Book Review – My Journey to a Better Bladder by Teri A. Larson

Book Review – My Journey to a Better Bladder by Teri A. Larson

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

Given that our Connections newsletters are intended to help readers on a path to better health, we were ecstatic to learn that our newsletter titled A Quiet Epidemic of Bladder Troubles, along with an e-newsletter titled A Sense of Urgency, had been instrumental in Teri Larison’s research and subsequent publication of her e-book, My Journey to a Better Bladder.

Too often, when browsing the Health section in a bookstore or doing an internet search, you find coping strategies rather than real solutions. Teri’s book illustrates the power of the do-it-yourself options.

When Teri began to have bladder trouble, she engaged her OB/GYN and urologists, who treated her urgency or irritable bladder with antibiotics and drugs designed to dampen the nervous system irritability, but to no avail. Even Kegel exercises, which she thought would help the situation, were impossible for her to do.

Finally, the diagnosis from a cystoscopy indicated that Teri had a bladder prolapse, which prompted her to learn more about it. She was offered two choices: physical therapy, with little hope of healing; or surgery, which included adding meshes to hold the bladder in place. Although surgery was enthusiastically endorsed by her physician, an internet search alerted her to the possibility of outcomes that were less than ideal.

Teri used a scientific method to find relief from her irritable bladder. She thoroughly researched the implications of surgery and dismissed that as an option for herself. She carefully documented her research and her whole program, identifying the information that influenced her decisions. She then shared those results in her book.

Central to turning her condition around was having something in her vagina that would support her bladder. Products called vaginal pessaries are designed to do this, but Teri hit upon the idea of using a tampon. When she inserted one, she immediately felt that she was on the right track because the urgency diminished. Then she discovered that she could actually start doing Kegel exercises, which she found demonstrated on YouTube.

Teri also learned that diet affected her bladder, so she started making healthier food choices, avoiding the foods that were particularly irritating. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome was reversing the conditioning of her bladder to stop the sense of urgency, even when small amounts of urine had accumulated. She carefully examined her routines and started disconnecting the bathroom visits with certain activities, while also gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits. With all this in place, Teri reports that she successfully—on her own—conquered the misery of an irritable bladder. She devised charts and daily plans, which she used herself, and now provides for her readers.

After reading her book, I contacted Teri to share a few more tidbits of information. A family member who is an OB/GYN told me years ago that her mentor taught her about using a clean white handkerchief rolled tightly and inserted into the vagina to help with prolapse. Recently, I read (on the internet, of course) that pressing into the middle of the palm of the hand can relieve the sense of urgency to urinate for about 20 minutes. I used it myself with success while driving to an airport a few weeks ago.

I also suggested that Teri check into her testosterone levels. The bladder and urinary tract tissue are highly populated with testosterone receptors. Testosterone is the director in all protein metabolism and is thus a key player in all structural issues. Unfortunately, testosterone is a hormone that is often ignored in women’s health. In reality, normal testosterone levels exceed the levels of estrogens in women, so its importance should not be dismissed so lightly.

These days, our health system does not typically allow for adequate time to consult with the experts. However, there are many good resources available to help you fix the problem yourself. The internet offers opportunities never previously available to us, such as medical studies, original scientific research and, perhaps best of all, other people—like Teri—who are willing to share resources and their personal experiences.

For those who are eager to make a difference in their own bladder health, Teri offers a very comprehensive blueprint. She is also an inspiration to anyone who has a health problem to solve.

Book Review – My Journey to a Better Bladder by Teri A. Larson2018-04-03T16:27:30-05:00

Hormones and Male Incontinence

Hormones and Male Incontinence

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

While the majority of people dealing with urinary incontinence are women, men also suffer from it in significant numbers, steadily increasing with age. And men are typically more concerned and embarrassed about it.

Incontinence is defined simply as the unintended loss of urine, and it can be caused by many factors. It can result from smoking, obesity, constipation, urinary tract infections, or intestinal irritants such as caffeine or gluten in those who are sensitive to it. Incontinence can also occur during physical stress, such as when sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercising.

Unique to men is another cause of incontinence—an enlarged prostate. Because of the location of the prostate gland, any enlargement can interfere with the urinary tract and urine flow. And, while there are drug options for treating an enlarged prostate, the prostate gland is also very sensitive to the effects of hormones, some of which may also be contributing to the enlarged prostate.

As men age, testosterone levels decline and estrogen levels steadily rise. Coupled with this shift in hormone balance that accompanies aging is the ever-increasing exposure to estrogen-like chemicals prevalent in our environment. Estrogen, in both men and women, stimulates tissue growth, which can also contribute to an enlarged prostate.

If incontinence is due to an enlarged prostate gland, evaluating and treating abnormal levels of estrogens, testosterone, and dihydrotestosterone is a good starting point—and the sooner the better. There are many natural and pharmaceutical treatments for making sure that estrogens metabolize properly and do not accumulate. Declining testosterone levels can be supplemented to increase the strength of the bladder and urinary tract. Curtailing the effects of this hormone imbalance can help forestall urinary incontinence due to further enlargement of the prostate gland.

If an enlarged prostate progresses too far, surgery to remove some of the tissue may be offered.  However, urinary incontinence is still frequent post-surgery as well. And, when this occurs, nerve damage may now contribute to the problem, making solutions even more problematic.

Urinary incontinence can be the trigger that leads to an avalanche of health issues. When an individual (or their family or caregivers) can no longer cope with the level of care required to deal with incontinence, they often turn to nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. Because of the frequent use of catheters, patients tend to have a high incidence of chronic urinary tract infections, which become more and more resistant to treatment. In addition, the side effects of many of the drug treatments include memory problems and dizziness, contributing to more falls and broken bones. A long,  slow, steady and heartbreaking decline in quality of life and health continues.

Let’s face it—the path we are now on isn’t working well. We must address urinary incontinence early, by working with a healthcare practitioner who can identify and help solve hormone imbalances that may be part of the problem. And let’s not write off those who are already in nursing homes. Advocate for them to make sure that they are well nourished and their hormone imbalances addressed.

A Pet’s Sense of Urgency?

There is an interesting analogy surfacing in the animal world as well: dogs that are spayed (females) or neutered (males) are also plagued with urinary incontinence. Because the sex organs that produce testosterone in the male dogs and estrogen in the female dogs have been removed, the animals must rely on those hormones coming from the adrenal glands. Sometimes the adrenal production of those hormones is not enough. Supplementing estrogen in female dogs and testosterone in male dogs can help restore bladder and bladder sphincter muscle tone, reducing or eliminating urinary incontinence.


  • Newman DK. Pharmacists Talking Bladder Health Out of the Water Closet: OAB, Incontinence, UTI, and Interstitial Cystitis. A presentation at The American Pharmacists Association Conference, 2012.
  • BodyLogicMD. Urinary Problems in Men. Accessed May 14, 2012.
Hormones and Male Incontinence2018-05-11T11:28:58-05:00

Uncovering Adrenaline Triggers with the Pulse Test

Uncovering Adrenaline Triggers and the Pulse Test

Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy

According to Michael Platt, MD, the release of adrenaline contributes significantly to symptoms associated with incontinence. Phil Bate, PhD, a member of the Orthomolecular Medical Society for many years, advocates the use of a simple technique, the pulse test, to detect substances that trigger adrenaline release in the body.

This test, developed in the 1950s by Arthur Coca, MD, provides a reliable and inexpensive method of measuring the adrenaline release caused by allergies and sensitivities to foods and chemicals. When adrenaline is released, the pulse rate goes up. By measuring the pulse rate before and after exposure to particular foods or chemicals, people can determine which substances raise or do not raise adrenaline levels in their bodies. An increase of five beats or more per minute indicates a release of adrenaline. Dr. Bate advises that people not deliberately expose themselves to any known allergen but that they use the test to uncover allergens that they are not currently aware of.

The pulse test helps to uncover hidden adrenaline triggers which may be beneficial in the treatment of incontinence and other disorders. Dr. Coca’s book The Pulse Test explains this test in great detail.

Uncovering Adrenaline Triggers with the Pulse Test2018-04-05T11:08:16-05:00

Age-Related Incontinence

Age-Related Incontinence:

A Sense of Urgency

Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP – Women’s International Pharmacy

Bladder issues such as urinary tract infections, overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis, and incontinence are the top healthcare problems in the United States today. The best-selling items in pharmacies are now adult diapers, reaching 2.2 billion dollars in sales per year.

As men and women age, the incidence of bladder problems and urinary incontinence increases for both sexes. These problems are far more common in women, but many women just ignore them, thinking that leaking small amounts of urine when sneezing or laughing are not a real medical problem. They may feel too embarrassed to seek assistance, or they may look at it as just another normal part of aging.

Incontinence is defined as the involuntary release of urine and, while it often accompanies aging, it can be caused by many factors. For example, removal of the uterus can lead to weakening or prolapse of the bladder, resulting in incontinence, simply due to the lack of physical support from that organ. Incontinence can also result from a lack of estrogen, which weakens the bladder and urinary tract structures. Diseases like diabetes or the aftermath of stroke can cause incontinence. Constipation can also be a source of incontinence, as a result of straining. Men with benign prostatitis can develop incontinence. People with a history of bedwetting during childhood are more likely to experience some incontinence as an adult.

As incontinence becomes more frequent or worsens, coping behaviors increase. Using sanitary napkins or other feminine hygiene products, refusing to travel, mapping out the location of toilets, urinating again (just in case), avoiding fluid intake, stopping exercise, and wearing dark clothes can all be indicators of a problem with incontinence.

So, what can be done to help control incontinence, or at least deal with it better?

Some women try using feminine pads to catch the urine released unexpectedly with incontinence. However, those pads are not designed to capture the amount of fluid that may be present. The adult incontinence pads are a much better choice because they are designed like kitty litter, to form a gel when in contact with fluid, and they can also help control odor.

For women who are overweight, losing even just five to ten pounds can dramatically reduce incontinence. Dietary changes, such as eliminating caffeine and avoiding spicy foods that can irritate the bladder, may help some people reduce incontinence. Fluid management throughout the day, and especially within three to four hours before bedtime, may be necessary to control “urge incontinence” (another name for overactive bladder). Avoiding alcoholic beverages may be essential for some people because it contributes to the loss of muscle control.

Many healthcare practitioners recommend Kegel exercises, which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, for reducing incontinence. Dr. Michael Platt of the Platt Wellness Center suggests adding testosterone, applied vaginally daily, because it helps rebuild the muscles that have atrophied. He also believes that adrenaline may be part of the equation when it comes to understanding the causes for incontinence, and suggests that progesterone (as the natural balancer of adrenaline) may be used to reduce it. In addition to bioidentical hormone therapies, prescription drugs and surgeries are also options that may provide relief for some people.

If you are experiencing incontinence (or are close to someone who is), it is best to speak with a healthcare practitioner about it early on, so they can help you explore remedies before the problem escalates.

  • Newman DK. “Pharmacists Talking Bladder Health Out of the Water Closet: OAB, Incontinence, UTI, and Interstitial Cystitis.” A presentation at The American Pharmacists Association Conference, 2012.
  • Platt ME. The Platt Protocol for Hormone Balancing: A Wellness Manual for Healthcare Practitioners.
Age-Related Incontinence2018-04-03T16:25:46-05:00