladder, they may be worth a try. Find out how to take this natural remedy.

Making more frequent, urgent trips to the bathroom or waking up at night to go? You may have overactive bladder. This urinary health condition affects a surprising number of people. According to a study from 2016, about 23% of people in the United States have overactive bladder, with women experiencing it nearly twice as commonly as men.

There are plenty of medical treatments for overactive bladder, but if you’d prefer to try a more natural approach, you might consider pumpkin seeds. You can find pumpkin seeds in their whole form and as an oil or powdered extract.

Here’s what the research has to say about this supplement’s effectiveness for overactive bladder.

Learn more about overactive bladder.

There’s not a large body of research on pumpkin seeds’ effect on overactive bladder — but the research that has been done is promising.

In a small, older study from 2014, people with overactive bladder were given a daily dose of pumpkin seed extract for 12 weeks. At both 6 and 12 weeks, they reported significantly reduced symptoms like urgency, frequency, and peeing at night.

Another study found that taking pumpkin seed extract reduced nighttime urination in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia, a condition that frequently overlaps with overactive bladder.

Although more research is needed, it’s thought that the linoleic and oleic acids in pumpkin seed extract may be responsible for potential improvements in overactive bladder.

Language matters

You’ll notice we use the binary terms “women” and “men” in this article. While we realize these term may not match your gender experience, this is the term used by the researchers whose data was cited. We try to be as specific as possible when reporting on research participants and clinical findings.

Unfortunately, the studies and surveys referenced in this article didn’t report data for or may not have had participants who are transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, agender, or genderless.

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So far, research has yet to identify major risks from using pumpkin seed oil or extract as a supplement for overactive bladder. But not much is known about its effects on pregnancy and lactation. If you’re pregnant or nursing, a doctor may advise you to hold off on adding it to your routine.

Side effects from pumpkin seeds are uncommon. One study from 2000 found that 96% of men who took a supplement that contained pumpkin seed extract for benign prostatic hyperplasia experienced no undesired side effects.

Because of their higher fiber content, pumpkin seeds in their various forms may cause diarrhea if you consume too much.

Of course, it’s always possible to be allergic or sensitive to any dietary supplement. If you’re allergic to pumpkin, you may also have an adverse reaction to pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seed oil may interact with certain medications. An older animal study from 2000 revealed that the oil increased the effects of antihypertensive medications like felodipine and captopril, for example. Talk with a doctor before adding this (or any) dietary supplement.

Pumpkin seed oil and extract come in capsules, drops, and gummies. It can also be purchased in a cooking oil form. Doses vary widely from about 100 milligrams (mg) to 2,000 mg. A doctor can guide you on the right dose of this supplement for you.

In general, pumpkin seed oil and extract are considered safe for most people. But if you’re pregnant, nursing, or taking medication for high blood pressure, it might not be a good choice. Again, be sure to get a doctor’s approval before you start to take it.

What seeds are good for the bladder?

Pumpkin seeds might not be the only beneficial seeds for bladder health. Some people report that flaxseeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds also reduce their symptoms of overactive bladder, but research is quite limited, and more is needed.

What calms down an overactive bladder?

The best strategies for calming an overactive bladder may be unique to each person. Dietary approaches like avoiding trigger foods and drinks and keeping fluid intake moderate can be helpful, as can mind-body techniques like meditation and biofeedback. You can also try bladder training, a process of going to the bathroom at preset times.

What is the best natural supplement for overactive bladder?

Besides pumpkin seed oil and extract, there are numerous natural options for easing overactive bladder symptoms. According to research from 2013, herbal remedies like gosha-jinki-gan, hachi-mi-jio-gan, buchu, cleavers, and horsetail may help.

More commonly, many people turn to vitamins and minerals like magnesium, vitamin B1, and vitamin D for symptom relief.

If you’d like to complement your overactive bladder treatment with a natural supplement, pumpkin seed oil and extract might be a good choice.

Although research hasn’t established a robust connection between pumpkin seed and bladder health, some studies indicate it may have benefits. It has minimal side effects and comes at a low price point and might be an option for people with overactive bladder.