This is branded content for Seipel Group.
When it comes to health, bladders are usually overlooked but your bladder health has a huge impact on your ability to enjoy your holidays. And at this time of year disruptions in routine, increased stress or excitement, and festive food and drink can exacerbate bladder symptoms and lead to increased frequency (going too often), urgency (rushing for the toilet) and bladder accidents.
You could say Christmas is the season of bladder irritants. You are likely to be consuming more chocolate, coffee, tea, alcohol or spicy food than usual, and these are all known bladder irritants. As are the cakes, cookies and sweets that have high fat and sugar levels.
So maybe do some substituting. Chocolate, for example, is acidic which irritates the bladder and it also contains caffeine, another major bladder irritant. Carob is a yummy alternative to chocolate (once you get used to it!).
Wine is also acidic, which is what gives it that nice crisp edge, but this too can irritate sensitive bladders. For wines, the University of Washington suggests trying a late harvest dessert wine. The grapes stay on the vines longer so they have a lower acid content, and red wines (cabernet or merlot) also have a lower acidity. Unfortunately champagne is the most acidic and it adds the fizzy factor, another thing sensitive bladders react to!
You can prep-up for the silly season by focusing on a more healthy diet (more vegetables, lean meats and fibre) in the lead-up, and increasing your daily dose of Urox*. This is a preventative strategy that helps strengthen the bladder muscles and calm overactive bladder symptoms.
Sometimes it feels like your bladder has gone on holiday instead of working as it should. This could be a description of 'stress urinary incontinence' (SUI), which is involuntary bladder leakage when you laugh, cough, jump, sneeze or stand-up after sitting or lying down. In these instances, bladder leakage is caused by pressure on weakened muscles. Your bladder is underworking, not because it's taking a break, but because it has lost some functionality due to many factors ranging from lifestyle to age.
Overactive bladder (OAB), is the other major cause for bladder leakage. This is when the bladder muscles start to contract involuntarily, producing an urgent need to urinate (day and night), even though there may not be much urine in the bladder. And bladder accidents happen if you don't reach the bathroom in time. It's as if your bladder is now working overtime and maybe it does need a holiday.
The cause of OAB is not really known and is linked to the brain telling the bladder it needs to empty when it is only partially full. OAB affects self-confidence and outlook, and the sleep disturbance caused by waking frequently during the night to urinate, has flow-on effects of loss of energy and reduced quality of life.
Studies have shown a correlation between perceived stress levels and OAB (although there is a chicken-and-egg debate on which comes first). But it is now being proposed that managing psychological health is an important part of managing your bladder health.
When you're anxious or nervous it's common to go to the bathroom frequently. This can be due to many things including a fight-or-flight response which triggers a release of hormones that interfere with the hormones that usually keep the bladder relaxed; or a tightening of the pelvic floor muscles.
Holidays disrupt routines and that stresses the body including the urinary system. Along with the excitement of travel, for example, your nervous system operates more intensely and muscles, including your bladder, simultaneously become more tense which can create urinary frequency. So it's ideal to keep routines going, especially daily exercise, which promotes mental health and is great for managing stress.
Having Urox® on hand helps too. This Australian herbal formula improves bladder control thus reducing worry over accidents and the stress of always locating the nearest toilet. Research shows Urox® reduces symptoms of overactive bladder (urgency, day and night frequency, and incontinence) by improving the tone of the bladder wall and surrounding area. Urox® also reduces the excessive neural firing that occurs with OAB, and helps the bladder fill and empty correctly.* With your bladder in better shape, you'll enjoy your holidays more.
Urox® is available at Terry White Chemmart and all leading pharmacies.
*Schoendorfer et al, BMC-CAM, January, 2018. Research funded by the Australian Federal Government and Seipel Group. For relief of symptoms of medically diagnosed overactive bladder. If symptoms persist see your health care practitioner.