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The Better Bladder Book: A Holistic Approach to Healing Interstitial Cystitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain [NOOK Book]


Bladder problems affect millions of people, yet few are comfortable publicly or openly discussing their symptoms, making it difficult for patients with bladder disorders to obtain the support and resources they need. Those who've been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (IC) or chronic pelvic pain are often told that there is no cure for their ailments. Indeed, standard treatments used with these conditions are not always effective or lasting. As a result, many people with bladder problems are looking for ...
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The Better Bladder Book: A Holistic Approach to Healing Interstitial Cystitis and Chronic Pelvic Pain

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Bladder problems affect millions of people, yet few are comfortable publicly or openly discussing their symptoms, making it difficult for patients with bladder disorders to obtain the support and resources they need. Those who've been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis (IC) or chronic pelvic pain are often told that there is no cure for their ailments. Indeed, standard treatments used with these conditions are not always effective or lasting. As a result, many people with bladder problems are looking for comprehensive information and alternative options for recovery.

Wendy Cohan wrote The Better Bladder Book to give people who suffer from bladder problems more options. She guides readers to bladder wellness by emphasizing lifestyle changes and self-treatment. A week-by-week approach begins with an understanding of the diagnosis, leads to discovering the factors that cause or exacerbate symptoms, and ends with implementing the changes needed to reduce symptoms and recover bladder health.

Cohan introduces the book with a description of the anatomy and function of the urological system and the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of typical bladder problems. She explains how diet affects the bladder, including the role of food sensitivities, allergies, and intolerance. She creates handy lists of healthful and harmful foods and offers a selection of diets to try, especially allergy elimination, gluten-free, and anti-inflammatory diets. Optional weekly meal plans are included.

Like all aspects of health, bladder health is improved by daily exercise, good rest, and a reduction of stress. Cohan describes the benefits of regular exercise on bladder symptoms, its role in stress and pain reduction, boosting the immune system, controlling inflammation, and alleviating depression. Stress reduction techniques are also emphasized. Finally, Cohan supplies tips for a better night's sleep, including practicing good sleep hygiene, additional relaxation exercises, and the use of calming herbal teas.

Cohan's goal is to leave no stone unturned in the quest for bladder health. With the diet, exercise, sleep, and relaxation techniques described in the book, the thorough description of medical treatments and procedures, and the question and answer section and other resources, readers should have all the information they need to start their own journey toward better bladder health.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897936088
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 2/15/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 312,715
  • File size: 723 KB

Meet the Author

Wendy Cohan, RN, is a registered nurse who specializes in bladder wellness and emphasizes diet and lifestyle as part of a holistic approach to treating health problems. She educates patients on Celiac disease and gluten intolerance and helps clients manage the treatment of interstitial cystitis and over-active bladder. Ms. Cohan engages in public speaking and contributes to several health and diet-related websites. She maintains two websites on these topics ( and Her first book was Gluten-Free Portland – A Resource Guide.
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Read an Excerpt


In 1996 I was diagnosed with a painful progressive disease called Interstitial Cystitis (IC). The symptoms mimic those of a severe bladder infection, although most lab tests are negative for bacteria and antibiotics generally don’t help. Since urine ultimately comes from what we eat and drink, along with the body’s metabolic processes, it made sense to try a dietary approach. I had good luck immediately excluding known bladder irritants such as tomatoes, caffeine, chocolate, citrus, and alcohol, even though most doctors at the time gave diet little credit for a reduction in symptoms. Nevertheless, over time my IC progressed and I eventually needed to take pain medications, antispasmodics, and other medications to enable me to function, especially while working as a hospital RN and raising a family.

For years, every urine test showed significant amounts of blood. My doctors did not test for inflammation, food allergies or gluten intolerance, and did not consider any other contributive cause. No one looked at my body holistically, or suggested that my symptoms were part of a systemic dysfunction in my body. Fortunately, I was treated with compassion and my concerns were taken seriously. I was given medications with which to control my symptoms, but drugs didn’t solve all of my bladder problems. And there were serious side effects, especially for a working health professional who needed to be alert and clear-thinking.

I was in constant pain – not minor discomfort - and made the choice to stop working for a few years to concentrate on rebuilding my health. In my determination to “leave no stone unturned”, I began to seek the help of alternative practitioners, experiment with my diet, and undergo testing for food allergy and sensitivities. Careful observation showed me what foods negatively affected my bladder. Eliminating gluten - a protein found in wheat and wheat relatives, barley, rye, and sometimes oats - began to reduce my bladder symptoms, and resolved a long-standing skin rash. A conscious effort to reduce stress, deepen my mind-body connection, and manage my daily symptoms with gentle herbal teas rather than prescription medications began to have a very positive effect on my overall health. After about two years of sticking to my routine, and a lot of alternative bodywork to further support me, my IC gradually went into remission.

Now, thirteen years after my interstitial cystitis diagnosis, my urine tests are perfectly normal and I generally sleep much better at night. My urologist readily agrees that gluten negatively affects the bladder in some portion of her patients, and that eliminating gluten can lead to a reduction in symptoms. Still, there are no published peer-reviewed journal articles linking gluten intolerance and the bladder. We need clinical studies to determine the coincidence, or co-morbidity of IC (and other bladder disorders), and Celiac disease or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity.

I have published my story on a gluten-intolerance website and in print, and the response I received was overwhelming. Many, many people experience gluten-related bladder problems, and I will tell many of their success stories in this book. But it’s important to know that gluten isn’t the only food sensitivity linked to bladder symptoms. Dairy, soy, cane sugar, peanuts, high-oxalate foods, and eggs have also been linked to bladder discomfort, frequency, urgency, and increased incidence of urinary tract infections. And, caffeine’s negative affect on the bladder is legendary!

This book is my attempt to put into words what I have learned in my ten-year struggle with IC and chronic pelvic pain. Getting well requires a very strong and sincere level of commitment, strong enough to weather the hills and valleys along the journey.

This book is all about possibilities. Please believe me when I say that you do not have to live with constant pain or the embarrassment that often comes with chronic pelvic and bladder pain. Anyone who has experienced it knows that having IC in particular can mean experiencing constant visceral pain, pain at the core of our being. It affects our psychological and emotional health, our sense of well-being, our self-esteem, and even our sexuality. Please believe that what we eat, how we choose to live, and the way we treat our bodies deeply affects our health. Good luck with your journey to recovery, and know that there are others who can help you along the way.

The Best in Health,

Wendy Cohan, R.N.
Portland, Oregon
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Table of Contents

Foreword Dr. John Toth ix

Foreword Dr. Lisa Shaver xi

Preface xiv

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

Part I Finding Your Healing Path

1 A New Approach to Bladder and Pelvic Pain 4

Seeing the Big Picture 4

New Ways of Thinking about IC and Chronic Pelvic Pain 6

Possible Pathways to IC and Chronic Pelvic Pain 10

What You Can Do Now 13

2 Understanding the Basics 15

Understanding the Urinary System 15

Urinary Dysfunction: What's Happening with My Body? 19

Chronic Pelvic Pain and Interstitial Cystitis 32

Urinary Tract Problems in Men 45

What You Can Do Now 51

3 Traditional Treatments 52

Medications for IC/PBS and CPP 52

Invasive Methods of Treatment 62

Physical Therapy 65

Treatment by a Chronic Pain Specialist 66

What You Can Do Now 68

Part II Beginning the Journey

4 Learning to Manage Symptoms 70

Managing Stress 70

Benefits of Daily Exercise 72

Tips and Tools for Relief and Wellness 76

Fight Fatigue by Getting the Rest Your Body Needs 89

What You Can Do Now 94

5 What's Bugging Your Bladder? The Role of Food Sensitivity in IC 96

Food Allergies, Sensitivities, and Intolerances: An Overview 98

Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease 103

Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance 104

Gluten Sensitivity and the Bladder: A Special Case 105

The Lectin Connection 111

Recovery on a Gluten-Free Diet 113

What You Can Do Now 116

6 The Anti-Inflammatory Diet 118

A Diet for Health 118

Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Include 120

Inflammatory Foods to Avoid 121

Getting Started 122

What You Can Do Now 124

7 Stress and Chronic Pelvic Pain: Understanding Cause and Effect 125

The Role of Stress 125

Recognizing Pelvic Floor Muscle Tension 128

Getting to Know Your Pelvic Muscles 129

Tender Points, Trigger Points, and the Role of Neurogenic Inflammation 131

Activities That Can Activate Trigger Points and Refer Pain to the Bladder 133

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) 136

Addressing Pelvic-Related Symptoms 139

What You Can Do Now 145

8 Help with Hormones for Alleviating Discomfort 147

The Sex Hormones and Bladder Health 147

Pregnenolone Steal: One Reason Why Hormonal Imbalances May Exist 150

Vulvodynia and Other Sources of Chronic Pelvic Pain 151

Treatment Options 155

Focus on Comfort-The Sensible Solution 156

What You Can Do Now 157

9 Fighting Adrenal Fatigue 159

The Adrenal Glands 159

Stress and Inflammation 161

How Stress Leads to Adrenal Fatigue 161

Adrenal Fatigue and IC 162

Why Does Inflammation Persist? 164

The Cat Studies: A Model for IC and Adrenal Dysfunction 165

Stress and the Allergenic Response-Diet Does Matter 167

Menopause and the Adrenals 171

A Personal Look at Adrenal Fatigue 172

Beyond IC: Other Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue 173

Diagnosing Adrenal Fatigue 173

Adrenal Recovery 175

What You Can Do Now 180

Part III Further Along the Road to Recovery: Suggestions for Those Who Are Still Struggling

10 The Embattled Body: Dealing with Infectious Microorganisms 182

Occult Bacterial Infections 183

Bacterial Parasites and Occult Urological Infections 187

Bladder Symptoms in Lyme Disease 190

Candida Overgrowth 193

What You Can Do Now 197

11 Medical Conditions and Other Sources of Pelvic Pain or Bladder Symptoms 198

Diabetes Mellitus 198

Pelvic Endometriosis, Bladder Endometriosis, and Adenomyosis 201

Pelvic Adhesions 205

Pelvic Congestion 206

Ovarian Cysts 207

Ovarian Cancer 208

Bladder Cancer 210

Other Conditions 212

What You Can Do Now 213

12 Some Effective Complementary Therapeutic Techniques 214

Neurofascial Processing (NFP) 214

Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) 217

Acupuncture 219

What You Can Do Now 220

13 Other Helpful Diets to Consider 221

Introduction to Alternative Diets 221

Cultivating a Healthy Intestinal System: A Key to Recovering Your Health 222

The Body Ecology Diet (BED) 223

The Low-Oxalate Diet 225

The Low-Histamine Diet 227

The Allergy Elimination Diet 228

What You Can Do Now 232

14 You Can Get Well 234

Keep a Healthy Outlook 234

Ask for the Kind of Help You Need 236

Appeal to a Higher Power 239

Experience Healing Day by Day 240

Measure Success by Your Own Standards 244

Final Words 245

Appendix A Getting Started on a Gluten-Free Diet 247

Appendix B Gentle Herbal Remedies for Healing the Bladder and the Adrenals 258

Appendix C Homeopathic Remedies for the Bladder 274

Notes 277

Resources: Further Information and Support 278

Index 293

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A "Must Have" On Every Bookshelf

    The Better bladder Book is a wonderful resource for anyone who is afflicted with interstitial cystitis (IC), or knows someone who is. Wendy Cohen is a registered nurse who happens to have IC, which gives her a special knowledge of this disease. She goes beyond the medical community into holistic care, offering the reader options not ordinarily offered. The writing is easy to understand with case studies to help the reader comprehend what Ms. Cohen is explaining. Subjects include diet, food, herbals, acupuncture, chronic pain and one's attitude toward health and staying healthy. This is a positive book with lots of hope, many suggestions and a comprehensive look into what causes interstitial cystitis and chronic pain. This is a must have book for everyone's bookshelf. Note: received copy from publisher

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2013

    I need to pee!!!!!!!!

    I litteraly needd to go pee!!!!! Im not joking around! Wait for it ....Wait for it..... NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhh! That was refreshing! Did you go allready?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 21, 2013

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    Posted April 9, 2011

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