“Common Diseases that Affect more Women, than men”
Women are more likely than men to be affected by some of the more common diseases simply because of the ways the female body is structured. For example, urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men, which is also true for other urinary tract problems.
“Urinary Frequency” is the term used when a person needs to use the bathroom more often than usual.
Urination is the way the body gets rid of waste fluids. Urine contains water, uric acid, toxins and waste filtered from within the body. The kidneys play a key role in this process.
Urine stays in the urinary bladder until it reaches a point of fullness. At this point, you will have an urge to urinate and the urine is expelled from the body.
Urinary frequency is not the same as urinary incontinence, which refers to having little control over the bladder. Urinary frequency just means needing to visit the bathroom to urinate more often. It can occur alongside urinary incontinence, but it is not the same.
“Urinary Frequency” can be defined as needing to urinate more than 7 times in a 24-hour period, while drinking about 2 liters of fluid. Many people urinate between 6 and 7 times over a 24-hour period.
However, individuals differ, and most people only see a doctor when urination becomes so frequent, that they feel uncomfortable. Children, because they have smaller urinary bladders, urinate more frequently and this is normal.
Urination is a complex process, involving various body systems. A range of changes can make a urinary system more active resulting in more frequent urination.
Lifestyle based causes may include drinking a lot of fluids, especially if they contain caffeine or alcohol. At night, this can interrupt the sleep cycle with frequent urges to urinate.
If you wish to reduce your fluid intake, do not reduce the amount of WATER you drink. 8 – 10 glasses of water are recommended every day.
Frequent urination can also develop as a habit or it can be a sign of kidney or ureter problems, urinary bladder problems, or another medical condition such as diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, pregnancy or prostate gland problems.
Other causes or related factors can include:
- Diuretics, such as chlorothiazide, that make your urinate fluid from your body
- Food and drinks that act as a diuretic
- Stroke and other brain or nervous system conditions
- Urinary tract infections
- Tumor or mass in the pelvic area
- Interstitial cystitis, a type of inflammation of the bladder wall
- Overactive Bladder (OAB) syndrome, which causes involuntary bladder contractions that lead one to feel a sudden urge to have to urinate
- Bladder cancer
- Bladder or Kidney stones
- Urinary incontinence
- Urethral stricture
- Radiation of the pelvis, such as during cancer treatment
- Colon diverticulitis, where small bulging outpouching sacs develop in the wall of the large intestine
- A sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia
Symptoms of Polyuria
One of the main symptoms is urinating frequently. Frequency is different from incontinence, which involves an “involuntary” leakage of urine. If there are other symptoms, they may indicate more serious problems.
“Nocturia” for example, is the urination at night, during the sleep cycle. This can also be a symptom of diabetes insipidus or diabetes mellitus.
Other symptoms that may need further attention include:
- Pain or discomfort while urinating
- Urine that is bloody, cloudy or an unusual color
- Gradual loss of bladder control or urinary incontinence
- Difficulty urinating despite the urge to do so
- Discharge from the Vagina or penis
- An increase in appetite or thirst
- Fever or chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Low back or side pain
If other symptoms are present, or if urinary frequency is affecting your quality of life, it’s important to see your Doctor.
Frequent urination can indicate a kidney infection. Untreated, this can permanently damage the kidneys. In addition, the bacteria that cause the infection can potentially enter the bloodstream, infecting other areas of the body. This can be life-threatening, and it needs medical attention.
Here is the information you need to give your Doctor to assist in the correct diagnosis of your problem:
While your Doctor will obtain important diagnostic information during your office visit, you can also help by providing information about what was going on at home, in the days or months prior to your office visit.
Preparing a simple information booklet (just pages paper-clipped together), can be of great value to your Doctor and include the following:
- When the frequent urination began
- What is the pattern i.e. what times of day does it occur?
- The current medications you are taking
- The various amounts of fluids you consume in a day. Fluids should be specifically identified.
- Water is NOT to be grouped in with other fluids such as coffee, tea, alcohol, fruit juices and soda. Keep the fluids separate.
- You should always drink 6 – 8 glasses of water per day as water is required for efficient bodily functions.
Other changes from the norm, should also be included as factors in any diagnosis.
For example, have there been any changes in the color, smell or consistency of the urine?
Are you drinking much more alcohol or caffeine than usual?
Have you recently filled out a new prescription?
Here’s what your Doctor may do:
- Have your urine sample analyzed for any abnormality
- Do an ultrasound for a visual image of the kidney
- Take X-ray or CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis
- Do any neurological tests to detect any nerve disorders
- Test you for any sexually transmitted infections
- Refer you to a Specialist such as a Urologist or a Gynecologist
Urodynamic Tests assess the effectiveness of the urinary bladder in storing and releasing urine and they examine the function of the urethra:
Simple Observation Tests Include;
- Recording the time, it takes to produce a urinary stream
- Noting the amount of urine produced
- Gauging the ability to stop urinating mid-stream
To obtain these precise measurements, the health professional may use imaging equipment to observe the bladder filling and emptying and monitors to measure pressure inside the bladder.
Other sensors are used to record muscle and nerve activity.
Your Doctor may ask you to change the fluids you are drinking or to stop certain medications before the test. You may be required to arrive at the clinic with a full bladder. Drink water to fill your bladder.
Treatments that may be required:
Treatments will depend on the underlying cause.
If the consultation leads to a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, treatment will aim to keep high blood sugar levels under control.
For a bacterial kidney infection, the typical course of treatment is antibiotic and painkiller therapy.
If the cause is an overactive bladder, a medication known as an anticholinergic may be used. These prevent abnormal involuntary detrusor muscle contractions from occurring in the wall of the bladder.
If needed, medication therapy will be prescribed and monitored by a Physician.
Prevention Techniques that Work
Urinary frequency like many other problems, can improve with a change to a more whole foods diet.
Limiting alcohol and caffeine and increasing your water intake can also really help.
Avoid foods that irritate the bladder or act as a diuretic such as chocolate, spicy foods and artificial sweeteners. Fruits and vegetables blended raw as a smoothie will reduce constipation.
When you are constipated, the full rectum puts pressure on the urinary bladder, the urethra, or both; the result – frequent urination.
High blood sugar levels can be lowered by avoiding sugar, glucose and fructose.
Bacterial infections in the gut can be eliminated with daily doses of Structural Silver or Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar.
Used regularly, these products will keep a healthy balance of bacteria present in the gut. Antibiotics will destroy bad bacteria in the short term, but they are indiscriminate: The good bacteria will be destroyed as well. After taking an antibiotic, use probiotics to reinstate the good bacteria and keep to the diet of fresh, unprocessed foods.
What you Need to know about Breast Cancer:
Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in women. It is second to lung cancer as the leading cause of death for women.
Experts say the fear of breast cancer can sometimes be exaggerated, stopping women from going to their doctors for screening or pushing women to make rash decisions about mastectomy, when it may not be necessary.
“There’s lots of treatment for breast cancer,” assures Diane Helentjaris, MD and past president of the American Medical Women’s Association. “It’s not a death sentence.”
She urges women to keep their emotions in perspective and to educate themselves about the issues.
Breast cancer isn’t what it was 20 years ago. Survival rates are climbing, thanks to great awareness, more early detection and advances in treatment. For roughly 250,000 Americans who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful.
For years, Doctors told women to check their own breasts once a month. But studies suggest these exams play a very small role in finding cancer compared to other testing methods. The current thinking is that it’s more important to know your breasts and be aware of any changes, rather than checking them on a regular schedule. If you want to do a self-exam, review the proper technique with your Doctor.
What to do if you find a lump:
First, don’t panic. Eighty percent of breast lumps are not cancerous. They often turn out to be harmless cysts or tissue changes related to your menstrual cycle. But let your Doctor know as soon as possible, if you spot anything unusual in your breast. If it is cancer, the earlier it’s found, the better. And if it isn’t, testing can give you peace of mind.
The only sure way to determine if a lump is cancerous, is to do a biopsy. This means removing a sample of the lump so it can be examined in the lab. Your doctor may be able to do this with a small needle. But you might need surgery to take part of, or the entire lump for testing.
The results will show whether it’s cancer, and if so, what type. There are several forms of breast cancer and treatments are carefully matched to each type.
There are many types of breast cancer surgery, from taking out the area around the lump (lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery) to removing the entire breast (mastectomy.) Talk about the pros and cons of each option with your Doctor to decide what’s right for you.
The earlier you find the disease, the easier it is to treat. Mammograms, an X-Ray of the breast, can show tumors before they get large enough to feel. The American Cancer Society says women with an average risk level (ages 45 – 54), should get a yearly mammogram. Starting at age 55, mammograms can be performed every two years. Continue them as long as you are in good health.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says until you’re 50, you should talk to your Doctor about your need for testing. After that, get a mammogram every 2 years from age 50 to 74. You don’t have to stop at 75; the group just doesn’t assess the pros and cons. That is something you can work out with your Doctor.
Ultrasound and MRI
Your Doctor may order an extra test that takes pictures of the inside of your body. A breast ultrasound can help to find cysts, fluid-filled sacs that most often aren’t cancer. You may get an MRI along with a mammogram as part of your routine testing if you have a higher risk of breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Stages
If breast cancer is the diagnosis, the next step is to figure out how big the tumor is and how much of your body it affects. This process is called staging. Doctors use Stages 0-IV to describe whether cancer is only in the breast or if it has moved into nearby lymph nodes or spread to other organs, like the lungs. Knowing the stage and type of breast cancer will help your Health Care Team create a treatment plan.
The odds of beating breast cancer are strongly tied to how early you find it. The American Cancer Society says 100% of women with Stage 1 breast cancer, live at least 5 years and many women in this group remain cancer-free for good. The more advanced the cancer, the lower this figure becomes. By Stage IV, the 5-year survival rates drop to 22%. But these rates are rising as more effective treatments are found.
Breast Cancer Symptoms
Breast Cancer has no symptoms, but you may notice something you want your Doctor to check.
Keep an eye out for the following:
- A painless lump in the breast
- Changes in breast size or shape
- Swelling in the armpit
- Nipple changes or discharge
- Breast pain can also be a symptom of cancer, but this isn’t common
The American Cancer Society lists the following as “risk factors” for breast cancer, including:
- Increasing age
- Family history of the disease
- Personal history of the disease
- Genes: Nearly 5% to 10% of breast cancer is linked to mutations in certain genes (most commonly the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
- Earlier abnormal breast biopsy
- Earlier Chest radiation
- Early onset of menstruation (before age 12) or menopause after age 55
- Not having children
- Medication use, such as diethylstilbestrol (DES)
- Too much alcohol
Some forms of breast cancer have very specific symptomatic profiles:
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
This rare, fast-growing type rarely causes a distinct lump. Instead, breast skin can become thick, red, and look “pitted” like an orange peel. This area might also feel warm or tender and have small lumps that look like a rash.
Hormone-Sensitive Breast Cancer
Some types of breast cancer are fueled by the hormones estrogen or progesterone. Your Doctor will test for hormone receptors – proteins that pick-up signals from the hormone that tell cells to grow. A biopsy can show if a tumor has receptors for estrogen (its’ PR-Positive). About 2 out of 3 breast cancers are hormone sensitive. There are several medications that keep the hormones from causing further cancer growth.
HER2-Positive Breast Cancer
In about 20% of patients, breast cancer cells have too much of a protein called HER2/neu. This type is known as HER2-Positive and it tends to spread faster than other forms. It’s important to know whether a tumor is HER2-Positive, because there are special treatments for this type of cancer.
Reducing Your Risks for Breast Cancer
Women who breastfeed their children for the normal length of time (6 months exclusively and up to 2 years or beyond partially), can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 25%. You can also reduce your risk by maintaining a low BMI and by getting regular exercise. You should also cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink.
Birth control pills and some forms of hormone therapy after menopause can boost the odds. But the risk seems to go back to normal after you stop taking these medications. Good lifestyle choices can also help survival rates. Research says physical activity can lower the chances of your cancer returning. Plus, it’s a positive mood-booster as well.
Many women who choose to have a breast removed, choose to get reconstructive surgery. This replaces the skin, nipple and breast tissue that are lost during a mastectomy. It can be done with a breast implant or with tissue from somewhere else in your body, like your tummy. Some women choose to start the process right after their mastectomy. But you can also have the procedure done months or even years later.
Instead of reconstruction, some women choose to be fitted for a “breast form.” This is a breast shaped “prosthesis” that fits inside your bra. Wearing one allows you to have a balanced look when you’re dressed. Like the surgery, breast forms are often covered by insurance.
Breast Cancer Research
Doctors continue to search for treatments that work better and are easier to undergo. Funding for this research comes from many sources, including advocacy groups throughout the country. Many of the 3.1 million breast cancer survivors and their families choose to participate in walk-a-thons and other fund-raising events. This links each individual’s fight against cancer into a common effort for progress.
Life after Diagnosis
There is no doubt that cancer is a life-changing experience. The treatments can wear you out. You may have trouble managing daily chores, work or social outings. This may even make you feel isolated. It’s crucial to reach out to friends and family for support. They may be able to go with you to treatments, help with chores or just remind you that you’re not alone. Many women choose to join a support group, either near them or on-line.
Here’s Positive Action you can choose to take:
Balance Your Diet
Your food choices may help cut your odds of having breast cancer, and every day, scientists are doing more research to learn how your diet can affect the disease. Focus on vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains, which should make up two-thirds of what you put on your plate. You may choose to make the other third, lean protein such as fish or poultry. More than 5 cups a day of a plant-based diet is a good guideline.
There’s a lot of misinformation about breast cancer out there.
To address some common myths:
- A mammogram is an important screening tool and will not cause a tumor to spread
- You will not raise your risk if you shave your under-arms or use an antiperspirant.
- Wearing a Bra – underwire or other types – does not affect your odds.
Here’s what to do next:
Women who choose to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet (much of it plant-based), monitor their breasts regularly for changes and have their Doctor check their breasts regularly, can significantly reduce their risk of cancer and enjoy their life.