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!