What is Interstitial Cystitis?

Natural Treatments

Interstitial cystitis or IC is a multi-factorial syndrome characterized by pelvic pain, urinary bladder inflammation, frequent urination and urgency.  The pain can range from mild to debilitating.  It is a syndrome that waxes and wanes, affects primarily women, however men can also be affected.  IC is typically diagnosed after urinary tract infections and other pelvic diseases have been ruled out.  Many people with IC also struggle with fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and asthma.  Stress and anxiety are known to exacerbate IC symptoms.  Menstruation and intercourse often trigger pain.

Interstitial Cystitis or Lower Urinary Dysfunction Epithelia in men is characterized by symptoms similar to an acute lower urinary tract infection but without an identifiable pathogen.  Symptoms include bladder pain, urinary frequency, nocturia, urgency and pain with urination. (more…)

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Trapped in an Abusive Relationship

Violence against women is a public health problem.  How can each of us contribute to changing the conditions in our society that perpetuate domestic violence?

Domestic violence is willful intimidation, physical assault, sexual assault and other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against the other.  Verbal and emotional abuse almost always precede physical abuse.  The statistics are astounding.  One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.  There are 3.3 million children in the United States exposed to violence in the home.  Children are so deeply affected that many develop post traumatic stress symptoms.  Witnessing violence between parents is the strongest risk factor for perpetuating violence from generation to generation.  Domestic violence cuts across every demographic group.  The most common batterer is one who uses violence to get his partner to do what he wants without regard for what she wants.  Battering is considered a learned behavior.  Domestic violence is one of the most underreported crimes.  While there is some violence in gay and lesbian relationships, research points to less physical harm in lesbian relationships and more physical harm in short term but not long term gay male relationships.

Research shows that middle class men are more likely to use violence within their family.  (more…)

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Are you concerned about the health of your skin?

Our skin is the largest organ in the body.  It is the interface between our internal world and the external environment.  The skin is a reflection of inner health and there are many influences on the skin such as nutrition, hormones, medication side effects, stress, gastrointestinal health and inflammation.

Whenever I see someone with a skin problem, I look for a deeper issue.  I review diet, exercise, family history, hormones, digestive issues and stress.  There is often a connection between digestive issues and the skin.  Gas, bloating, constipation and inadequate hydrochloric acid often accompany skin disorders.  Treatment focuses on healing the gut which insures that proper nutrients get to the skin and the rest of the body.  When there is a leaky gut, this means that the digestive tract mucosa is inflamed and the tight junctions of the intestines have loosened and undigested food and toxins are absorbed.  The immune system then becomes over-reactive.  The result is a vicious cycle of inflammation and further loss of the integrity of the intestinal barrier.  What can often result from this process is the development of food sensitivities and both bacterial and yeast overgrowth. The first step to healing is a formula containing some blend of L-glutamine, slippery elm, DGL and other healing herbs.  I often follow this process with a general cleanse and challenge.  A challenge provides significant feedback if there are symptoms (more…)

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Am I gluten sensitive, gluten intolerant or have Celiac Disease?

If you have celiac disease you are by definition gluten intolerant and gluten sensitive.  If you are gluten intolerant and do not have celiac disease it means that when you avoid gluten your symptoms are relieved.  Food sensitivity means that when you eliminate the offending food your symptoms go away.  To be more specific you may notice that a predictable recurring set of symptoms is relieved when gluten is removed from your diet.  You may also find that you are able to eat gluten occasionally if you are gluten sensitive.

What is Celiac Disease?  It is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the gastrointestinal system.  Celiac Disease is the body attacking itself and the target is the villi of the small intestines.  Villi are the little hair like structures that enable us to absorb the nutrients we need.  When a genetically susceptible individual consumes gluten the villi become inflamed and flattened which over time damages the absorptive surface of the small intestine.  Resulting nutrient deficiencies may include iron, calcium, folate and vitamin B12.  If the damage progresses then there is malabsorption of carbohydrates, fats, fat soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K) and protein.  Celiac disease can affect an individual at any age.  I have often seen it diagnosed as a causative factor in osteoporosis, pancreatitis, various neurological symptoms, and miscarriages.

What is the prevalence of Celiac Disease?  It affects approximately 1% (more…)

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Enhancing Your Sleep

Insufficient sleep is probably the most prevalent sleep disorder in America.  Our busy lives and pressure to get things done and get ahead, plus financial worries are typically sleep disrupters.  A lack of balance in life contributes to lack of balance in mind, body and sleep.

There are many factors contributing to problems with sleep and it is essential to identify the underlying cause and address it on an individual basis.  Inadequate sleep affects the ability to process information, and affects concentration, focus and memory.

There are several types of sleep disturbance, an inability to fall asleep, waking up throughout the night and waking up in reaction to disturbing dreams.  Difficulty falling asleep is often accompanied by having difficulty slowing down the mind, anxiety, stress, too much stimulation, worry and emotional turbulence which may include any feeling/issue that is unresolved.

Individuals suffering from PTSD often become hypervigilant at night and have difficulty calming the mind and body.  People who suffer from depression often have difficulty staying asleep or sleep too much.  Chronic pain patients may have difficulty sleeping and lack of sleep in turn amplifies their pain.  When a person is chronically stressed, then there may be a disruption in cortisol rhythm and this in turn can affect the feedback system of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal gland and consequently affect sleep.  (more…)

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