The stomach and its acid secretion may seemingly be unrelated to bladder health but as a matter of fact, stomach acid plays an important role in overall health – as a first line of defense for our immune system, in protein digestion and nutrient absorption.
Many may think of stomach acid in relation to heartburn/GERD, which affects up to 27 % of adults  and has risen recent years. As a result, antacids are the 7th most popular personal care product in the US alone, with sales of many million dollars .
However, the symptoms for low and high stomach acid are very similar. While high stomach acid can definitely be very irritating, low stomach acid may have more far reaching consequences.
There are different forms of Inflammation, ranging from acute to chronic. Inflammation plays an important part in the immune response and is designed to help us survive – it is the immune system’s response to infections and injury.
The inflammatory response has helped us to survive in the evolutionary environment. Throughout evolution, the inflammatory response has stayed the same – our environment however, has changed drastically in the past couple of centuries (not a long time in evolutionary terms!).
The changes in our environment are thought to parallel the rise in chronic disease. Could inflammation be one of the reasons?
Interstitial cystitis is often associated with a range of other degenerative diseases such as IBS, IBD, Fibromyalgia, Sjoegen’s, Lupus and also allergies.
‘Classic’ interstitial cystitis has some common features with allergies such as increased mast cells, histamine and inflammation.
Is something else causing IC, allergies and associated diseases or could allergies be a root cause? What if some cases of IC are simply a symptom of food intolerance? I call this the allergic bladder.
Pharmacies usually sell ‘cystitis relief’ products designed to serve as a first aid for urinary tract infections. These preparations are designed to alkalize the urine.
Moreover, flushing through increased fluid intake is usually recommended.
I have previously recommended doing this as it is the common advice for cystitis relief before taking antibiotics.
Some people may well have success with this approach but is it scientifically validated?
If you suffer from incontinence there is a chance that you have a prolapsed bladder. This is also known as a dropped bladder, cystocele or a bladder hernia.
This can (and should be) diagnosed by your doctor but there is also an easy way to check for it at home.
When speaking about urinary tract infections, we usually speak about bacterial infections. Fungi (a.k.a yeasts or mold) are different organisms from bacteria and they can cause infections such as thrush in some parts of the body. Fungal infections in the vagina for example are a well-known condition. But can there also be fungal infections in the urinary tract?
Last week I had a look at how hormones affect the urinary tract. Changes in the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone and even the ‘male’ hormone testosterone appear to affect urinary tract symptoms.
Oral contraception affects hormone levels in the body and may therefore also affect urinary tract symptoms.
Other contraception may not affect hormones but may have an impact on the urinary tract in other ways.
Today I would like to take a look at what we know about different forms of contraception and bladder health.
Today I’d like to take a closer look at the role of hormones on bladder health. Hormones have been known for a while to play a role in lower urinary tract symptoms such as UTIs, interstitial cystitis and stress incontinence. Hormones may be the reason why women generally seem to be more prone to bladder problems than men and also why some symptoms may get worse at certain times of the month.
Last week I talked about the theory that some cases of interstitial cystitis may not be IC per se, but rather a mast cell activation disorder affecting different systems in the body.
Today I would like to offer a couple of natural options that may help to reduce mast cells or at least their effects in the body.
In many cases of interstitial cystitis, mast cells are raised in the bladder and play a big role in the unpleasant symptoms of an IC flare. Modern medicine likes to put names on symptoms but sometimes this may not describe the real issue well.
Interstitial cystitis is often a diagnosis of exclusion and similar to syndromes such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) it is a functional disorder with an array of symptoms. The condition in itself could even be a symptom in itself. In the case of raised mast cells the question is whether it is really IC or could it be mast cell activation disorder (MCAD)?