How alcohol affects your bowels and bladder may not be uppermost in your mind when you are on a boozy night out. I was brought up in a family of drinkers. Much of my social life from teen years until the present day has involved a tipple or two. As I reach a milestone birthday, I am questioning the way I live my life and one thing I am reflecting on is my consumption of alcohol. I was interested to read some recent findings on how alcohol affects your bowels and bladder.

What we already know

I think most of us these days are aware that drinking alcohol can have an adverse impact on our liver function an heart health. My own father died of liver disease and was whilst not a huge drinker a regular one. I have struggled with my mental health over the years as I believe most of us do. There is no doubt that whilst alcohol is fun in the short-term it is a depressant by nature. Most of us would probably be better off facing our demons rather than self-medicating them away for a little while.

Bladder function

What colour is your pee? Did you know it should be clear? Alcohol can often mean dark yellow or even brown pee. Alcohol dehydrates you so please do ensure you restrict the levels you take in and also drink the suggested levels of water to combat the ill effects of boozing.

If you have ever had a urinary tract infection, you know how thoroughly miserable they can be. As well as that feeling of constantly needing to pee, you have the burning sensation when you do. My last UTI was awful and laid me low for about a week or so.  Headaches, pain and fever can all come with cystitis meaning you don’t want to have sex, socialise or do anything much except lie under a duvet somewhere need a loo feeling sorry for yourself.

Finally, incontinence can be brought on by booze whether that is leakage or wetting the bed.

Bowel function

Most of us will have had constipation or diarrhoea at some stage of our lives perhaps due to another illness. I am hear to tell you abuse of alcohol can only make these worse. If you want to know the details of what is happening to your body parts when you drink,  what the worst drinks might be for you and why you are worse off if you have not eaten before drinking, visit Hartmann Direct for a detailed guide.

Get real

Perhaps a lot of us need to stop putting our heads in the sands about the dangers of drinking alcohol. Too many parents talk of wine time. Booze is glorified regularly on daytime television whilst it also hosts interviews with people who have suffered the impact of alcohol perhaps losing a child in a crash where a drink driver was the cause or by getting bowel cancer. I am by no means perfect but I hope like me you will look at your own alcohol consumption and ask yourself whether your lifestyle choices are serving you and your wellbeing..

How Alcohol Affects Your Bowels and Bladder

 

My Random Musings

There are numerous ways you can improve your home to add value to it and make it a more comfortable and inviting place to live. One of the most important parts of any home is its windows, and if yours are looking a little shabby or not insulating your house very well, it will have a significant impact on your living space. Windows let in light and keep out the cold, and they should enhance the appearance of your property too. If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the expense and disruption, you should consider all the benefits of upgrading your windows.

Insulation and warmth

Windows are critical for the insulation of your home. If they don’t form a perfectly sealed barrier to the elements, you can quickly get draughts, leaks, and damp problems. Having new windows will ensure there are no breaches in your home’s defences, and you will stay warm and dry this winter. New windows will also make a big difference to the noise levels in your home, reducing outside noise significantly and keeping your home quieter.

Security

Modern window designs feature sophisticated locking systems to keep your home more secure, and double glazing is far harder to break than a single glazed window. If you install windows that lock with keys, you should find your house insurance premiums will be lower, because locking windows represent a proven deterrent to burglars.

Appearance

Old style UPVC windows, or wooden frames and sills that are starting to rot, detract from the appearance of your home and make the whole building look shabby. When double-glazing first appeared, the designs were fairly standard, but now there is an extensive range of styles to suit both modern and period homes. For example, if you have a Georgian style building with sash windows, you can replace the old windows with new versions that look authentic but have all the advantages of modern materials and technologies.

Ease of use

Old windows can become stiff and hard to open, or they may instead start to loosen and rattle. Old handles may be hard to open and close, and if you leave an old window open a crack in the hot summer nights, it’s easy for an intruder to open the window all the way. Modern windows are much easier to operate, and many designs have security features that allow you to leave the window open enough to let air in, without anyone outside being able to open it any further.

Increased value

Even if you’re not planning to sell at the moment, it’s always good to know you’ve added value to your home. New windows will increase the value of a property, and the effects will last for some years. They also contribute to the kerb appeal of your home, and if you are planning to sell, new windows are a worthwhile investment if you want to boost your asking price and attract more viewings.

If your windows aren’t doing the job they were intended to, it’s time to think about replacing and upgrading them.

Benefits Of Upgrading Your Windows

My Random Musings

How to prepare your daughter for her first period is something that will be on the mind of mums of tweens and teens. You don’t know quite when this key milestone will happen but you want her to know the facts and also have some idea of what periods will mean for her for approximately 38 years of her life. If you are like me, you find it easy to discuss such matters but perhaps you are a parent who struggles to approach anything to do with bodies or sex. What are the various ways you can prepare your daughter for her first period.

Talk to her openly

OK, so you may be a little embarrassed but if you don’t talk to her you can bet someone else will. I remember a girl at school who came to me for her information. Now luckily I had a mum who was open to discussing things with me so I was relatively clued up but by no means perfectly.

Books

There are books on periods available now and on the wider challenges and joys of becoming a woman. My own mum left a book by an agony aunt on my bed and told me I could ask her anything once I had read it. My daughter was ahead of the game and chose a book on periods out of the library herself presenting it to me and telling me she would ask if she had any questions.  I was very impressed with her that day.

Supplies

Ensure your daughter has access to pads or tampons. I think most of us start off with pads and it can be a little scary at first for your daughter to think about inserting a tampon into her body. A really great tip is to provide her with something like a pencil case or tin for her to keep supplies with her at all times so when the first period or an unexpected one later arrives, she is all set.  Consider pants that are secure such as those from Knixteen which are available online.

Pampering

Only recently have I let myself off the hook as I come towards the end of my time having periods. It is OK to realise that if you have cramps or other not so good elements  of periods, it is sensible to take it easy. This might mean a nap, a treat or extra cuddles. I like that my daughter is  already taking extra care of herself at her time of the month. She is an inspiration and I often think she is teaching me  rather than the other way around. I am going to carve out some special times for us when she has her period where we do things together as the amazing women we both are.

Involve others

OK, so perhaps you don’t need to be like my own mum who telephoned every member of the family to announce my first period but you can involve others in supporting your daughter. As with many parenting issues, you are not the only person who can help her. My mum dispatched my dad to buy me a cake when I had my first period to celebrate me becoming a woman. That might sound a little corny but it is a gesture I have loved ever since. I made sure both my husband and boys knew about my daughter starting her periods and what she would need from them at this special time of the month.

How To Prepare Your Daughter For Her First Period

 What tips do you have on how to prepare your daughter for her first period?

 

Cuddle Fairy
Shank You Very Much

History Heroes are a range of games that are both fun and educational. We all know learning through play is incredibly powerful. These games prove that as you use them with your children. I love history anyway and as a home educator was very keen to review them.

Boudica

History Heroes

History Heroes has launched  their first, brand new Science Museum licensed card games: SPACE and LONDON. I love that both SPACE and LONDON are games that are fun for all age groups.  I hate games that only appeal to certain members of the family. These would work well for any age I think and encourage story-telling between the generations too.

Learning through play

Each  pack of History Heroes cards has 40 of the greatest characters on each theme highlighted on a beautifully illustrated card with fascinating facts about each of them The aim of the games is to try and win the cards by guessing who the characters are from the facts read out from the cards. My children enjoyed guessing and I was delighted at their reasonable knowledge of history. It was also great to identify where the gaps were so that we can plug these on our home education journey one baby step at a time. My youngest child was not at all confident in his ability around history and these cards helped to show me that which means I can support him better moving forwards.

Katherine Johnson

Grown-ups learn too

I like to think I know a lot of history. I did the subject at 0-Level and A-Level and just got better at it the  more I studied. To be honest, I often wonder if I should have done History at university instead of Law. I still enjoy reading about history and watching documentaries about times past. It was good to know that I too had gaps in my knowledge that can now be fixed. These games act as diving-board into news interests and further research.

Space

Link to the Science Museum

These two huge themes – LONDON and SPACE – appealed to both History Heroes and the Science Museum as a great way of launching this new series of History Heroes games, licensed by the Museum. It was fantastic for History Heroes to be able to tap into the vast reservoirs of the Science Museum’s knowledge and information about SPACE and SPACE exploration. The Science Museum’s commitment to inspiring everyone to enjoy and engage with STEM subjects helped shape the LONDON game too. As History Heroes’ Alexandra Ehrmann explains, “The topic of London is so huge that we could have gone in many different directions with the game. Creating this game as a Science Museum licensed game gave us an extra rigour to be relevant to their values too. Concentrating on the people who helped make and shape London has given the game a great focus, especially as that same narrative demands including characters, who have helped shape the city culturally too. As a born and bred Londoner, I can’t help but find the LONDON game deeply cool!”

History Heroes Games Review

The perfect stocking fillers

The games come as packs of cards. These make them ideal stocking fillers. History Heroes: LONDON and SPACE games are the latest release in a series that also features KINGS & QUEENS, WORLD WAR TWO, WOMEN, SCIENTISTS, EXPLORERS, SPORT, CHILDREN in history, INVENTORS and WORLD WAR ONE.

History Heroes

 

My Random Musings

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2016 at the age of 42, I thought that breast cancer was, well, just breast cancer. I didn’t know that actually there are multiple different types of breast cancer, lots of different treatments and different prognoses dependent upon a number of factors. I went into this whole experience completely unaware of the big picture. There were so many things I didn’t know, which now with hindsight, I wish I had known. And I’m fairly sure that not knowing those things added to my fears and worries.

Breast Cancer

 

So, for breast cancer awareness month, I am going to do you a favour and give you a bit of a heads up about breast cancer. An overview, if you like. And I am doing this because the breast cancer statistics are pretty scary. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK*. It affects men as well as women and there are around 54,900 new breast cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s around 150 every day (2013-2015)*. Current statistics are that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lives**. Wow.

What is breast cancer?

First off, let me tell you about the different types of breast cancer. To start with, there is primary breast cancer. This is the most common form of breast cancer and it is cancer which manifests in the breast and has either not spread outside the breast, or has just spread to the lymph nodes. Under the umbrella of “primary breast cancer” there are different types (too many to discuss here, but CRUK have some excellent information about the different types). Breast cancer can be found at different points of growth and spread and this is what is commonly known as “grade” (how different the cancer cells are to normal breast cells and how quickly they are growing) and “stage” (the size of the cancer and how far it has spread – breast cancer may be described as stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 or stage 4).

And then there are things called “receptors” which are proteins on the tumour to which hormones or other proteins can attach and stimulate the cancer to grow. All of these factors affect the treatment that will be given (there are many different treatments – surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and then there different chemotherapy drugs) and the prognosis. Primary breast cancer has a good survival rate. Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK.*

But now, let’s move on to a lesser known aspect of breast cancer: secondary breast cancer (also known as “advanced” breast cancer or “metastatic” breast cancer). Those of you who haven’t been affected by breast cancer may not even have heard of it (I certainly hadn’t before I had my own run-in with primary breast cancer).

Secondary breast cancer is where breast cancer cells spread from the first (primary) cancer in the breast through the lymphatic or blood system to other parts of the body. It is often referred to as the cancer “metastasising”. Roughly five in every 100 people with breast cancer already have secondaries when their cancer is first diagnosed ** and it is roughly estimated that a further 35 out of every 100 people with primary breast cancer will develop secondary breast cancer within 10 years of their first breast cancer diagnosis.**  It is estimated that around 35,000 people are currently living with secondary breast cancer in the UK.**  There is currently no cure for secondary breast cancer.  Depending on a number of factors (including how far the cancer has spread, where it has spread to and for how long the cancer has been spreading) the length of time that someone can survive after a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer varies greatly from a matter of weeks to years and its growth can often (but not always) be controlled with treatments.

What is it like to have breast cancer?

That’s a good question, and one that I could write heaps about (in fact I have written heaps about it for various organisations and charities). Everyone with breast cancer has a different story. A different beginning, middle and end so there isn’t one easy answer to this question. However, I can show you a snapshot. Working with Breast Cancer Care (the UK’s largest breast cancer support charity) we have put together the Breast Cancer Film Project. A collective story of breast cancer. By the people with breast cancer.

And this is what we got. Three short films showing a snapshot of the real story of breast cancer, from those living it: (1) Life with Breast Cancer, (2) Moving On After Breast Cancer and (3) Life With Secondary Cancer

In these short films, people who are living with (or after) breast cancer show how life involves treatment, scans and tests. They show scars, fears and struggles. They show love, support and kindness. They show acceptance, hope and perseverance. They show life carrying on despite cancer. They show people living their lives to the full. They show you real life with breast cancer. They are each around 2 minutes so, really, you don’t have an excuse not to watch them.

So, what now?

There you go, you now know some facts about breast cancer and more about the realities of life with breast cancer. But what now?

Well, for a start you can check your breasts and I don’t mean a quick squeeze in the shower every now and again when you remember. You need to educate yourself on how, when and what to check for. There are plenty of resources out there to help you but to save you the bother of finding them I’ve created a list of links for you. Finding breast cancer early can literally save your life.

And what if I want to donate to a breast cancer charity?

It was be absolutely wonderful if you were to donate to a breast cancer charity but please can I ask you not to just buy something pink this month. Yes, I know it is everywhere, and those who are selling the pink wares are making a big deal about breast cancer but look at how much of the money that you pay for the pink item actually goes to the charity (if any – because there are some rogues out there who use pink to sell their wares and don’t give a penny to charity). Yes, I know that something is better than nothing, and there is a place for these items (the Pink Ribbon Foundation, for example, rely upon funds received from the sale of these types of products) but why not consider making a direct donation to one or more breast cancer charities, or holding a fundraising event for one of the charities, so that more of your money makes its way directly to the charity?

But whichever charity you choose – do your research first. Some charities fund research, some fund support, some fund campaigns. Some fund a variety of these things. They are all deserving of your money, you just need to decide what is important to you. For more information about donating to a breast cancer charity you could read this page on my website, where I have identified ten excellent charities doing work in the breast cancer sector, together with information on how they spend their money and quick links to help you donate.

And there you go, that was your quick guide to breast cancer

Breast cancer is not going anywhere any time soon. It’s here and the statistics are a bit scary. But you can do your bit. Be aware. Talk about it. Don’t feel that you need to speak in hushed tones if you, or someone you know, has breast cancer. Check yourself. Help your family members and friends who are going through it. Donate to a worthy charity after doing your research. And, if you want to buy pink this month, please do.

EDUCATE. CHECK. DONATE.

*Statistics courtesy of Cancer Research UK

**Statistics courtesy of Breast Cancer Now

Thanks to  Jo Taylor ABC Diagnosis for her advice on the information about secondary breast cancer.

Also thanks to Breast Cancer Care for some of the information.

Sara is the founder of www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com, a website dedicated to helping people through their breast cancer treatment from diagnosis to living life to the full once treatment ends. Aged 42 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sara decided to set up the website to support those who do not know which way to turn for help after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis; those who are overwhelmed by the breast cancer resources online; those who may be scared to go online for fear of what they might find; and those just looking for a comfortable, safe, calm place to turn for help. The website provides practical advice for each step of the way, together with many links and signposts to other online resources. Follow her on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram.

What You Need To Know About Breast Cancer

 

Lucy At Home UK gentle parenting blogger

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