Is Your Bladder Behaving Like a Grumpy Child?

bladder control May 19, 2016

If you're having to get up in the middle of the night and plan your shopping trips around available bathrooms, then your bladder is out of control.

You shouldn't have to suffer disturbed sleep at night - through being woken up to empty your bladder - only to discover that the small volume could have lasted until the morning.

I'm getting really fed up with hearing that so many of us are stuck with bladder problems. Why should you feel like you're forever destined to have to deal with the 'oops' moments of leakage?

Why should you be feeling lonely and lost when you get caught out somewhere and just can't get to a bathroom quickly enough.

Is that you?

If you answered "yes" then firstly, I'm here to tell you that you can get your bladder back under your control - naturally. Secondly, you need to get your bladder back under your control, because the signals you’ re receiving are a very loud alarm bell that all is not well with your health.

Why would that bother you?

Well, you ignore those warnings at a great cost, because our bladders are marvellous indicators of our overall health.

And, in case you were wondering, bladder weakness and urinary incontinence is not a normal condition, nor is it a condition that you should expect to suffer as you grow older.

Did you get that...bladder weakness and urinary incontinence is not a normal condition! It's an indication that your health is under attack.

So what if you think you’ re stuck with this condition?

Think again! There has been a huge misconception spread throughout the media over the past years that urinary incontinence is just something that we have to live with.

Oh dear...never mind.

Not true! From my experience I've proven that with good diet, the right exercise and some time spent on working on your relationships and stress levels, you can make a huge difference in achieving better bladder control.

In this article I'm hopefully going to paint a picture that leaves you in no doubt that you can achieve better bladder control.

And you can get back to what you enjoy doing!

 

Firstly, though, do you know why I think you have a bladder control issue?

Unless you've experience bladder control issues as a result of suffering a physical accident or are contending with a physiological condition, I think there’ s one main reason for poor bladder control or urinary incontinence.

One reason why you're suffering from a weak bladder.

And that is...

Lack of communication.

What do I mean by that?

I mean lack of recognition of signals your bladder is sending you - not just to empty, but letting you know when things are not right.

It's so easy to get that busy in our lives that we miss the subtle signals our bladder is sending us (e.g. irritated after you eat certain foods, or don't drink enough water).

Let me ask you something...when was the last time you looked in the mirror and saw a happy soul looking back?

When was the last time you felt like bouncing out of bed in the morning and just living life the way you used to?

You can’ t remember – can you? Are you shocked by that? Well, maybe you should be.

I know when I was going through the awful chapter in my life of suffering from incontinence and then recovering, I didn't even want to look in the mirror! I felt like I had betrayed myself as I fought the feelings of helplessness that came from losing control of my body.

Maybe this conversation we have today can be all about you realising that the main cause of your bladder control, or lack of bladder control, is you, and you should be worried about that.

Let me state that again...The main cause of your lack of bladder control is you.

Say what....?

You see, it’ s not your bladder misbehaving, like you think it is, its you relinquishing control to your bladder, through lack of communication.

Let me explain further...

Let's say you get a signal from your brain telling you to empty your bladder but when you go to the bathroom the tank is pretty much empty.

Do that enough times and your bladder capacity is going to shrink.

You see, your bladder consists of different layers and one of those layers is muscle, so you can imagine if your bladder keeps getting away with emptying whenever it feels like it, that muscle condition will keep getting weaker.

And this is a problem because your bladder and indeed you get into the habit of running off the toilet at the first niggle from your bladder.

It's a bit like this - here's a simple look at the process:

It all starts with irritation of your bladder lining.

Perhaps from food or alcohol or caffeine from your favourite coffee - go on...you know you've had one two many!

So...your bladder is now active in that it is irritated. The thing is your bladder doesn't know that this is an irritation and sends a premature signal along your spinal chord to your brain.

And that's where the problem continues, because your amazing, brilliant, clever brain takes that signal and dutifully processes it.

As you forget all about the food and drinks you've enjoyed over the past hour or two, your brain begins it's phase two and sends a return signal back to your bladder (to your urethra sphincture) and says "Let her rip guys...empty, empty, empty!!!

Trouble is, you're standing in the supermarket queue (with a delightful old lady two customers in front, counting out her change..."You can never have too much change..."

And your bladder and brain and conspiring against you!

You have two options - pole vault over the customers to the exit (wrangling with the turnstile on the way out which only opens inwards)

Or...bring your bladder back under your control so you don't hear the words..."Clean up on aisle 4!

Now, I can guess what your thinking...Tess, stop joking - I need to pee!

See...that's why you need to retrain your bladder to do what you want it to do - not the other way around.

Let's get this straight...you are in control here, not your bladder.

Well, maybe not right now - but you will be.

Let me ask you a question?

Is your bladder behaving like an impatient child out on a shopping trip when communication has broken down between you and your little darling?

Well, let me take you further into this journey of bladder control.

And show you just how crazy it's getting.

You see, we've been raised to trust our medical industry and really not encouraged to investigate medical conditions that are attacking our bodies. But I truly believe that the time for trusting completely is over, and it's time to become our own health managers.

After all, so many of us are now our own financial managers, so why not become our own health managers.

My motto is 'stop trusting and start testing...everything.

Don't get me wrong, there's certainly a place for doctors and specialists and other medical professionals, but we need to control when we use those people, their skills and services.

Initially, we are responsible for our health and we are responsible for investigating the options we have available.

In other words - you and I need to listen to our bodies and understand what’ s going on.

I tried to think of a good example to share with you today as to how I see a bladder that is out of control, you know the feeling -

Waking you up at night and, as you toss and turn and flick those blankets off and on, it takes forever to get back to sleep. Then you have the problem of trying to wake up in the morning.

Disrupting your enjoyment of a movie

Forcing you to dash from a business meeting and, in case you wondered, yes your work colleagues are noticing.

So, let's continue with the supermarket analogy...

If you’ re a mum you will most likely remember the first time your little child turned around at the supermarket, which was crowded of course, and threw themselves on the floor!

Creating that inevitable scene that had other mums looking on with sympathy and a few older generation thinking what they would do if that child was their own.

Ah, yes we all instantly have the answers for someone else’ s problems –don’ t we? So, I can imagine you remembering the event...as you try not to meet the gaze of onlookers and the glares of those impatient businessmen standing in line with their slimline lunches.

"Walk a mile in my shoes buddy."

You had to go through the motions of either –

“Darling, you stand up right now (voice getting louder and by far the hardest choice to make – wow, standing up and being counted in front of your peers and strangers)

or you cajole, bribe or tempt –“Now, come on Love, be a good girl and mummy will get you a treat.”

Of course, in the old days children would have received a smack on the bum which would have done two things – either they would have picked themselves off the floor and sullenly come back under control or they would have bellowed even louder and, with face getting redder and redder (has he/she stopped breathing?) probably ended up throwing up in the supermarket aisle, as the stress level just reached a critical point.

“Clean up in aisle 4...”An interesting analogy isn’ t it?

So, what if we turn the scenario around and this had been the case:

Before you left for the supermarket, you sat your child down and said to him – let’s say your hypothetical child is around three years old, so he has a reasonable understanding of what you’re saying – “Darling, mummy is going to go and get some groceries today and I need you to be good.”

Now, your child, say,  loves to play with Lego – just crazy about it and you and Dad spend time building some really cool structures. Dad’s built most of it but you get the idea…

By now your child's eyes are firmly fixed on you because you’re sitting in front of him/her and holding their hands as you talk with them.

Yeah, right, what typical three year old will sit there and pay attention to you…!

Just humour me...

OK, so your precious Love is gazing out the window, playing with the buttons on his shirt…

And, you say to him - “Son, will you be my helper at the grocery store today? I need to get lots of groceries and would really appreciate you helping me. If you can do that for me today, I have a really nice treat for you when we’re finished in the supermarket.”

Hmmm…now your child is looking at you. The word treat holds special power...

“What sort of treat mummy?”

Well…how about when we finish our shopping, you can pick out a Lego – just a small one and we can add it to your collection?” Or your little one might have preferred a sweet treat or fruit. Something nice to look forward to.

In the case of Lego, or colouring book, It’s just a few dollars to invest in a long-lasting treat that your child will get enjoyment out of, not to mention Dad!

And...yes...I did use this method with one of my daughters, she just loved Lego. She's now a movie producer, so who knows what that wonderful set of lego inspired her to do.

Stick to the story Tess...

OK...so by now, instead of having to chase your child around the house and try to get him/her ready to go to ‘not the shops again’ fighting to keep those shoes on and finally bundle them into the car…

Your scenario is…

Apple of your eye is waiting at the door for you, chatting happily about the trip. You both set off on your ‘adventure’ to the supermarket with anticipation of a happy outcome through an amicable working relationship.

It's called communication - very grown up!

On a side note…

My youngest daughter used to have a habit of slipping items in the trolley when I wasn’t looking, or was busy doing something else. It became quite fun to unload the groceries and see what treats she had hidden away.  You know what it's like, by the time you get to the checkout, the last thing you can do is excuse yourself and go put things back on the shelf! Bob used to be quite thrilled with her selection – come to think of it, I wonder how she got the idea in the first place? Hmm.

Speaking of the kiddies, let’s take a look at life from your child’s point of view.

By now, you get that the child in our analogy is in fact your bladder - right?!

And you can see that your bladder is reacting to what it is experiencing...

You didn't really think you could get away with that diet forever did you...?

 

Back to our story...

We join our sweaty little child who ended up throwing themselves on the floor at the supermarket because, let’s face it, shopping for a young child is pretty boring!

There are heaps of tall people everywhere, glaring lights, dull old groceries. I mean the only fun part is riding in the cart or trolley. But that gets tiring and they aren’t very comfortable to sit on, with that hard plastic.

So, we're now looking at life from your child who hasn't been listened to and has been dragged off yet again to the supermarket with no explanation or real communication –

“Darling, for the last time, put down those toys, put your shoes back on and get in the car!”

You didn’t really communicate on the drive to the mall as, understandably, you were busy thinking about the things you want to get done. So, arriving there you bundle your child out of the car, ruffling his hair as he reaches out his arms to be lifted into the trolley.

It’s not too bad, you’re getting through your list and chatting away at the same time, checking your list on your phone. Then you meet an old neighbour you haven’t seen for years and now your child is sitting in the trolley (this is taking waaaaay too long), tugging at your side, beginning to niggle at you. (Just like your bladder does - but you ignore it).

Your child already feels this trip is taking forever and is starting to get annoyed and upset. Not to mention hungry – so he grabs for a bag of chocolate as you stand chatting to your neighbour.

"I mean it’s been years…"

By now we have a little person starting to get stroppy. “Mummy, Mummy, Mummeeeeee… I’m hungry!”

“Ssshhhhh - don’t interrupt – you remember Mrs Brown, Oh, wait…no you were just a baby then”…as you take the chocolate out of little hands and return it to the grocery shelf.

Mr/Miss Unhappy sits there and tries to figure out how the heck they are going to change their situation…this supermarket goes on forever!

So, the tugging didn’t work, the low level crying isn’t working, so they decide to step it up a notch with pulling groceries into the cart and can see you’re not looking too pleased.

“Behave yourself Darling – Oh Mrs Brown he doesn’t normally behave like this.  I don’t know what’s gotten into him.”

As yet another five minutes go by, an eternity for a child who’s stuck in a trolley, in a situation they can’t control, the stress level is building.

“No-one’s hearing me” he thinks to himself. “Why can’t they hear me?”

So, what’s a kid to do?

Uh-oh, now the situation is reaching a critical point. Now, it’s time to call in the big attention getter.

As your bundle of joy squirms around in the trolley, the complaining gets your attention and you take pity and lift him down onto the floor. Mrs Brown goes to hug him but he starts to run away, gathering up speed to take off down that aisle, You just manage to grab his top and pull him in close to you…still not listening.

Then begins the tears – “Mummy, Mummy, Mummeeeeee, I’m hungry…I’m thirsty…I wanna go hooooooome!”

You’re don't want to hurt Mrs Brown's feelings (who is a lovely lady but you don't really need to hear all about her life for the last three years…).

Finally, it looks like it’s over, at last you’re moving along the aisle again.

Your child sighs and walks quietly beside you.

“No, No, Nooooo,” they think as they see your best friend walking towards you.

“Just a few minutes please  – be good” you say as you once again start a conversation, ignoring your child and their needs.

Your child now feels they have no other choice – they need attention. They need to communicate strongly with you that all is not well.

So, there they are crying, nay whaling, in the supermarket aisle and now they have plenty of attention. Picking up steam, the high pitched scream reminds you of the little character out of Monsters Inc!

By now your little 'Darling' is causing such a ruckus that the checkout operator is beckoning you to another service desk but the tantrum continues. Screams have reached ear-shattering scale and new customers are turning around and walking out of the store.

This little person has taken the only path he knew to take to get your attention.

If you don't have children then you have probably seen a young child throwing a tantrum in a store on one of your shopping trips.

But what happens next time you want to go shopping?

Your child is not going to behave - he or she is going to aim for the tantrum right of the mark, because that's what worked last time.

It's the same with your bladder.

Your bladder is sending you signals all the time and those signals directly relate to your diet!

When we hit menopause, our ability to eat whatever we feel like is sharply curtailed.

Every part of our body is being affected by the chemical/hormonal changes taking place.

And your bladder is a big part of your health condition. In fact, I never thought I would say this, but I'm grateful for having experienced the health challenge I went through as it stopped me, literally, in my tracks and made me take notice of my state of health.

Which was rock bottom!

So, you see, your bladder is sending you signals in relation to what you're eating, your stress levels, even the state of your relationships  - and you are missing them.

Just like the young mum in the supermarket was missing the signals from her child. 

And we can't really blame our bladders for this because we're living in an age where our time is full of distractions and stuff.

Do you get what I mean?

Our time is stretched to the limits.

We are living a stressed existence...

You may even be feeling guilty spending the time to read this post but I'm so glad you did as we are going to explore a few areas that you can instantly improve upon, with regards to your bladder health.

And don't get me wrong - the whole point of writing this post is to let you know that we are all guilty of ignoring our bladders.

Not just you.

We don't mean to, but we just take them for granted.

We expect them to work, no matter what. We expect them to behave no matter how shabbily we treat them. We don’t listen to the signals – just like when our children are little and we sometimes don't really listen to them. Not because we don't care but because we are distracted.

So, just like in parenting our children, we are – in a way – parents to our bodies. We need to monitor the behaviour of the different parts of our family and make sure we listen to the subtle and not so subtle signals they are sending us.

Because, we only have one body and we need to look after it and appreciate the marvellous vehicle it truly is.

You see your bladder is part of an intricate biological system. It is an absolute miracle of plumbing and deserves to be looked after.

If not, then the upset child, or upset bladder syndrome is going to happen – it’s just a matter of time before your bladder throws a tantrum and demands attention. Leakage of urine is your bladder just starting to get revved up.

So, looking at the concept of ‘communicating’ with your body and understanding its needs, you can see that taking some time to ‘listen’ to your bladder will pay great dividends in health benefits.

Just like the act of communicating with a young child will bring good results too because we get to know our children's body language and moods, so can judge when would be the best time to go shopping. We consider their feelings and needs as well as our own and so have realistic expectations.

Just like we need to have realistic expectations of our health and our bladder health. We get to know when we need to take extra care of our diet and exercise, to ensure we have a happy, healthy bladder.

We can ask how did you (and me) get to a place of poor bladder control, or urinary incontinence?

I appreciate that you could have a physiological condition which is beyond the realm of this article, although I do believe a good organic diet will improve your health.

But how did we get to a place of poor bladder control? Simple - miscommunication and missing the signals our bodies are sending us - in this case our bladders.

Let me explain how I see it. Having now taken up the gauntlet and faced urinary incontinence head on, I have returned from the battle victorious to share what I have learnt with you and the biggest thing I can share with you today is that you should never put up with urinary incontinence and accept it as part of ‘growing older’ or ‘just something that happens to women because that, my friend, is a lie.

The truth is that you should be enjoying the best health you can, including being free from urinary incontinence.

Let me state that again – You should be enjoying the best health you can, including being free from urinary incontinence.

Don’t accept the diagnosis of ‘stuck with it forever’ as truth – because it’s not. Just imagine saying goodbye to pads and pull ups and whatever other gadgets you’ve invested your hard earned money in.

I did, and you can too. How do I sit here today – victorious, having fought the battle of taking back my bladder control? I’m glad you asked! I spent years researching when I was trying to figure a way out of the hell of hemiplegic migraines, mini strokes and resulting urinary incontinence.

I did it though – and along the way discovered something shocking. I discovered that almost one in two women are suffering (many in silence) with the scourge of urinary incontinence, a good proportion totally conditioned to believe that they can do nothing about it.

Come on! Can you imagine what hue and cry there would be if the statistics for heart disease were one in two? Or what about blindness – what if those statistics were one in two? Or lung cancer – one in two?

Do you see how crazy this is? One in two (let’s be conservative and say one in three) women are suffering from this plague.

So, what’s the solution I hear you ask…

I believe that the main key to good health is, and has always been, simple organic food and natural healthy products.

Simply - we are what we eat!

Now the beauty of that is that as we consume good healthy food, the cells in our bodies begin to grow healthier, they begin to increase their immunity to diseases and ill health.

Our hair begins to regain that lustre and shine. Our teeth grow stronger - and our bones. In fact, every part of our body begins to be replaced with healthy, strong cells.

How come? Because maintaining good health is nothing more than eating wholesome natural food. In fact, it is the main key to life. A healthy life, a life where you want to jump out of bed in the morning and not dread starting your day, having taken forever to get to sleep, while tossing and turning all night.

You may be thinking – “OK, so if I tweak my diet and include more of the healthy, natural, organic food, I will feel better but how can that help my bladder? Tess, you don’t understand my situation, I’m wearing pads and pull ups to play sport because the urge incontinence has reached a stage where I can’t control it.”

OK, I hear you. I had the same, suffering from urge and stress incontinence. Urge incontinence in my opinion is probably one of the worst types of urinary incontinence as it is pretty much instant – even without any inkling beforehand. I hear you – there’s nothing worse than that feeling of knowing if you move a muscle you’re done for! No second chances. I have an exercise now that I can use while seated and it brings that urge incontinence under control instantly. Then when I stand up I use my main Dry Swan exercise to completely stop the urge.

Getting back to your question, though, “If I tweak my diet and include more of the healthy, natural, organic food, how can that help my bladder?

Well, for starters, your bladder is very much affected by what you eat and drink. You probably already know some of this, so what we’re talking about here is not new to you. But, not everyone knows everything, so I’m going to assume that you’re new to the concept of your body being a vehicle.

Let’s take a look at that for a minute…

A vehicle has basic needs – fuel, oil, water and regular maintenance.

Wow, that sounds a lot like us doesn’t it? So, let’s look at what happens to a vehicle if it’s not maintained properly.

There are all sorts of mechanical issues that can compromise the running of a vehicle but not necessarily stop it in its tracks and we are really very similar.

We can get a headache or feel a bit off colour but we can generally keep on performing and most people in our lives wouldn’t really notice that we were under the weather. Of course if the problem was a broken leg, then immediate attention is given, sometimes in an emergency an ambulance is called and we’re rushed off to hospital to receive treatment.

I suppose we could liken that to a tyre blow out – once that happens the vehicle is stationary and going nowhere, until a mechanic or some form of help arrives. Or, if you’re blessed like me, can call on someone to change it for you.

So, we could keep using analogies but I want to cut to the chase now. I want to talk solely about you.

How simple is your life?

By that I mean – diet, exercise, work, stress, fitness.

I’m going to share something with you right now. It’s not easy to pull off the band aid and tell it like it is, but what’s the point of me having gone through what I have and come out victorious if I don’t share it with you?

Below is an excerpt from my book – Take Back Your Bladder Control. Now you may not be in the situation that I was, which quite honestly was total physical burnout. Just trying to do too much for too many and really trying to prove I wasn’t getting older and I could do everything I used to do when I was much younger.

I want you to stop putting up with urinary incontinence or weak bladder. I want you to get as mad about this condition as I did. I want you to stop accepting the ‘stuck with it forever’ mentality (especially if you’re beholden to pads and pullups) and I want you (regardless of your age) to take responsibility for your own bladder health.

It’s time. Let’s face it, life is short and we’ve been blessed with an unknown number of days. Why waste one more of them with an uncomfortable condition, especially if you can be courageous enough to say “Enough, I want my quality of life back and I’m taking it back right now!”

Wow…really? I’m SO proud of you! I’m sending a great big hug to you right now!

You see…I know you can beat this. I know you can. I’m no extraordinary person, just someone who loves God and trusts him. I trust him with my life. If I can do this, so can you!

When I discovered the Dry Swan exercise in the midst of the most miserable patch of my life, I knew from that moment on that I had to teach my program to you. It’s not a five-minute turn around, and there were days when I desperately wanted to quickly overcome this condition, but had that happened I would have missed the most amazing journey. I would never have gotten to the point where I’m sitting here with you today, to encourage you to walk my path and recover your bladder control too.

I believe with all my heart that you can do this. God’s word is clear, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. That means the healing that was enjoyed and celebrated when Jesus ministered to all those sick and dying people, is the same healing power that heals today.

When you get that, you will never look back.

As I mentioned above, I want to share with you today something I hope will really help you – a chapter from my book ‘Take Back Your Bladder Control.’

I pray that you understand that weak bladder or urinary incontinence is not normal.

I repeat – weak bladder or urinary incontinence is not normal!

It’s not normal!!!

You should have proper control of your bladder every day you walk this earth. We have been lied to and convinced that as we get older, a weak bladder is just part and parcel of the journey.

Not true!

Do you have any idea how many billions of dollars the incontinence industry is making per year? It’s money for jam for them, all they have to do is spread the belief that incontinence is normal, nothing to be ashamed of (let’s throw in a few funny lines in movies about actresses peeing their pants for good measure) and show me the money Jerry…!!!

Are you getting this? Are you really getting this?

You’re paying good money for a product that you shouldn’t have to. Why? Because your bladder is out of your control and all you have to do is take your control back!

How do you do that?

Listen…listen…listen to your body. Don’t let your bladder develop the condition to a critical level by ignoring the little signals that its sending to you.

Listen…why is your bladder waking you up at night? How many coffees did you have during the day?

Are you going to wait until your bladder (like a frustrated child in the supermarket) throws a tantrum and you have a dam buster on your hands as you're walking to your car - without any warning?

I hope not. Look I know what I’m saying is true. If you don’t do something about your bladder control now, it’s a likely scenario that sooner or later it’s going to chuck a tanty (as we say in OZ).

If I could I would yell it from the rooftop – You can take back your bladder control, at the very least you can improve it!

I was talking with my husband Bob recently and saying to him,

“You know what Love, I have such a mountain to climb trying to get this book out there because the underlying belief of so many women (through media influence over the years) is that wearing pads and pullups, and just putting up with that awful leakage, is normal and almost seen as a right of passage. It’s been portrayed as a normal and natural part of being a woman. How on earth do I get my message (and the life-changing Dry Swan exercises) out there? Who’s going to want to listen to me?”

Do you know what my awesome, lovely husband said to me?

“Just tell them Love, tell them that the pharmaceutical companies have tricked them into believing they have no choice but to buy products and put up with it – just tell them.”

So, consider yourself told!

You don’t have to put up with the ‘frustrated child syndrome” anymore. You can communicate with your bladder by taking back control. Your bladder and your body, as you keep eating good, wholesome, organic, food will just come into line.

Besides the taste of organic and natural, wholesome food is just amazing! Your body will love you for it.

So, thanks so much for spending time with me and here’s my small gift to you today – read my chapter 5 and learn all about your diet. We have been tricked into believing that processed foods are convenient and good for us. They are so far from good, it’s not true. Just read the packets on products you have in your pantry today and then research them. Go online and look up what those preservatives, additives, colourings really are. While you’re there, see what other applications they have.

God bless you mightily on this journey and I look forward to one day hearing your testimonial of how you took back your bladder control.

EXCERPT FROM TESS HANSEL'S 'TAKE BACK YOUR BLADDER CONTROL' BOOK

CHAPTER 5 – TAKING BACK YOUR BLADDER CONTROL

I should really include a magnifying glass here, as you may need one to read the labels on drinks and food! I carry one in my bag, which comes in very handy, as the writing in the list of ingredients on a lot of processed food packages, bottles, and cans is sometimes very small and difficult to read. I wonder why that is?

I can’t recommend strongly enough that you need to take time to investigate your body’s reaction to what you currently eat and drink.

Once you download your Detective Diary, print it out and start to fill it in, you will quickly get an overview of your bladder’s activity.

This diary, filled out over a period of 21 days, will be very beneficial in providing useful information going forward in your journey to overcoming incontinence and taking back control of your bladder and your quality of life.

When you think of it, three weeks is not a long time to take to pinpoint the troublesome areas of your bladder health and once completed you can make those necessary changes to optimise your health, wellbeing and lifestyle.

Let’s now look at some of the foods that affect bladder health. Our diet can be very important when we’re looking at bladder control issues.

Listed below are the categories I suggest you investigate:

Drinks/beverages

Water

The first drink to look at is water. Make sure that you’re drinking filtered water as this gives your body the best quality hydration and ensures that chemicals and contaminants contained in regular tap water are not adding to your bladder control issue.

How much fluid you consume in a day is totally up to you. The old thinking was that we needed to consume at least eight glasses of water a day but that has come under some scrutiny lately, especially for those of us who are bringing bladders under control.

My rule of thumb is to drink when you’re thirsty. Have a good drink at a time, rather than sip on water all day. The reason for drinking say half a glass of water at a time is because water contains oxygen and that will assist your brain as well. I consume between 1.5-2.0 litres of water a day.

You probably know that all parts of our bodies need water to function correctly. In fact, our body mass is made up of over 50% water. It’s so important to keep your body hydrated and hold onto those fluids so they can do the job they need to do. If you find you’re running to the toilet frequently due to drinking more water, then you may need to increase your salt intake. Chances are you’re not eating enough salt and the attempts to hydrate your body are just getting flushed away.

Good consumption of water resulting in good hydration will help your body in so many ways – including cell replacement.

Often bladder issues can be caused by concentrated urine as a result of lack of water consumption so this is also a key area to investigate. See how often you have to visit the toilet when you increase your water consumption. You may like to also look at the level of salt in your overall diet. Contrary to popular belief, we need salt and the decades of warning against salt consumption are proving to be misguided. Check this out for yourself though and if you have any condition that is exacerbated through salt consumption, check with your health professional or dietician. In my case, it has been well received back into my diet as migraine symptoms can be

exacerbated through dehydration. To hydrate my body, I need to consume salt as well as water so I just started salting my meals again. Food tastes a lot better too!

Remember though that it’s important to keep a record of your bladder habits in your

Detective Diary for the 21-day period.

It sounds a bit silly to be talking about drinking more to prevent bladder issues but this is one way to actually increase the strength and control of your bladder. You can trial this at home on the weekend where you have instant access to your bathroom/toilet.

So, are you drinking enough water a day? The reason I ask is because sometimes we can have the misguided idea that less liquid consumed means stronger bladder control or less urgency to go. However, the opposite is true as the more we drink water the more the bladder has to exercise and strengthen. What I discovered was drinking less resulted in more of an urgency to empty my bladder. However, when I researched the effects of consuming more liquids in a day I realised that our bladders benefit greatly through gentle hydration.

This is true of a drink before bed as well. A small glass of water before bed (after emptying your bladder) gives your body hydration in the night as well as a comfortable volume to empty in the morning.

Again, note the volume you consume in your diary, as this will give you a complete look at what you’re consuming compared to the number of times you visit the bathroom.

It may seem a bit of a drag to record the details but I promise you it will be so helpful to actually have an overview of your bladder activity. How good does this feel?

Taking back control!

 Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate

This one is a bit painful as we all enjoy a drink with friends. However, coffee, tea and hot chocolate all contain caffeine. As I’m sure you already know caffeine has a tendency to increase metabolism, which can in turn affect your bladder through becoming over-active. This then results in a diuretic effect on your bladder, which also increases the urgency to go.

You might like to switch to decaffeinated coffee and tea but be careful with teas that contain citrus as this can also cause problems with our bladders. Same with drinking water with lemon slices. Again, note it in your diary.

Caffeine really does play quite a big part in bladder problems and can be responsible for anything from incontinence to bladder infections to an increase in urgency due to the acidic effect caffeine can have. You will quickly identify if this is the culprit through recording your bladder activity in your diary.

Other drinks containing caffeine

There are other drinks that can cause problems such as energy drinks and even some soft drinks can contain caffeine these days so remember to read the labels and check out just what is in your drinks.

Carbonated drinks can also cause irritation and, because they may contain caffeine,a fizzy drink can be quite aggravating to the bladder. Anything containing corn syrup needs to be avoided as well.

Fruit Juices

Once upon a time we all thought fruit juices were the best drink to optimise our health. However, that may have been a ploy by major producers to increase their sales. It turns out that fructose is almost as strong as sugar and most fruit juices are acidic so that can definitely affect your bladder.

I would suggest you either cut out the juices altogether or water them down by two- thirds – i.e. one-third juice and two-thirds filtered water. Quite often sugar is added to fruit juice as well.

Always read the ingredients label and check that you’re getting the best quality organic fruit juices free from preservatives and additives, as these can also affect our bladders.

Some of the most acidic juices are those of the citrus family, e.g. lemons, oranges, grapefruits, also pineapples. Be careful with those as they can really irritate your bladder. In fact I would suggest you avoid them if you can during completion of your

21 day Detective Diary.

You can always try juices in small doses once you have an overview of your diet and health. I would still recommend you continue to water all juices down though as they are too concentrated and can really irritate your bladder.

Alcohol

Another possible ouch! It may be a good time to give the alcohol a rest – just for the next 21 days.

Again you can dilute your drink and if you drink wine, you can make it a spritzer for that period if you don’t want to cease altogether for the Detective Diary phase. Just understand that alcohol can act as an irritant on the bladder and affects the way our brain sends signals.

Alcohol also has a diuretic affect which will encourage your bladder to empty more frequently.

The idea of the diary is to pinpoint the problem so it’s a bit of trial and error with foods and drinks but you will get an overview of what your diet is doing to your bladder and it’s well worth doing. It’s also a step in faith and lets your bladder know that you’re back in control.

Through my experience, I’m convinced that part of the reason you’re suffering urinary incontinence may be due to your diet.

Sugar

Now this is proving to be an ingredient that we could all heavily reduce. Sugar can irritate your bladder contributing to leakage so I would suggest you reduce it for the duration of the 21 days. Even honey and artificial sweeteners can also be troublesome when it comes to bladder control. If you do use honey try to source raw (organic) honey, as this is unpasteurized with all the wonderful healing ingredients still alive.

Fruit and vegetables

Here is where I get on my organic wagon! If you can - switch to organic food. (Pick yourself up a copy of  7 Awesome Ways to Good Health Naturally (link also at the back of the book) and see the results of my investigations. This was life changing for me and very empowering.

The health benefits of consuming organic fruit and vegetables are huge and I would rather pay more money for organic food than be spending that money in the future on specialists and hospital bills, trying to overcome a disease or condition that I could have avoided through good nutrition. Not just good nutrition, but care and consideration of me.

Avoid citrus fruits and also tomatoes as they can be acidic which may irritate your bladder (including in sauces and chutneys).

Raw onions – I find it is best to cook onions as raw onions can irritate the bladder. Also try using spring onions or shallots instead of brown onions.

Vegetables that have proven to be beneficial to bladders include celery and parsley and if you use organic vegetables these are delicious. You could grow your own parsley to have on hand.

Watch your intake of fruits and keep a record in your Detective Diary.

It’s very empowering to get an overview of your health and it will quickly become apparent the changes you need to make.

I would suggest that you spend some time investigating where you can source organic produce and also look at the benefits of organic food in general as it’s too big a subject to include here. I want to get this book out to you so you can get going with your Project You and the Dry Swan exercise! J

Processed Foods

The list of potential ingredients in processed foods is ridiculous. If you already check out the backs of packets, then good on you and you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t then you really need to get into the habit of doing this because your level of good health is directly affected by what you eat, drink and put on your body.

Most processed foods, through the need to stay fresh and have a long shelf life, contain preservatives and a lot of these are man-made and synthetic. Preservatives can cause problems with the bladder too so try to eat fresh, organic food where you can and avoid the problems preservatives can cause.

Then we have artificial flavours and additives like MSG – not good. Again, read the packets so you have a real understanding of what’s in the food you’re consuming. Then, go online and investigate those additives and flavours. There’s a popular one which is used extensively – benzyl alcohol which has been linked to bladder irritation. You could be consuming this ingredient without even realising it and it could be this one revelation that turns your bladder health around.

Spice in foods

This is an area you would be best to avoid, especially while you’re recovering control of your bladder. Chilli and other spices can really irritate your bladder.

Read nutrition labels carefully

I can’t stress this enough as your bladder problems could be directly linked to the ingredients you’re consuming in different products. The best way to control what’s in your food is to prepare the bulk of it yourself from fresh ingredients. Even if you have to spend some time on the weekend preparing meals and then freezing them, at least that way you know what’s in them. Once you discover the health benefits of preparing your own meals, you will get hooked!

Artificial Sweeteners

I would highly recommend you cease using artificial sweeteners as these are really detrimental to our health – there are thousands of sites that have investigated the ingredients of popular artificial sweeteners and the results are downright scary. Do check it out for yourself. I prefer sugar any day, especially raw sugar. Just remember, the more natural the product, the better.

Dairy Products

Again you’ll need to keep track in your Detective Diary as to what affects you. You may identify the culprit as some cheeses as these can have an effect on our bladders. Try organic cheese if you find the regular commercial cheese is affecting your bladder health.

It’s a lot better with a little butter! That used to be a TV ad in New Zealand as I was growing up. It’s true! It’s a LOT better as butter is a natural product – cream and salt. If you’re consuming margarine and other substitute dairy products, research just what margarine is – it’s grey before they colour it! Go natural with your dairy products as much as possible and you will see the difference in your energy levels and overall health.

We use raw milk and it’s amazing. I discovered that the goodness and vital enzymes that we need to stay healthy are destroyed through the pasteurisation process, not to mention what happens to the quality of the milk through homogenisation. Check this out for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

Avoid all the fancy milks that promise to help you lose weight or give you extra vitamins. The true vitamins and essential minerals for a healthy life are contained in what God created – raw, organic, unpasteurised cow’s milk.

You need to make sure that the dairy products you are consuming are produced from grass fed cows too.

Fibre

Raw fresh vegetables are best for natural fibre. Fresh organic carrots give you magnesium as well, which helps with cravings for chocolate.

Consuming organic wholegrain cereals is a great way to increase your daily fibre and add some beautiful organic raw milk, fresh organic fruit and a spoonful of natural organic yoghurt – what an awesome way to start the day. Honestly, when your body gets to enjoy real food again, it is just amazing what it does to your wellbeing.

An interesting thing about the Dry Swan Exercise is that by practicing this exercise I discovered it actually helped with regularity so if you’re suffering constipation it can help. The longer you can ‘hold on’ through practicing the exercise, the greater effect on your regularity.

Condiments

Condiments like soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, mayonnaise, unless organic, all of these will contain preservatives and flavour enhancers, so check out their ingredients. You may like to give them a miss for a while or find a natural alternative. Some organic food producers have wonderful products that are gentler on the bladder.

I’m working on some natural alternative condiments, which I’ll put in the member’s area later.

Acidic Food

Tomatoes, like citrus fruits, are high in acid and can irritate your bladder due to their high level acidity. Because they’re in a lot of products, it will take a bit of investigation and label reading but it’s so worth it.

Also you may want to rethink cranberry juice, which has high levels of acidity as well. This is annoying, as this has been promoted to help bladder conditions. You may find a solution to your problem just by stopping the consumption of cranberry juice – stranger things have happened!

Medication

This is an interesting one. When I began my Project Tess I never dreamt what the outcome would be – i.e. discovering just what was in the medication I’d been prescribed. The side effects were downright scary and once I discovered what was in the medication I took myself off it.

Please don’t do what I did though – go cold turkey – and make sure you check out the correct protocol for slowly decreasing your medication. Since I’ve recovered my good health and shared my results with friends, two of them have now come off antidepressants, which is really exciting. They followed the proper protocol though.

I was ignorant of the fact that just stopping medication (particularly antidepressants) would be an end to it and some days felt like my head was going to explode! The sensations were savage but I just pushed past it.

Having since discovered the protocol for coming off drugs I would definitely have chosen the sensible option of withdrawing the medication over a longer period of time, as I suggested to my friends.

We live and learn! Seriously though, please don’t mess about with your medication.

I would strongly suggest that if you’re on medication at present then now’s the time to research the side effects of that medication and speak with your health professional for advice.

I discovered that blood pressure tablets (commonly prescribed as we get older) can cause incontinence. So too can antidepressants. I‘d been put on both of these after the first migraine attack.

Just make sure that you check with your medical professional for any withdrawal protocol that needs to be followed and understand that I am not a medical professional nor fitness expert, just a woman who's sharing what I've learnt.

I hope you can see that when it comes to our health, whatever goes into or onto our body needs to be carefully considered.

You may like to adopt my motto – stop trusting and start testing…everything.

Any questions or if I can help at all

[email protected]

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