1. Nocturia caused by too much salt

    Cut nighttime bathroom trips with this one change

    It can literally haunt your dreams.

    Doesn't matter what's going through your mind as you snooze, eventually the sound of rushing water invades -- and, next thing you know, you're standing next to a river or maybe a waterfall.

    It's your bladder, sending a signal straight into your brain.

    You need to GO, and you need to GO NOW... and you're suddenly wide-awake and dashing to the bathroom.

    I'm sure you've heard a million tips and tricks over the years on how to eliminate those nighttime bathroom runs, a.k.a. nocturia, and most of them are worthless.

    But the latest research shows one small change you can make to your diet that could give you almost instant results.

    It's something you should do anyway: Cut back on salt.

    The new study out of Japan looked at about 300 volunteers with high salt intake and nocturia problems.

    Half were told to cut back on their salt, while the other half were told to actually increase those levels.

    Over three months, the folks who cut back cut their midnight bathroom visits by about 40 percent... while those who got more salt were awake and running for the toilet more often.

    That's very encouraging, but there are two important caveats.

    First, these folks had incredibly high sodium intakes.

    They were getting roughly triple the U.S. average, and four or five times the recommended daily limit.

    That's a LOT of salt... and if you're getting anything near those levels, you should cut back even if you're NOT having bathroom problems.

    If, on the other hand, you've got normal salt intake, cutting back might not help much.

    And second, while reducing salt most certainly COULD help some people, it almost definitely WON'T work for everyone, since those late-night potty breaks often have another cause.

    In some folks, it's weaker bladder muscle. In others, it's a hormonal problem. It could also a lifestyle issue like drinking habits or dietary problems... or even something psychological.

    Since salt has nothing to do with those possible causes, cutting back probably won't help much in those cases.

    Still, reducing salt levels is something anyone can try quickly, easily, and at no cost -- so, it's certainly worth giving a shot (especially if your sodium levels are a little higher than they should be).

    If it doesn't work, you'll need a little more help finding the cause and fixing it.

    Work closely with a holistic medical doctor.

    If you're in the San Diego area, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

    Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

    And don't forget to connect with me on Facebook!

  2. New nocturia drug packs a big risk

    Bad new bladder drug heading your way

    I'm convinced that the main requirement to serve on an FDA drug approval committee isn't knowledge of medicine.

    It's a complete lack of common sense!

    One agency panel just admitted that a new drug up for approval doesn't work as well as it should AND comes with potentially deadly risks.

    What would you do? You'd break out the "REJECTED" stamp, right?

    Well, friend, then YOU have common sense -- and that means you're not qualified to serve on the committee, because this panel just signed off on an experimental drug that's supposed to cut down on the number of nightly bathroom trips.

    The medication -- so new it doesn't even have a name yet -- is a nasal inhaler filled with desmopressin, a synthetic version of the hormone vasopressin.

    Does it work?

    Well, it depends on whether or not you have common sense.

    In a study released over the summer, 46.2 percent of patients on a high dose of the drug cut their nightly bathroom trips in half.

    But so did 28.5 percent of those who took the placebo!

    As a result, overall, folks who took the high dose of the drug went to the bathroom an average of 1.5 times less per night, while folks on the placebo went 1.2 times less per night.

    Now, I completely understand why folks might want to give it a shot anyway.

    The condition nocturia, as it's called, isn't just an inconvenience. It's a life-wrecker that interferes with sleep, leaving you tired and cranky the next day.

    Some studies even show seniors with nocturia face a higher risk of death. Maybe that's because when you have to get up and bolt to the bathroom at 2 a.m., you're more likely to fall.

    But the drug comes with some risks of its own, specifically a deadly condition called "hyponatremia," in which your sodium levels drop dangerously.

    While the risk is rare, some FDA panelists were worried that it would be magnified once the drug is in widespread use.

    Yet it was approved anyway!

    It still has to be approved by the full FDA, but that's usually just a formality these days.

    Don't wait for this drug, and don't waste your time with the current meds on the market, either -- because many of them are even MORE dangerous.

    But there IS something you can do to cut those nighttime bathroom trips and sleep better, and that's try the simple lifestyle changes that have worked wonders for seniors battling nocturia.

    First, drop a few pounds, since extra weight can press on the bladder -- like squeezing a sponge -- and lead to that sudden urge.

    And second, try bladder training. That's when you time how long you can hold out between bathroom breaks and then keep trying to extend it. It takes some effort, but it often works.

    If you've tried that and still have problems, see a holistic medical doctor.

    If you're in the San Diego area, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. Not in Southern California? I'm also available for advice by phone.

    Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

  3. Waking up to wee? You're not alone

    In fact, researchers now say that more than 1 in 5 U.S. men--21 percent in all-- wake up at last twice a night to urinate, a condition known as nocturia.
  4. 4 steps to beating nocturia

    Frequent middle-of-the-night bathroom visits are part of a condition called nocturia, and it's more than just an annoyance--it can ruin your sleep, put a cramp on your lifestyle and even come with medical risks.
  5. Nighttime bathroom runs linked to early death

    Waking up often to use the toilet is more than just a sleep-interrupting inconvenience--it can also be an indication of a more serious problem.

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