Bladder Dysfunction


It was Christmastime and Target was as busy as ever. I had gotten everything I on my list, wrapping paper, tape, some presents. It was getting late and I was tired. I used to love shopping, but now it just takes it out of me, especially when the stores are busy. My husband said he would go get the car as he usually does and I wrapped up inside, getting a few last things, browsing for a few more minutes. Finally I got in line to check out. Obviously it was longer than normal during this time of year, but that usually doesn’t bother me, being a former Target employee, I know they handle the lines fairly well. I started chatting with the girl at the register when it was my turn. The usual conversation, about the crowds, if your shopping is done, etc.

Then, it happened. I didn’t notice it at first, it can be sneaky like that. But then I felt it, the warmth and urgency that I have felt so many times before.

I panicked.

Bladder Dysfunction in MS

Bladder dysfunction is one of the most commonly reported symptoms from MS patients, with up to 80% being affected. If an individuals system is working properly, urine will collect slowly in the bladder and cause it to expand. When enough fluid has accumulated nerves in the bladder will send signals to the spinal cord which will send signals to the brain that the bladder needs to be emptied. When the person is in the bathroom, the brain sends signals to the spinal cord which triggers the bladder and sphincter to open.

Dysfunction occurs when lesions are present and inhibit nerve signals from reaching their intended destination. With so many signals being sent in between the brain and the spinal cord multiple times, it’s no wonder bladder dysfunction is such a common problem! The specific dysfunction can happen for two reasons, the bladders spastic or the bladder isn’t emptying all the way because the sphincter is spastic.

Because of either cause, there can be many symptoms present including:

  • Urgency– The need to urinate may come on (very) quickly and suddenly
  • Hesitancy– The urge to urinate is present, but starting to urinate can take a long time or it’s difficult to keep it flowing.
  • Frequency– The urge to urinate happens much more often than usual, often times at night which can cause sleep disturbances (otherwise known as nocturia).
  • Incontinence– Either having a sudden urge to urinate and the flow starting immediately, or being unaware that there is leaking happening.

If bladder dysfunction continues without treatment, it can lead to severe symptoms and can lead to permanent damage to the urinary tract. This occurs when urine is left in the bladder and can lead to urinary tract infections, bladder infections, kidney infections or stones.  Also. these issues can also lead to emotional distress and avoidance of social situations or isolation.

Thankfully, there are many ways to treat bladder dysfunction with either lifestyle modifications, medications or procedures. Lifestyle modifications include both dietary and behavioral changes. Dietary changes include liming caffeine and alcohol (as these can be irritating to the bladder) as well as limiting fluids several hours before bed time if you struggle with waking up in the middle of the night.

Behavioral interventions include timing fluid intake as well as urinating on a regular schedule to help train the bladder. Other interventions include:

  • Pelvic floor physical therapy is also a great option. This targets muscles that are attached to the pelvic bone and sacrum that control bladder and bowel function. This method utilizes biofeedback, neuromuscular stimulation and home exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles which improves muscle control.
  • Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation is another alternative option. This is where a very small electrode is inserted into the ankle which transmits a signal to the sacral plexus. This treatment does for 30 minutes per week for 12 weeks has been shown to reduce urinary frequency, nighttime urination and incontinence.
  • Intermittent self-catheterization is sometimes recommended for individuals who have difficulty fully emptying the bladder. With this treatment, a small tube (catheter) is inserted into the urethra to empty the bladder, then removed.

There are many medications available to help control spasticity and to promote the flow of urine. Some include baclofen, oxybutynin and terazosin. If symptoms persist after these interventions are tried, there are surgical options available as well.

Dealing with bladder issues during day to day life can be tiring and isolating, but there are ways to plan ahead.

  • Plan frequent stops. I am unapologetic about having to stop every half an hour to go to the bathroom and you shouldn’t be either.
  • Use protection. Some days are worse than others and I can usually tell what kind of day it will be early in the morning. On the ‘bad’ days, I add a layer (or two) or protection to my undies. It has come in handy more than I’d like to admit. And, I always carry a few pads with me just in case I need to add some in the middle of the day.
  • Have a change of clothes handy. For the worst case scenario, have an extra pair of everything on hand. I’ve been stuck without this, and it’s not fun. Worried about what others might say? Just say you’re a klutz and spilled water/tea/kombucha on your pants and you have to change pronto!
  • Have support. This is one of the most embarrassing, demoralizing, isolating symptoms we can deal with. Having someone to talk to about it changes everything.
  • Stay hydrated! I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but my bladder symptoms really act up when I am dehydrated. Plus, being dehydrated can bring on a whole bunch of other symptoms and issues, not good!

I always tell my husband, if I could make one symptom magically disappear, this would be it. But I’ve found that through lifestyle changes and paying attention to my body,  I am more able to manage my bladder dysfunction. I know that around my cycle, when I am dehydrated and when I drink coffee, my bladder symptoms act up. So being extra prepared on some days, really helps me both mentally and practically.

Bladder dysfunction is no joke, and can cause a boat load of other issues if left untreated. But thankfully there are many ways we can manage the symptoms and not let it run and ruin our lives.

My panic quickly grew to terror. ‘This has never happened in public before, what do I do?’ I thought to myself. I didn’t feel like I could run away from all of my things to the bathroom, I felt trapped. I rushed through the transaction as fast as I could in a socially acceptable way, and then ran to the bathroom. The damage was done and I began to cry. I gave myself a few more moments of pity before running from the bathroom to my awaiting husband and car. He could tell by my speed and tears that something had happened. Immediately he began asking what was wrong, “Just drive” was all I could muster. Eventually I was able to calm down to gesture toward my pants and said

“yeah, that just happened”.

I’M ALISSA!

I help women who have also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis make specific and personalized diet, lifestyle & subconscious changes so that they can begin to heal their body, reduce disease symptoms, and return to a life they love.hey there,

follow along on Instagram:

Growing your own fruit or veggie is a great way to eat more of them!!

It may seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy.

Some easy things to grow if you’re just starting out:

🥬Leafy greens (I’m harvesting my kale here!)
🫛Peas
🍅Tomatoes
🍓Strawberries 
🫑Peppers
🥒Squash & zucchini 
🫘Beans

I’ve grown some type of veggie for years now, usually squash, peas and tomatoes (for Scott lol).

Do you have a garden? That can be in ground, raised or even containers like me.

What do you like to grow?? Tell me below!!

PS- need something to do with the veggies you grow?? 

I just dropped my new Eating for MS Guide, where I talk all about what foods are best for MS and give you some recipe ideas so it’s super simple for you to find symptom relief through food too.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!! (And it’s free!!)

Growing your own fruit or veggie is a great way to eat more of them!!

It may seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy.

Some easy things to grow if you’re just starting out:

🥬Leafy greens (I’m harvesting my kale here!)
🫛Peas
🍅Tomatoes
🍓Strawberries
🫑Peppers
🥒Squash & zucchini
🫘Beans

I’ve grown some type of veggie for years now, usually squash, peas and tomatoes (for Scott lol).

Do you have a garden? That can be in ground, raised or even containers like me.

What do you like to grow?? Tell me below!!

PS- need something to do with the veggies you grow??

I just dropped my new Eating for MS Guide, where I talk all about what foods are best for MS and give you some recipe ideas so it’s super simple for you to find symptom relief through food too.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link to download!! (And it’s free!!)
...

13 6
⭐️Changing my diet!!⭐️

First, like and save this post so you can come back to it if you need.

It took me years to finally be ready to consider changing my diet to help MS symptoms.

It actually took a pretty bad rock bottom moment, but that’s a story for another day.

I get it if you feel like this process is hard and daunting.

Start here:
⭐️YOU DONT HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE
⭐️Pick a meal to switch up, include a few different foods a week or increase protein.
⭐️Get curious about how the foods you’re currently eating are making you feel

Those are just 3 suggestions to get you started.

Want more information about Eating for MS?

Like what (imo) you should include in your diet, how to eliminate foods, and meal ideas??
So that you too can feel so much better in your body and get your life back?

I just dropped a new Eating for MS Guide, full of all the info you need to get started on your own food journey.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link! 
🧡🧡🧡

⭐️Changing my diet!!⭐️

First, like and save this post so you can come back to it if you need.

It took me years to finally be ready to consider changing my diet to help MS symptoms.

It actually took a pretty bad rock bottom moment, but that’s a story for another day.

I get it if you feel like this process is hard and daunting.

Start here:
⭐️YOU DONT HAVE TO CHANGE EVERYTHING AT ONCE
⭐️Pick a meal to switch up, include a few different foods a week or increase protein.
⭐️Get curious about how the foods you’re currently eating are making you feel

Those are just 3 suggestions to get you started.

Want more information about Eating for MS?

Like what (imo) you should include in your diet, how to eliminate foods, and meal ideas??
So that you too can feel so much better in your body and get your life back?

I just dropped a new Eating for MS Guide, full of all the info you need to get started on your own food journey.

Comment GUIDE below and I’ll send you the link!
🧡🧡🧡
...

33 23
Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”. 

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!

Or, comment WAITLIST to be notified when it’s ready!!

I’ve been talking to many of you about your questions regarding eating for MS.

There’s lots of confusion about what is “right” and “wrong”.

Lemme tell you, I’ll answer this in the guide for sure- and it prob won’t be the answer you’re expecting?

Drop any other questions below and I’ll answer them!!
...

18 7
:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!

:: first, comment WAITLIST below to be notified when my new Eating for MS Guide is available!::

When I was first diagnosed with MS I didn’t even think to ask if anything else besides medication would help me.

It didn’t even occur to me that changing my diet or managing stress would also play a part in my disease.

It took a few years, several relapses and failed medications for my BOYFRIEND (now hubby) to ask my neurologist if any diet would help.

And even then, my neuros answer was 🤷🏻‍♂️.

If you also haven’t considered it, let me be the first to tell you:

✨IT’S ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE✨ 
to decrease your symptoms and influence your long term prognosis by implementing lifestyle changes.

What we eat
How we move
How we manage stress
Our toxin burden
Our hydration status
Etc etc etc
all go a long way in helping us MSers live better with MS.

I lived this transformation; from totally exhausted and unable to get off the couch to hiking mountains or playing golf,
I KNOW it’s possible for you, too.

I’m in the final stages of putting together a comprehensive resource on Eating for MS, comment WAITLIST and I’ll let you know when it’s ready!!
...

28 22
I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!

I’ve seen this trend with women under 35 and over 35.. so let’s see if we can adapt this for others living with MS!

Those of you who are living with MS for just a few years ask a question and those of us who have been living with it for many years will answer!

Who knows, this may bomb, but the idea is fun!!

Ask away!
...

40 41
Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out. 

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set. 

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS. 

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went. 

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all. 

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for. 

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving. 

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking: 
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it” 
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat

Last week I wanted 0 to do with working out.

I love working out,
I love being able to lift heavy things and feel strong.
But last week?
Nah, I was all set.

However.. I have some goals and abilities I want to maintain.

Strength training is one way of the consistent ways I help myself to feel good despite living with MS.

So I made sure that there wasn’t a reason I didn’t want to workout besides my inner toddler, and lo and behold- there wasn’t.
So off I went.

I gave myself permission to go lighter and slower, which helped me be successful in doing it at all.

I often find that when I stop strength training for a while, everything starts to hurt, so that’s obviously not what I’m going for.

I also have a goal of gaining muscle. Muscle decline happens anyway with age, I don’t need to help it along with not moving.

✨Following through with my daily habits is a form of self care.✨

If you’re done with thinking:
“I know what to do, I just can’t seem to do it”
DM me ACTION and we’ll chat
...

17 4
Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband 
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister 
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day 

This is possible because: 
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure 

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going. 

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!! 

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body, 
Have energy to spend on your friends and family, 
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS. 

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE… 
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!

Instead of being a lump on the couch, now I can go hiking up a mountain with my husband
Or walk 8 miles around NYC with my sister
Or do a workout at the gym
Or shower, go shopping and cook dinner all in the same day

This is possible because:
✨Yes, the medication I’m on helps for sure

But truthfully my life has improved so much because of:

✨My daily habits and lifestyle (my morning routine, my diet, my sleep habits, my workouts..)

✨ But what REALLY moved the needle is actively working to have a mindset that allows me to be flexible with myself, to give myself grace when I “mess up” (aka- when I don’t follow through on a habit)

✨This is a mindset that doesn’t require perfection✨

This allows me to be consistent with the habits- like diet changes or movement programs or whatever else I want to do, which then allows me to see progress (aka: my body feeling better)

Which THEN gives me the motivation and desire to keep doing what I’m doing.

✨This is the secret to “success”- right here.✨
Consistent action + giving yourself grace + noticing progress = motivation to keep going.

It’s not quick or sexy, its actually rather boring.
But boring is actually way better!!

If you want a life where you:
Feel good in your body,
Have energy to spend on your friends and family,
Don’t think about what the MS symptom of the day will be..

I help you create that life for yourself in my signature program, Holistically Healing MS.

Today is the last day it’s on FLASH SALE…
Comment MOUNTAIN below and I’ll send you the details!!
...

39 2
If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness. 

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc. 

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors? 
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where. 

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first. 

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others. 

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself. 

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and 
discarded for voicing her needs. 

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent? 

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors. 

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life. 

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how. 

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details

If you’ve been a client, I’m sure you’ve heard me rant about how society’s expectations for women have set us up for autoimmunity and illness.

We were praised for being quiet, not rocking the boat, keeping the peace, helping others before ourselves, not talking back, etc etc.

But where did this get US? The women behind the behaviors?
Sick, anxious and depressed- that’s where.

Healing MS or any autoimmune disease can’t happen until you put yourself first.

That doesn’t mean all of a sudden become a b*tch and ignore the world.

It means considering yourself as much as you consider others.

One of my clients this week was talking about the boundaries she set in her life and how proud she was of herself.

She was able to manage the uneasiness (aka: terror) of:
potentially letting others down,
being abandoned and
discarded for voicing her needs.

No wonder we’re all sick when even saying our needs outloud is scary!
What allowed her to do that after all these years of staying silent?

Well many things, but one of them is “nervous system regulation” aka: utilizing small exercises that allow your body to “respond appropriately” aka: not entering an anxiety freak out spiral- to daily stressors.

This is the “stress management” you’ve been looking for and what will change your life.

My program Embodied Resilience is your road map to how.

Drop a 🌀🌀 in the comments and I’ll send you details
...

52 10
It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life. 

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too. 

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens? 
Being mean and judgemental to yourself. 

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself. 

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action. 
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling. 

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable. 

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right? 

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again. 
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡

It’s ok if it takes time from learning about something to implementing it into your lifestyle.

There is a lot that needs to happen in our mind and body for us to be ready to change something about our day to day life.

And it’s ok if that process takes longer than you “think it should” or want it too.

You know what *won’t* help you when this happens?
Being mean and judgemental to yourself.

You’re not lazy and nothing is wrong with you, so stop saying that to yourself.

You know what *will* help you when this happens?
Taking action.
Action is the antidote to the fear and overwhelm you’re feeling.

But- in a whole different way than you have been trying.

The key is slow and steady, not sexy or flashy- but this means it’s something better- sustainable.

Sustainable means “able to be maintained or held”- which is the goal for habits right?

Being “perfect” for 2 weeks then “messing up” (missing a day) then feeling like a “failure” for that one day, then being “off the wagon” for 3 months isn’t doing you any good (said with muchhhh ♥️♥️♥️)

We want a Supportive Sustainable Lifestyle aka being able to keep up with your habits and progress overtime (ideally for the rest of your life right? It’s about the journey not the destination)

If you want to create a lifestyle that is supportive to reducing your MS symptoms, so you don’t need to be thinking about being on or off “the wagon” again, my signature program Holistically Healing MS is for you.

And good news, it’s on flash sale this week- and the lowest price it will be ever again.
Comment MSSUCKS below and I’ll send you details
🧡🧡🧡
...

12 0
One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression. 

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status 
- Education 
- Health care access
- Your community 
- Economic stability 

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters. 

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!

One of the criticisms I see about using lifestyle medicine to help improve MS symptoms is that it means “I think my disease is in my control, totally up to me and therefore my fault”.

The things in our control, are only a piece of the puzzle in how we feel, our MS symptoms and disease progression.

Many more things also go into our health equation:
- Genetics
- Age
- Socioeconomic Status
- Education
- Health care access
- Your community
- Economic stability

I’m not saying that lifestyle medicine doesn’t matter, it does a lot. I’m just saying it’s not the *only* thing that matters.

What are your thoughts on this? I know it’s a highly charged topic for some!
...

35 5
Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡

Living with MS is hard.
Some days are harder, some easier.

If you’re in a season where it feels hard, I see you.

I believe in you.
🧡🧡🧡
...

22 2

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