What does your pee say about your health? PART II
*Urine, in most healthy situations, should be seen but not smelled. There are exceptions of course (Have you ever experienced “asparagus pee”?), but the offending odor should be transient and not trending towards permanence. Urine with a strong ammonia smell may indicate dehydration or bacterial infections. A sharp change in hormones (ie: pregnancy or menopause) may also contribute to pungent pee. “Sweet or fruity smelling” urine may indicate a high ketone content in urine as is often seen in unregulated diabetes. Some medications can certainly create an environment for malodorous micturation. Sulfa based medications (note: sulfa and sulfur are NOT the same chemical entity), antibiotics, diuretics, birth control pills, lyrica, tramadol, and oxycodone are also potentially causative agents of stinky pee.
Frequent urination is a topic near and dear to my heart (and bladder). An estimated 33 million people in the USA struggle with this health clue. Having a spastic bladder can be a nuisance or it can be downright life limiting. The causes (clues) are varied:
🔎Urinary tract infection (pair with urine color and odor)
🔎Low estrogen levels (resulting from a hormone imbalance, menopause,or even excessive exercise)
🔎Pregnancy or post childbirth, chronic constipation, chronic coughing, frequent heavy lifting, obesity, pelvic floor weakness (see unbalanced pelvic floor muscles below)
🔎Enlarged prostate (men)
🔎Spinal cord injuries or dysfunctions
🔎Pelvic floor muscles (there are 16 of them) are unbalanced. Think of a webbed hammock where some of the webbing is strong and others are weak. Each muscle needs to be equal in strength. If this is a known issue, kegel exercises are not the answer. You’ll want to find an excellent pelvic floor therapist to guide you in your strengthening and healing process.
🔎Medication (ex: diuretics, lithium, steroids)
🔎Emotions. The bladder and kidneys are the home to emotions related to fear and anxiety. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, chronic bladder and kidney issues may correlate with “difficulty finding their place in life”. Many women (and men) who have a weak pelvic floor often report lacking support somewhere in their lives. Please do not underestimate the importance of healing emotionally when looking for ways to heal physically. Our issues do indeed reside in our tissues. There is an excellent book entitled The Body Keeps Score, by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk (MD) which explains the importance of resolving the emotional ties to specific health conditions. #worththeread
Interstitial cystitis is where my🙋♀️ personal “overactive bladder” story began in 2002. IC is an enigmatic chronic bladder condition that causes varying degrees of pelvic pain and discomfort. It also causes a chronic and constant need to urinate. Imagine having stomach ulcers in your bladder. That’s the best way I can describe what it felt like. In my case, it took nearly 3 years and 4 different doctors before finding one who suggested a cystoscopy to confirm her suspicions. As with all inflammatory disease states, what we expose ourselves to matters. I was blessed with a doctor who actually took the time to educate me on the truth of this. Instead of pushing me towards medication, she urged me to begin a strict elimination diet, stay well hydrated, and to learn to manage stress better. Wow! Imagine what our health care would look like if all western medicine based doctors would prescribe this type of sage advice! 🙌
Learning which foods and lifestyle choices triggered a worsening of my urge to pee was eye👀 opening indeed. Sometimes it was hit or miss, and I would often pay the price by having to get up 7-8 times a night to go to the bathroom. A serendipitous travel situation in 2008 completely changed everything when I discovered that nearly all processed foods were inflammation causing agents. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt in the presence of 100% fresh clean food! Staying well hydrated with filtered water quickly became key to keeping my bladder happy too. I know it may sound counterintuitive to strive for a full bladder to pee less….. Diluting toxins in the bladder makes what’s in the bladder less of an irritant!
Fast forward to 2013 when I was introduced to Young Living products. I had learned to manage my interstitial cystitis as holistically as possible, and in doing so, I had dodged the very real bullet of daily self catheterization that often occurs with people who have severe IC. I still had some nasty flare ups, and was still getting up 4-6 times a night (on average) to pee. One of the “thank you” products I had received from my Young Living monthly subscription order was Sulfurzyme. It was free, looked interesting, and tho I hadn’t really identified a personal need, I decided to take it. According to the YL website, Sulfurzyme may be of value to anyone who wishes to support their joints, range of motion, bone health, metabolic function, immune system, hair and skin. Within two weeks of taking Sulfurzyme faithfully I began noticing enormous changes within my bladder along with a decreased urge to urinate. Around that time, I also began using a DIY face serum recipe which contains Frankincense and Lavender every morning. Should I have been shocked that what I put on my face also happened to make my bladder very happy? In 2014, I was still learning essential oil basics, and this was a lesson to the truth that oils work best in “all the ways” when they are used. Get them out of the bottle and into the air or on your skin. You just never know what might happen with regular consistent use. 😉
I’ve continued to clean up my “issues within my tissues” over the years, and I am so much healthier in mind, body, and spirit than I was when I was in my 30’s. This is a lifestyle, not a “once ‘n done” kind of thing. Freedom is never free, especially in the case of a health condition. I had to be willing to do the hard work, to live like no one else sometimes, and to listen to what my body needed. Everyone has their own story, their own diagnosis, their own emotional journey to recognize. Overcoming ( ____________ ) requires change and the courage and willingness to do so. As they say, “Insanity is doing the same things over and over again, and expecting different results.” I pray you are discovering yourself as you become your own health detective. Learning to read your own health clues and then acting on those clues is true self love. Never forget that each of our bodies is a temple and as such, requires tender loving care and maintenance every single day. You are worth it!
What does your pee say about your health? Part I
Have you noticed that body fluids often take center stage in a crime scene? The same is true in a health detective scenario. A urinalysis may reveal such things as hyperglycemia, diabetes, kidney stones, blood in the urine, or a bacterial infection. Even without an official set of eyeballs and a urinalysis machine, the average Joe (or Jill) can still glean much from examining their “pee life”.
*Urine is a pretty interesting body fluid. As the body breaks down amino acids, ammonia (a potent toxin) is left over as waste. Ammonia is then broken down into urea (predominately by the liver), combined with water, and then flushed out of the body through the kidneys and bladder.
*Urine is 95% water & 5% urea combined with other solids. Those “other solids” typically contain over 3000 chemical compounds which result from daily exposure ……ie: what we eat or drink, drug byproducts, bacterial waste, household chemicals, skin care products, pollution, work related toxins, etc. As you might imagine, chronic exposure to some of these more nefarious compounds can cause some unpleasant effects on the kidneys and bladder over time. Thankfully, we have Young Living clean skincare, the Savvy makeup line, and the Thieves Household Cleaner which can eliminate many routes of daily toxin exposure.
*Urine color is an easy clue to observe. Ideally, urine should be a “pale lemonade” color. If the yellow color is any darker than this, it is usually a sign of dehydration. The more dehydrated a person is, the darker yellow the urine will be. Dehydration can be acute or chronic (often seen in the elderly), and can easily lead to brain fog, headaches, dizziness and constipation. Considering an estimated 75% of the USA population is chronically dehydrated, this may be a VERY IMPORTANT CLUE to monitor regularly.
*Red or pink urine may be a clue that there is blood in urine (Time to involve a health professional). Bear in mind, foods such as beets, blackberries, and rhubarb may turn urine pink in some people!
*Urine which has a brownish to orangish tinge may also reflect dehydration or an underlying liver condition. (Hint: if urine is dark and stools are light in color, the liver is likely struggling). There is a serious medical condition called rhabdomyolysis that can also cause this color change. Rhabo is caused by muscle breakdown in the body, and can happen as a result of a traumatic event, over exertion, or as a possible side effect from statins (a class of cholesterol lowering medications) and some of the newer vaccines. A medication called phenazopyridine will usually turn urine reddish orange as a non harmful side effect.
*Cloudy urine is often a sign of an impending urinary tract infection or kidney stones.
*Foaming or “fizzy” urine may indicate excess protein in the diet. If this type of urine is a regular occurrence, it may be time to bring it to the attention of your favorite healthcare professional.
If you’d like to show your 💛kidneys and bladder💛 a little extra love, let me introduce you to Young Living’s K&B liquid supplement. Those who know and use K&B love her well and do not want to imagine life without her!
*NingXia Red is another way to shower some serious love on your 💛kidneys and bladder💛 (as well as the rest of your body).
See you next week…. We’ll chat about the clues behind urine odor and frequent trips to the bathroom.
Today’s the day we say goodbye to 2019, and while most are discussing plans to hit 2020 hard and heavy, I’d like to introduce a thought on behalf of your adrenal glands: consider allowing yourself some time this winter season to rest and recover.
YOU KNOW HOW WE POWERED THRU THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS…..ALL THE WHILE SECRETLY WISHING WE COULD JUST CURL UP ON THE COUCH WITH A GOOD BOOK AND READ OURSELVES INTO A BLISSFUL WINTER’S NAP? IF YOU HAVE THAT FEELING, YOU’RE NOT ALONE…. THAT’S YOUR BODY TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING. IT NEEDS TIME TO REST AND RECOVER FROM THE RAT 🐁 RACE! WE ARE NOT DESIGNED TO RUN 24/7/365.
❄️Winter is a time for fallen leaves, hibernation…. an energy reset. That’s an inaction not just reserved for nature! Prior to man-made electricity….. it was what we humans did too. We haven’t changed ya’ll….. allowing ourselves time to be still and quiet (ESPECIALLY in the Winter) will help boost internal health and go a long way towards setting the tone for your health in 2020.
❄️Winter is especially important for an adrenal gland / kidney / bladder reset. (Think water….. in the winter, water tends to slow down to a crawl…. especially if frozen).
Our adrenal glands are the little party hat shaped organ that sit atop the kidneys. They produce the stress hormone cortisol….. an absolutely critical factor in regulating metabolism, and helping us “power thru”. Too much tho?….. and trouble begins to brew. The body cannot keep up. Dysregulation occurs, and adrenal fatigue may result.
🔥Common signs of adrenal fatigue: deep, long lasting exhaustion, water retention, weight gain, lack of motivation, depression/anxiety, brain fog, insomnia, feelings of chronic stress.🔥
The emotion of fear is based in the kidneys, and allowing chronic stress into your life will only guarantee a fear based emotional lifestyle. #lovenotfear
Stay tuned…. Part II is to come….. but in the meantime….. that bucket list for 2020?….. consider allowing time for a winter reset so that you don’t fizzle and can be all you are meant to be in 2020 with vibrant health! 😘
Hugs and Love xxooxx ~ Liz
Have you ever felt like you were at a crossroads in your life? I’m not talking about a midlife crisis, but rather something bigger and more profound.
About 3 years ago, we took a pretty long road trip to pick up a bull in a remote (VERY REMOTE) area in West Texas. I mean…… drive to the very edge of civilization and then head 3 hours further…..the kind of remote that requires a physical map instead of cell phone/ GPS service. Without a map or good navigational tools, you’re sunk kind of remote. As you might guess, we confidently drove down the road….. in the wrong direction because we thought we knew where we were going. It cost us about 3 extra hours that day. We were reminded the value of an old school map and a dose of intuition!
This kind of parallels the last 15+ years of my life. I have been a pharmacist since 1991. I graduated, and like most health professionals…. upon graduation…… was pretty sure I had a really good grasp of the profession. I’m not saying I was God’s gift to pharmacy (hardly!), but I certainly thought I knew enough to make a difference in people’s lives. I toodled along in pharmacy doing the absolute best job I could do (because that’s my nature….. never tackle anything halfway).
When I was in my 30’s I thought we were living the dream. Charlie and I both had good jobs, had bought our farm, and had begun building our home (by hand, ourselves…. because that’s how we do things…. with all our heart and soul). We worked super hard…. 40-60 hrs a week at our respective jobs and then swung hammers and wielded paint brushes on nights and weekends for about 3 years before completing our home. It was somewhere during that time that I broke my wrist, was subsequently diagnosed with osteopenia , and both Charlie and I were diagnosed with high cholesterol. In hindsight, that broken wrist was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I won’t go into great detail (you can read more about that journey here and the second half here), but it was a big fat hairy road sign to stop and assess what I thought I knew.
That broken wrist reopened a different avenue of education for me…. only this time, it was not subsidized by the pharmaceutical industry and there was some skin in the game…. my own. When you are a pharmacist, you’re in the business of knowing side effects of meds. The good news is…. you know the potential side effects. The bad news is…. you know the potential side effects. I wasn’t willing to go down that road given the med options they were dangling in front of me. My gut said no way, and once my research started it changed my life forever. It all began with raw milk. From there, my research extended into finding access to truly healthy and healing foods. Each time I thought I knew enough, I found that more pieces to health puzzles were MIA…. not just my puzzle, but everyone else’s too.
About the same time, I went to work at a pharmacy that specialized in rare diseases, oncology, auto-immune disorders, and infertility (which frequently has an auto-immune component). Sadly, this pharmacy represented the outcome of people living in toxin filled environments. Silly me. I still thought I was helping people. I guess I was. Kindness matters, especially when you are dealing with life altering body dysfunctions….. but kindness and pharmaceuticals don’t dissolve the problems these patients face every day.
Another personal puzzle piece fell into place after I was diagnosed with something called interstitial cystitis and discovered (after 9 years of no REM sleep and frequent trips to the bathroom), that it could be managed well with a fresh and healthy, but limited, diet. Expensive medication and daily catheterization are the common treatments. Ummm, no thank you. I would later learn that IC is part of the autoimmune disorder family. Not surprisingly, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the USA are card carrying autoimmune disorder patients. I had been given my card.
Eight years ago, my dad was diagnosed with dementia. It made no sense to me and we had no family history of dementia. I backtracked the onset to a statin drug (commonly prescribed for high cholesterol). In the finest of the fine print of this class of drugs you will find information alluding to possible memory loss with these drugs. Dig deeply and you’ll find it. I thank God for leading me to raw milk to lower my cholesterol instead of that which stole my dad’s memory. I don’t blame the pharmaceutical industry for burying the whole ‘memory loss’ side effect in the fine print. I mean, would you want to take a drug that could potentially rob you of your memory as a side effect? Ummmm, no thank you.
By now, I’ve truly begun second guessing pharmaceuticals. I began educating myself on everything I could get my hands on that gave honest and documented proof that maybe what I knew wasn’t EVERYTHING…… that perhaps there were some gaps in my education and knowledge base. I dug deep deep deep into gut health and discovered the link to most autoimmune disorders. I studied sleep patterns, herbs, thyroid and hormones. I picked up yoga and began healing my posture and my stress level. That led to my recent certification (7 years later) as a Christian yoga instructor.
I had a life changing accident 3 years ago this week, and (eventually… after a 3 month recovery) walked out of it when I should have been an amputee. Last week I walked a 37 minute 5K with many close friends. Thank God. Despite the severity of my injury, I have no pain day to day and am not on any medication. I’ve got oils, supplements and a little thing called Dolphin MPS that rocked my recovery world so much so that I decided to begin taking classes so that I could help others as I was helped…. another tool in my toolbox that wasn’t related to pharmacy.
The last 18 years, by serendipity or Divine design (I believe the latter), I have been gathering tools to help people (myself included) heal physically and emotionally. What had started out as a mission to care for myself and my family gradually extended to include friends and strangers who have become dear friends. The more truth in healing I gleaned, the more uncomfortable I became in my white lab coat. Back in the day, we took an oath to do no harm (that oath has been changed and no longer includes that phrase).
Once you know something, you can’t unknow it.
I have grown uncomfortable in my pharmacist skin (and coat)….. able to speak only truths that are approved talking points regulated by the pharmaceutical industry.
Once I found that there are better, safer, more life sustainable ways to heal, it became harder and harder to deny people access to these opportunities in wellness……. because they exist for the taking.
Every day, people make unconscious choices that affect their health….. making poor food choices, drinking chemically treated water, watching too much media and not exercising enough…. taking meds without researching them thoroughly first. They think a pill will solve their ills. I’m here to tell you that medications are simply adding to the already hefty toxin load within all of us. The heavier the load, the sicker the individual.
I’ve had several people in the last many months call me a healer. I don’t claim that moniker. I feel more like a shepherd, leading those who are thirsty to a safe place to drink, eat, and rest. It gives me great peace, and it makes my heart sing a song it’s never sung before.
I have straddled both worlds now for many years, and being true to myself is becoming increasingly difficult despite the six figure income that comes with the white coat. I fill prescriptions for people I have grown to love in the community, knowing that they can be helped in other ways that actually heal. I respect my duty as a pharmacist and do not step outside that boundary……but I feel God’s hand firmly on my back telling me to Go. Do. Become. Shepherd those I send your way.
And so I prayed. “Lord, if it is your will, send me those who need me.” I began praying this daily about 5 months ago. God has a sense of humor. I’m sure of it. About a month ago, I had to alter my prayer a tiny bit. ” Lord, if it is your will, can I have a little breather so I can adequately help those you sent so far? ” God is so very good.
I would have never in a million years guessed that I would step away from pharmacy more than halfway thru my career. Pharmacy has taught me so much. Perhaps most importantly, it has given me the gift of scientific discernment: the ability to understand fact from fiction or skewed data.
When I was a young pup out of pharmacy school, I thought my life was set on auto pilot. I couldn’t have been more wrong. God took me down a completely different path, guiding me and giving me tools along the way: pharmacy, nutrition, exercise, yoga, health coaching, scientific based knowledge of essential oils, supplements, and herbs, Dolphin MPS, and most importantly the empathy acquired from personal experiences.
God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.
Here’s to the journey! I can’t wait to see what the second half of my life holds.
Hugs and love, Liz
PS: I am not completely stepping away from the pharmacy just yet. You will still see me in a white coat one or two days a week.