It’s not just bad bladder habits* or weak pelvic floor muscles that can cause problems with your waterworks. If you’re more thirsty than usual, have sweet-smelling wee, are losing weight (but not on a diet!) and feel tired and irritable, you could be diabetic. These are the most common symptoms for Type 1 diabetes. I am writing this blog to raise awareness of the 4 T’s campaign: Toilet Thirsty Tired Thinner. If you, your relatives or friends or any children you know raise concerns, they should see their GP immediately. It’s best to be diagnosed as soon as possible, to avoid serious illness and/or complications in the future.
You May Have Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is where your pancreas stops producing insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels. It is an auto-immune condition and has nothing to do with being overweight. I should know, I’ve had insulin dependent diabetes for more than 40 years. If my twin-sister hadn’t become seriously ill and hospitalised with diabetes when we were younger, my mother probably wouldn’t have recognised my symptoms six months later.
So, if your wee smells of sugar puffs or your breath smells of pear-drops, you have an unquenchable thirst and are drinking gallons and you’re constantly on the loo, (and/or you’re female and you keep getting thrush), check it out, especially if diabetes runs in your family.
For more information visit www.diabetes.org.uk/The4Ts.
Other causes for bladder frequency and urgency
On the other hand, if you are going to the toilet for a wee more than 6 to 8 times a day, consider the following:
Wee smells ‘rank’ or ‘fruity’
You may have a bladder infection, especially if it stings when you go for a wee. Check to see if your urine is clear (a pale straw colour). If it’s cloudy and/or opaque you should take a sample to your GP.
Urine is dark and strong-smelling
It could be that you are dehydrated, and concentrated urine can also irritate your bladder and give you a feeling of urgency. Are you drinking enough? Adults are advised to drink about 1.5-2 litres of fluid a day (that’s 3 to 4 pints). Drinking less to avoid problems with your waterworks may only make matters worse.
Drinking Tea or coffee or fizzy drinkscaffeine and or carbonated drinks. Note alcohol is also a bladder irritant, as are blackcurrant and undiluted orange juice and, surprisingly, tomatoes.
You are having little wees and going ‘just in case’
You may just have poor bladder habits. If you’re weeing less than 300-350 mls when you go for a wee (wee into a jug and see, if you’re in doubt), you may be setting yourself up for problems with urgency and/or urge incontinence in the future. Book a women’s health physio appointment with Vicky if you think you are suffering from incontinence.
Some women with a bladder prolapse (a cystocele)
That’s when the bladder ‘bulges’ into the vaginal wall – can also suffer from urgency.
Blood in your urine
Finally, if you’ve ever notice blood in your urine, you should always take a sample to your GP to get it checked out – even if the sample no longer has visible blood in it.
* It’s normal to go for a wee 5 to 6 times a day, when your bladder is full.