Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do You Have to Pee All The Time?

Because I do.

And no, I'm not pregnant. 

This started about a year ago, and has gotten progressively worse over time. At first it was just that I seemed to be in the bathroom every hour. I didn't think much of it because I drink a lot of water. Then it became every half hour. More recently I've had some bouts where I literally had to pee five minutes after going! Imagine trying to get a good night's sleep???

It didn't matter if I was drinking water or not. I could go hours without drinking but still have to use the bathroom. And it wasn't just the urge...every time I sat on the toilet, I swear I would pee a river!

Now I'll tell you. I've had bladder infections before, and this did not feel like a bladder infection. I don't even know how to describe it, except that it didn't feel normal.

When this first began, I went to the clinic at Bastyr and was given homeopathic yeast infection medication, which strangely helped. But then the symptoms came back full force after a weak period of eating sweets. After that it didn't seem to matter how I ate. The problem wouldn't go away.

Actually, let me rephrase that. It did matter how I ate. I couldn't get rid of the problem by eating a certain way. However, I did notice that eating certain foods would trigger those intense bouts of peeing every five minutes. For me those foods were things like peanuts, almonds, and definitely sugar.

My doctor has been wonderful and my headaches have been relatively nonexistent since seeing her as long as I'm avoiding a laundry list of foods. But I couldn't help but be frustrated that none of the supplements she gave me (and we tried  many different ones...not exactly wonderful for my bank account...) made a difference.

After my last appointment, I was feeling quite defeated. I've pretty much given up on traditional doctors, and I was tired of spending money trying things that weren't working.

Then I had a breakthrough. 

I was re-reading my copy of this book and in a moment of desperation decided to try the fast recommended in the book. The purpose of the fast is to regulate your blood sugar, but the author states that it should only be undertaken if you are insulin resistant, not if you're hypoglycemic. He also cautions that it should only be done with doctor supervision and that there are specific supplements your doctor should be helping you with. With all these yellow lights, I had never felt comfortable trying the fast.

That day I didn't care about taking precautions. I just wanted to be able to go to the grocery store without using their restroom twice in one shopping trip.

During the fast, you're supposed to drink a mix much like the master cleanse: water with grade B maple syrup and fresh lemon or lime juice. You have to drink every 15 minutes so that your blood sugar never drops. The author notes that you may have to pee often due to drinking so much.

The opposite happened to me. After a day, I began to notice that the uncomfortable feeling and constant urge to pee was diminishing.  I was actually having to use the bathroom less rather than more!

Lightbulb moment. My bladder problem was related to my blood sugar.

I stayed on the fast for 3 days, during which I noticed that the one time I felt like I needed to pee more was when I forgot to drink every fifteen minutes and my blood sugar dropped.

This was when I began to make some connections. I had always felt like the bladder problem was worse when I was eating paleo, would get better if I caved and ate something super carby, but then would get worse again hours later. Now I realize it wasn't paleo that was the problem. I just wasn't doing it the right way for my body. 

I realized I needed to stabilize my blood sugar levels, so I immediately began eating again the way I used to when I was at Jenny Craig, which is a plan that works well for diabetics.

I began limiting my starches (grains, sweet potatoes, etc.) and fruits to one serving (approximately half a cup) per meal. At Jenny Craig, I would do two servings per meal, but I suspected that might be too much for me right now. I made sure to include protein in each meal, and went back to eating every two to three hours. Snacks were a small amount of carbs with protein or healthy fats. Meals would be about half a cup of a starch or fruit, protein, fat and vegetables.

Within days I noticed a big difference.

Since I've begun eating this way, I have also been transitioning into doing the autoimmune paleo protocol. I've tried this before, but I'm now convinced that I wasn't doing it the way my body needed me to. Because I crave food less on paleo, I end up eating at irregular times, sometimes going all day without food. But now that I've realized that keeping my blood sugar steady is so important, I've continued to eat at regular intervals. I'm also including fruit, sweet potatoes, or winter squash more often than I did when I tried paleo before. I'm realizing that I need small amounts of carbs throughout the day to keep the bladder problem at bay. Not too many, not too few. Just a small amount. This seems to be working for me right now. At least in terms of my bladder.

I am always hesitant these days to post about how I'm eating and what is or isn't working. I know from experience that it seems to change a lot. I also don't want to lead anyone in the wrong direction because I truly believe our bodies are all different and that what's right for mine may not be right for yours. On the other hand, if you're dealing with the constant urge to urinate like I've been, then you are probably feeling as desperate and frustrated as I am. And so this post is a continuation of my desire for us all to share our struggles and our triumphs as we continue on this collective healing journey. With that being said, if you've found a different solution to this problem that works for you, please let us know in the comments so that we can all benefit from your experiences as well.


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I am not trying to tell you that if you do as I do, your bladder problems will go away as well. If you have to pee all the time, please be smarter than I am and go see a doctor. Bladder infections can lead to kidney infections. And since I recently had a friend end up in the hospital because of this, I can tell you it's definitely serious! So anyway, I'm just sharing what's working for me these days. Consider it a story, not a prescription for your health.  


aseafish said...

Interesting story. This is fascinating, and I can only imagine the frustration of being so limited in where you could go and for how long---not to mention the lack of sleep.

Thanks for the detailed thoughts and for your candor.

Nancy B. said...

I love the photo - I don't think I've ever seen anything so wet! Interesting idea about blood sugar. For the past few days, I've tried Paleo AIP and the inflammation is fine, but when I exercise I get tired. Not muscle or cardio tired, but AI tired from deep inside. I feel like grease is dragging me down. I wonder if it could be a sugar thing. I definitely don't eat as often on AIP; I'm just not hungry. So I'm back to my patchwork diet and will just try eliminating one thing at a time to see if there's improvement. Paleo sounds really good, it just doesn't quite feel as good as it sounds.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I totally understand.... my husband jokes that I can write a book about where all of the best bathrooms in the city are. I am also hypoglycemic - had never thought that the two might be connected. Thanks for the post.

Shelly Richardson said...

Thank you for posting this... Though I do not have the pee all the time problem, I do know if my blood sugar drops too low I have to pee a lot. It is less frequent that it happens since going gluten free and my body actually absorbs some nutrients. But, this really makes me think about the trouble I have with the AI protocol for paleo. I always think it is the grains, but when I eat them I feel yucky. So maybe it is the carbs. I need more carbs. Thanks for the reminder that its okay to think outside the box, be ause our bodies are all different. Now I am off to plan a new menu for the week. :) Oh, and congrats on finding the answer! Hope you are getting some well rested nights!

Gabby @ the veggie nook said...

Wow thank you for posting this! I have to pee at least every hour, if not more often and I do eat a lot of carbs! I'm going to try this low-starch, low fruit thing and see if it helps :) Really, really, thank you! I was really starting to worry...

Iris said...

Gabby, Make sure you're including lean protein and healthy fats with your meals and snacks too. And definitely check in with your doctor if you haven't already. :)


Wendy said...

This was one of my major gluten symptoms. I diagnosed myself with IC. I came across The Better Bladder Book online when I finally started putting it all together when my multiple doctors were not.

I have had to cut non-organic tomatoes, peanuts, strawberries and of course the gluten. I also tend to stay away from citrus fruit.

I am glad you found the culprit. It is miserable to live like that.

Chris said...

Thank you! I, too, have hypoclymeia and I struggle to balance my blood sugar. I have found that eliminating carbs is not good...I do not get hungry but then I get the "dizzy" feeling when your blood sugar drops. On the opposite side, I cannot have too many carbs. Right now, I am trying to strike the balance of how much is enough. I also have fructose malasorption so I cannot have fructose sugar. How do you find the carbs from quinoa or buckwheat treating your body? My digestion is at its worst in the late morning and mid afternoon. Any suggestions? Do you find coffee affects your blood sugar?

What are your thoughts of having fruit and protein/fat together? I have heard that fruit shouls be consumed alone, but I do not tolerate it well by itself due to the fructose malasorption.

Thanks so much!

Iris said...

Hi Chris,

I'm doing completely autoimmune paleo right now, so no buckwheat or quinoa. I actually find that quinoa is really hard on my body though, although I know that's not the case for most people. And I don't drink coffee, so I can't speak to that in any way.

I personally eat fruit with protein or some fat like avocado or coconut oil. I've also heard that fruits should be consumed alone, but in trying to keep my blood sugar balanced, that doesn't work for me.

And I don't have any suggestions for late morning/mid afternoon difficult digestion except perhaps to keep track of your eating habits for a few days to see if you can find any common triggers.

Good luck!

Tahirih Goffic said...

This was totally me! Well, it still is sometimes...I discovered that I had systemic candida, which thrives on sugar. I did a candida detox for two and a half months and all of my symptoms disappeared! It was wonderful. When I went off of the detox, I have been trying to eat gluten free, because it is similair to the candida diet, but suddenly all of my symptoms came back. I discovered that all of the different flours I was using (amaranth, rice and tapioca) are very high on the glycemic index and spike your blood sugar. So now, it's back to whole grains, veg, and protein.

Fiery Kate said...

I have been subscribed to your updates since I found your "You might be crazy" post accidentally while trying to find information on food allergies...and also immediately called my doctor to get my thyroid tested. All your symptoms, and for sure the constant need to pee, match up to my symptoms over the last 10 years. I just never made the connection that they could be related. My appointment is tomorrow, so we'll see what the verdict is!

I hope you know how much you and other bloggers are helping others by sharing your stories. Like you, I've been trying to piece together this frustrating puzzle for far too long and the medical system has been no help.

Gretchen said...

This is amazing. I have always had to pee a lot but it has gotten worse in the last couple of years. I went gluten-free about 1.5 years ago and I'm also hypoglycemic. I NEVER considered there could be a connection there. I will definitely look into it. I have mentioned to 2 doctors my peeing problem but neither was concerned. But I've been more than annoyed by it. Especially when it interrupts intimate time with my husband! THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY!!!

Anonymous said...

For many years I struggled with this problem; going as often as every 20 minutes. I stumbled across a documentary some years ago about interstitial cystitis and it got me thinking that certain foods may be aggrevating my bladder. As a consequence, I cut out caffeine (which was also responsible for my heart palpitations). This did improve the frequency and for many years I was back to "normal". Years later, it began again and I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. However, the gluten free diet didn't solve this problem. Through process of elimination, I determined the cause was lactose. My diet is now lactose free and I am not experiencing the frequency to the same degree and feel that whilst I still go perhaps more frequently than some people, it is no longer affecting my life. I also have many other food allergies including: tomatoes, citrus, yeast (to name but a few). I found that cutting these out of the diet also helped (not only with the frequency, but with gastritis). It is interesting to hear your experience and I will also try this to see if further improvement can be gained. I hope that all you sufferers out there, find something that can help you! It is worth trying anything (as long as it is medically safe).

Dawn Tasher said...

Have you heard about oxalates? They cause issues such as interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia, even chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. There is a relationship between oxalates and candida although it is a chicken in the egg situation and causation is not agreed upon. Your comments about peanuts and almonds make me think oxalates. Chocolate would be another biggie, and spinach, and chard...many healthy foods could aggravate this problem. Here is an interesting link:
but the best source of information is the Yahoo group "Trying Low Oxalates". Hope that helps!


Fiery Kate said...

btw, this article discusses exactly what you are trying to solve with your blood sugar and your thyroid issues.


Related Posts with Thumbnails