Irritable Bladder Syndrome & Colonics

Irritable Bladder and Colonics

Lots of people suffer from Irritable bowel syndrome but many people also suffer with an irritable bladder, so how may colonic hydrotherapy can be efficacious for some people in helping your bladder problems?

It is quite a complex explanation but hopefully this will make it a bit clearer and all revolves around nervous system activity.

Firstly there are many causes of an irritable bladder and colonics is not going to solve all of them. However for some people overactive bladder conditions are often inherently linked to bowel activity since the bladder and bowel work very much together during the body’s excretory process and the part of the nervous system activity which controls bowel, gut and digestive activity also controls bladder function activity.

Water is absorbed from your bowel and circulates through your body before waste products are excreted via urine/bladder and faeces/bowel.

Your brain really does everything. If you want to move your hand or your foot, your brain sends the message via electrical impulse to tell it to move. Some actions are a voluntary action, such as moving your hand or foot, Others are an involuntary action such as your heart beating or your blood circulating.

Some aspects of your body are a mixture of both voluntary and involuntary. Digestion is one of these actions as is bladder function and excreting urine, being a mixture of both voluntary and involuntary actions.

This means that most of the process of bladder and bowel function is involuntary.  You don’t need to tell your bladder or bowel it is full, your brain sends the messages to do it automatically, or autonomically as it is called. In response to nerve receptors you feel the need to empty your bladder and bowel and visit the toilet.

All of these actions are done by your nervous system, which uses electrical impulses to enable your body to do things. This autonomic part of your nervous system has two aspects to it. One is called the sympathetic system and the other is the parasympathetic system. These two nervous system activities work opposite to one another.

The sympathetic system is stimulated to work in times of activity or stress. Whether it is a mental or physical activity doesn’t matter. The parasympathetic system works when we are relaxed.

The urinary system is stimulated to work and regulated by the parasympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system, which is also responsible for digestion.

In response to a threat or excitement, your brain sends messages throughout your body helped by adrenaline which is a nerve hormone and is secreted directly into your bloodstream. It gives you the sensation we know as butterflies in the stomach and stimulates the fight and flight response which is your body’s answer to danger or excitement.

Adrenaline sends a message to divert blood from places that don’t need it, to places that will help you to be as strong as possible to run or fight. The body’s first response to adrenaline is digestion and bladder function stop. If the adrenaline continues to be secreted the opposite happens.

We have all experienced something that makes us dash to the toilet to empty either our bladder or bowel. This is because sometimes so much adrenaline is secreted, that your digestion is then compromised to such a degree that it then has the effect of evacuating the contents of your gut. Again, in nature an empty gut means you are lighter to fight or run. Often people have a nasty shock and will spontaneously vomit, have diarrhoea or empty the bladder. The bladder is made of a type of muscle tissue similar to the gut and is affected in the same way by interference from parasympathetic nervous system activity into sympathetic nervous system activity.

Anxiety and excitement can result in either inability to go the toilet, or you go several times in quick succession.

Your bowel and bladder work like other muscles. That is, fibres contract and relax across each other to make the muscle move by contracting and relaxing in a rhythmic way.

The problem is that the conflicting messages between your sympathetic nervous system which stimulates the fight and flight response and your parasympathetic system, which drives digestion and bladder function upset the normal bowel and bladder responses.

The sympathetic system will always dominate the parasympathetic system since it is far more important to save you from danger. However, when the sympathetic system becomes over-stimulated for a long period of time, digestion and bladder function is compromised.

So to sum up, irritable bladder disorders are often caused by your nervous system responding to what it perceives as stress and over a period of time it becomes compromised. This causes symptoms of hyperactivity in your bladder and bowel which means needing to empty your bladder and inability to control it.

Colonics can help this by ensuring your bowel is functioning properly and help your bladder can also restore a natural function. During a colonic treatment your bowel absorbs water and results in a full bladder. By filling the bladder it helps retrain it and reduces the nerve impulse response and allows more urine to be held in the bladder before the need to empty is stimulated.

Colonic hydrotherapy, or colonic irrigation as it is also known can help some people who suffer symptoms of irritable bladder for various reasons. Muscles relax when they are warm, so the effect of the warm water directly onto the bowel has a very therapeutic relaxing effect this then affects the bladder in the same way. A bit like drinking cold water makes you want to empty your bladder quickly whereas warm fluids don’t. Therapists are able to adjust water temperature to help stimulate the bowel which has the effect of stimulating digestion and the parasympathetic nervous system to work.

The most important result of this in your case is that colonics stimulate parasympathetic nervous system activity which suppresses sympathetic activity. This then reduces adrenaline oversecretion and therefore reduces irritable bladder symptoms.

The effect of stimulating your digestive system is highly effective at making your body relax. It also accounts for why many people sleep really well following a colonic.

Of course you should always check with your GP if you suffer with any unexplained bleeding, or sudden unexplained changes in bowel or bladder habits.

GillianAutumn 2013 050



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