8 things I’d do if I got diagnosed with MS

to-do-list DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION!! MS can have a very serious impact on your future quality of life. All measures you can take to stay well, have the most impact when they are done early on, and stuck to consistently. Nobody knows what causes MS; but it’s agreed that genetic susceptibility can combine with environmental factors to trigger the auto-immune confusion that causes the body to attack it’s own myelin.

As far as the disease process goes, It’s widely believed that the early inflammation causes damage, which causes later degeneration, but we now know that degeneration is also a factor right from the start. However, there is a lot you can do to combat both inflammation and degeneration, both with medical treatment and your lifestyle & nutrition. Having worked as an MS specialist nurse for about 13 years now, here’s what I’d do if I got a diagnosis of MS:

1) ADDRESS INFLAMMATION & DEGENERATION WITH DIET &LIFESTYLE. Get George Jelinek’s book ,’Overcoming MS’ and follow all the dietary and lifestyle recommendations to the letter. This involves

Plant based whole food diet                                                                                      High dose vitamin D3                                                                                                  20g omega 3 oil                                                                                                        Exercise                                                                                                              Sunshine                                                                                                                Meditation

I consider this to be a rock solid foundation for good health, whether you have MS or not. It’s also so great to keep hearing individuals stories of improvement, even with long-standing and progressive MS, following this approach, and both Jelinek’s, and more and more research on diet and disease backs up this evidence based approach. See www.overcomingms.org

2) Find out about your options re drugs. I am not going to be talking about diseases modifying treatment (‘DMT’) choices here, only broad concepts.

MS drugs aim to stop or reduce  inflammation, manifested as relapses, in the hope that this will prevent the degeneration. See the infographic in my Alemtuzemab about the relationship between safety and efficiency of the various treatments available.

An important point to consider is that some of these more effective drugs are ‘second line’ treatments, which means they are only available to you on the NHS if you have already tried the standard drugs. There are also sometimes drug trials recruiting, where you can access a drug as part of an experimental trial. (see other posts) There is a link on the MS Society website to find out what trials are ongoing and how to get involved in a trial.

MS drug treatment is a fast changing topic and you need to have a serious discussion  with your MS Nurse and/or neurologist to find out what you are eligible for, and then read round the subject and discuss to make an informed choice.

Make sure the information you use to make your decision is as objective as possible, and not coming directly from the companies making the drug. www.msdecisions.org is a decision making tool that’s been put together by the MS Trust, the MS Society, the UK MS Specialist Nurses Association and the Department of Health, so its’ as objective as you are likely to find.

Last important point: The earlier in the disease process that a drug is used, the more effective it is likely to be.

3) Some – not all – but some, people with otherwise unexplained medical conditions, have an underlying food intolerance, and you can be completely unaware of the problem. If you do have an intolerance, for example, to gluten, then every time you eat that food, you set up a chain of inflammation in the body, which can certainly exacerbate any auto immune condition.  For that reason, I, personally, would also want to identify food intolerances. Finger prick blood tests are available online from companies like York labs and Lorisian. There’s a lot of controversy about them, and they have been found sometimes to be unreliable, with a tendency to just show up with whatever you’ve eaten recently. Another way is to spend some weeks doing s ‘exclusion diet’, to see if you can find any cuplprits. Here’s one example: https://avivaromm.com/elimination-diet/ . The difficulty here is that MS is a condition with ups and downs anyway, so it’snot necessarily going to be clear.

However, in my experience, when people who have a food intolerance identify and avoid that food, they get a lot better all round, so its worth doing.

4) Gut health There’s a growing understanding about how problems with the integrity of the gut wall,  (the tight junctions that prevent the wrong molecules passing through into the bloodstream, triggering this type of food intolerance) and the right mix of bacteria in the gut, can contribute to auto-immune diseases. This is a huge topic – search ‘heal your gut’ or similar. There are various ways to do this, by avoiding food intolerances, using supplements like the protein L-glutamine, various products to kill off any overgrowth of yeasts etc ( as in step 5) and probiotics.

Then, hopefully, your exclusions don’t have to be forever.

 

5) Consider a clear out. Environmental factors combining with genetic susceptibility is what is thought to trigger MS , and as we are still unsure exactly what those environmental factors are,  there is still a lot of interest and research going on into the role of viruses etc in MS. Even if this turns out to have nothing to do with the cause of MS, any inflammatory condition will be worsened by an overload of any organisms that should not be there, whether they are yeasts, bacteria, virus, or parasites. People who are concerned that they may have an overgrowth of yeast, wrong gut bacteria, etc may want have a ‘clear out’ by doing a  3 month ‘detox’ with a strong natural detox agent. I like something called SOS-Advance, which is a colloidal suspension of strong anti bacterial, anti viral, anti parasitic plant oils like oregano, neem etc, but there are plenty of other herbal ‘de-tox’ products. Be aware, before starting any detox product, that it’s possible to feel really grotty for up to a week at first, if you have a ‘die-off’ reaction. If this happens, drink more water, rest, make your diet light and fresh, treat any constipation, and shower/bathe frequently.

6) Eat Really good Food – it’s not all about avoiding stuff-  food has so much power to affect the cells of our bodies for brain and nervous system health, so read up on a wholesome plant based diet, and ‘eat the rainbow’, especially dark green leafy veg.

7) Becoming more resilient to stress. Super important. We know that unmanaged stress causes and inflammatory cascade in the body, and there’s enough research to identify it, along with infection, as a trigger for MS relapses. There’s load of research now on the power of meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation. Personally, and especially if you struggle to fit meditation or deep relaxation into your day, I like the HeartMath technique, where you learn to synchronise your heart rate variability, and get feedback as to how you’re doing. In my clinics, I use the desktop teaching program, and send people away with the simple technique to do regularly, but you can now purchase an app version, available from itunes: https://store.heartmath.com/innerbalance

8)Read up on intermittent fasting, even if it’s just to use if and when you’re aware that you have inflammation or relapse going on.

So, TO SUMMARISE, and adding the Jelinek/Overcomingms recommendations:

AVOID:

  • saturated fat ( meat & dairy, coconut & palm oil)
  • other fats in processed food
  • unmanaged stress
  • physical inacitivty (as much as possible)
  • foods which you test intolerant to
  • smoking
  • eating too many calories for your needs

TAKE:

  • a plant-based, whole food diet
  • eating a ‘rainbow’ with special focus on dark green!
  • high dose vitamin D3, keeping blood levels around 150nmol/litre
  • 20g omega 3 – 2 dessert spoons of cold pressed flax seed/linseed oil fulfils this
  • probiotics
  • Any appropriate MS treatment drug
  • meditation/deep relaxation 30 mins daily to improve resilience to stress, or regular Heartmath technique.
  • as vigorous as possible exercise 30 mins, at least 3-4 x a week, outside if poss
  • the sun – as close to all over as poss, 10-15 minutes when possible
  • Lipoic acid 1,200mg – see this post

and take courage – many people with MS go on to live healthy lives well into old age. I would encourage you to do these actions to help you to be one of these. 🙂

Overcoming MS retreat, July 2013

Hello! the madness of the summer is over (which I thoroughly enjoyed!) and at last I manage to blog about this amazing experience.

So in July, I attended the first UK retreat run by the Overcoming MS UK (OMS) organisation,  (now a registered UK charity), who allowed me to go so that I can hopefully help them to run workshops etc in the UK, to help people with MS understand the effects of diet and lifestyle modification on MS.george Jelinek et al, breakfast OMS meeting

From left to right, this is Linda Bloom, patron & founder of OMS UK, who has MS herself and is very well, Sandra Neate, Prof Jelinek’s wife, an emergency medicine consultant in Australia, Professor Jelinek, professor of emergency medicine and author & founder of Overcoming MS ( & very fit & well with MS), Gary McMahon , head of OMS UK, all round top bloke, with a business management background, but utterly committed to health, having helped his wife recover form serious illness using dietary & lifestyle measures, Dr Craig Hassed, an Australian GP and  medical  university lecturer, author & international speaker on mindfulness, and me.

What did I expect?

Well, I expected that I’d already know it all ( how arrogant!) …. I expected that I’d enjoy meeting the Professor and crew, but might shy away from too much socialising, not wanting to feel different as an MS nurse…. I expected I’d be bored in the evenings and took lots of work to do…. and that I might get a bit hungry on the fully vegan diet provided, and took a big loaf of bread for my bedroom… and I expected that 90% of the focus would be on diet & supplements, with a sliver of meditation thrown in for good measure….

What actually happened?

a) I didn’t know it all… & I’ll share my new understandings here,                                             b) I enjoyed meeting every person on the retreat, was inspired by the company of so many intelligent, stimulating individuals and couples who dare to think differently and think for themselves,  had a lot of fun, was never once bored, never did any work (!), and am actively staying in touch with the group via an email group because I want to!                     c) Was absolutely stuffed, because  the food was tasty, vibrant, delicious and really ‘stuck to your ribs’.                                                                                                                             d) I got my focus back through meditation, and realised how powerful the effects of even a boring daily grind of meditation that you don’t even want to do can be !!

for this, it helped having a little cell, with no TV or internet connection….

launde abbey

So, first impressions happened the evening before the retreat, when I went out for a meal with the OMS staff/trainers. Firstly, the Professor is seriously fit and healthy looking, and runs or swims daily more than I do in a week ( if not 2), and comes across as genuinely lovely, thoughtful, intelligent, educated, and kind person. He is obviously ably supported by his wife Sandra, who shares his qualities, diet & lifestyle, and took on the sessions about the structure & role of different fats.

Prof Jelinek & his wife Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the meal, in conversation, the Professor talked about how he would like to slow down his international work running the retreats ( he does already have his full time academic medical work), and I felt honoured to hear him relate this personal anecdote, with some emotion:

He said that he had recently experienced a relaxation of the drive to always be working to get his message out there, and that it had caused him to wonder and reflect. For some reason his age suddenly became very meaningful to him, but he couldn’t work out why — until he suddenly realised that he had now passed the age that his mother had been when she died, severely affected by MS (she took her own life). And so somehow, he had ‘made it’ , and proved to himself the value of the work he’s been doing all these years.

I’m not going to re-iterate all the points of the OMS approach here, as I’ve talked about it many times, and its all available for free on http://www.overcomingMS.org , there’s the books, and also a forum on the website where people can discuss points; I’m just going to go into some of the things I hadn’t quite nailed.

We sat in a circle around the outside of a large room, or on beanbags in the middle, and there were about 40 people. Most people had come with their partner, and some on their own. Teaching was very good quality, and we had lots of time to ask questions and discuss fine points.

prof jelinek teaching UK retreatHere’s the Prof teaching, and Linda in mid leap… she & Gary had organised and were running the show, she had her new baby in attendance, and during the week was constantly jumping up and physically running, fetching, carrying, leaping over boxes & beanbags, & looking radiant throughout.

Flax seed oil – in the most recent research carried out by OMS ,taking this trumped fish oil for having reduced disease activity. The best amount and way to take it is 2 dessert spoons drizzled over food ( or used to dip bread or in salad dressing) daily, and apparently, the best tasting is from http://www.flaxfarm.co.uk  I just got some, and can confirm, it looks like sunshine and tastes… nutty but fine. Going to see if I can get a discount for Bedford MS Therapy Centre….

Meditation

I’m no stranger to meditiation, having taken it up in my 20s, however, life had started getting on top of me, and when I attended the retreat, I was pretty stressed.

I was taken aback by the serious focus on meditation – every day, we started and finished the session with a half hour mindfulness meditation, led by Craig Hassed. I also did some of my meditation again in my room on a morning. It was hard! It is hard! But it is real – it has real, measurable mental and physical health benefits, and it’s worth doing every single day. By the end of the week I felt that I had met my real self again, and I was OK. Meditation  deserves a post of its own, which I’ll do some time, but for now, here’s some links to give a taste of the sort of thing we were doing. Scroll down to guided meditations, mindfulness meditation (1,2 or 3) with Craig Hassed.

http://www.calm.auckland.ac.nz/18.html 

It’s school run time!  but to stop this being delayed any further – TO BE CONTINUED!

OMS retreat and Second paper from the HOLISM study published: omega 3s associated with markedly better health

I’m really, really looking forward to getting away from it all ( apart from my MS learning) next week on the retreat for people with MS run by George Jelinek of Overcoming MS. Vegan food, peaceful and beautiful surroundings – just hope they have wiFi!!

Launde Abbey

The reason that I’m there, is  to learn, as OMS have asked me to help them run the one day courses which will be running in the UK, to educate people about the evidence for lifestyle measures that can help people with MS to remain well. I’m looking forward to it! As this is not an either/or choice – there’s a place for both types of medicine – I have never been afraid to stand up and promote this from the rooftops!  Going to take my yoga mat and meditation shawls….

And here’s just some of the research that OMS have been up to recently

Second paper from the HOLISM study published: omega 3s associated with markedly better healthOur research team at OMS is excited about the findings of our latest study from the HOLISM database, published online early at the International Journal of Neuroscience (http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00207454.2013.803104). To refresh memories, this study recruited around two and a half thousand people with MS from Web 2.0 platforms like Facebook, Twitter and MS websites, from 57 countries around the globe. They completed a long survey about their lifestyles and the illness. We have been busy analysing the data ever since; the findings about one part of the lifestyle survey relating to fish and omega 3 consumption have just been published and add enormous weight to the OMS recovery program. Briefly, those consuming fish the most frequently (three or more times a week), and those taking omega 3 supplements, had better health in virtually all measured domains of disease activity, disability, and quality of life. Perhaps the most striking finding however of the research was that while people with MS taking regular fish oil supplements had 44% fewer relapses than those not taking omega 3s, those taking flaxseed oil regularly had 66% fewer relapses! This effect was independent of how frequently they were consuming fish. We have suggested flaxseed oil as the preferred omega 3 supplement in the OMS recovery program since its inception. These data provide strong support for that approach.
The take-home messages from the paper were that, in a real world setting, people with MS taking omega 3 supplements and eating fish regularly have much better health! They have less disability, fewer relapses and better quality of life. People looking to recover from MS everywhere who are incorporating these lifestyle changes into their lives can take great heart from these findings.
The full version of the paper is still not available for download from the journal website, so we have attached a pdf (above right) to enable people to read the full paper.

Get chugging back that Flax seed oil!

MS Frontiers intro and OMS newsletter

I was proud to present this poster at the MS Frontiers conference – Fantastic findings re Flax seed oil – 49% less relapses in people with MS that took it, research by http://www.overcomingms.org just been accepted for publication.. Will post more info asap.

Also coming up – and important to know about if you have RRMS -Campath/alemtuzimab/lemtrada trials

and – interesting stuff from MS Frontiers conference

MS Nurse Miranda Olding presenting our poster at the MS Frontiers Conference

It has been a busy few weeks for Miranda Olding, MS Specialist Nurse, based at the MS Therapy Centre in Bedford. She was recently nominated by her patients for an award of ‘My MS Super Nurse, a competition run by the MS Trust. Click here to hear how Miranda describes her work with the MS Community.

With her holistic approach to patient care, she is a keen advocate of the OMS Recovery program and has represented us on a number of occasions, most recent of which was the MS Frontiers Conference at the Sofitel, Heathrow where she presented a poster on the current research work being undertaken by Professor Jelinek’s team at St. Vincent’s in Melbourne.

Photo: MS Specialist Nurse Miranda Olding presenting our research work in London

Recovering from Multiple Sclerosis: turning evidence into reality

Everyone knows about AMEX day by now, surely? Presented by Professor Jelinek and Dr Craig Hassed this day-long event will lay before you the recovery program and outline the evidence base that led Professor Jelinek to developing the program. The price includes all refreshments, a wonderful lunch and a copy of the book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: an evidence based guide to recovery to take home with you. The newly built AMEX Stadium, home of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club is a wonderful venue with superb facilities. Ticket sales have been strong, and bookings have come in from as far afield as central Europe, but at the time of writing there are still some places left. Don’t leave it until the last minute. This event will not be repeated until the end of 2014 at the earliest. Tickets are obtainable from here

New OMS app for smartphones released!

The new OMS app for smartphones has been released. Download free from the App Store!

Our trusty team has been working away behind the scenes to bring you OMS on your smartphone.

Go to the App Store in iTunes or Google play if you have an android phone and use the keywords ‘overcoming multiple sclerosis’ and you will find the new OMS app, which you can download for free!

From podcasts at your fingertips, to recipes, and even a place to send your photos of the surprised expression of your neurologist when he sees how well you are doing! All there on the new OMS app….

Specialist Study Presentation – July 2013

From the OMS website

Specialist Study Presentation – July 2013

Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of multiple sclerosis: theory and clinical evidence

In 2012 an Australian research team led by Professor George Jelinek (Founder of Overcoming MS, http://www.overcomingms.org) published research in Neurological Sciences, a major international neurology journal, looking at the health related quality of life outcomes at 1 and 5 years after an intensive MS lifestyle intervention. The evidence presented showed an average of 20% improvement on MS quality of life scores across physical, mental and emotional domains for people with MS following a preventive risk factor modification approach to MS over a 5-year period.

Additionally, Professor Jelinekʼs team has also commenced a major international study of PwMS looking at the various factors in their diets and lifestyles, and their disease activity and disability. This will produce strong evidence about the effect of these factors in MS disease activity and progression. The respondents represent the widest possible range of ages, geographical regions, and with different types of MS. The outcomes of this research will be published in a series of papers during 2013 and Prof. Jelinek will discuss these findings at this seminar.

This presentation will be held on Thursday 4th July 2013 at The Belmont Hotel, De Montfort Street, Leicester, UK.

via Specialist Study Presentation – July 2013.

Old posts: 2012: diet, supplements, Epstein Barr, detox, urine infections

2012

Supplements

The Therapy Centre is going to stock the supplements that I recommend most, at a discount of 15% off the RRP (which is fantastic news). So soon you will be able to buy Vitamin D3 5000 IUs, cold pressed flax seed oil 1000mg (Omega 3), and 2 varieties of an iron-free multi vitamin, mineral and nutrient supplement made from whole foods.  I got mixed up with a discount code previously, so if anyone used it and didn’t get the 20% discount, massive apologies, it went direct to the Centre, if you want to claim it back, see me!

Food

For people who’re eating food without saturated fat, but struggling with what to eat, I found a great website, www.fatfreevegan.com. Also, the OMS site is collecting more recipes that you can see when you log in. I too am collecting recipes, tips and ideas, so anyone out who has some good ones, please email or bring them in!

Hot topics

A hot topic for me this past year has been Epstein Barr (glandular  fever) virus and herpes virus (mainly herpes, cold sores and shingles in adults). Since I started asking people if they had these viruses, I’ve been shocked at how many MS people have one of these.  Recent research showing Epstein Barr still alive in MS lesions at post mortem, and    discussion around the fact that the virus lives on and may drive       inflammatory processes, got me wondering whether there could be a natural or herbal way of killing off the virus, and whether this would have any effect on the MS. So watch this space for the results of this latest     quest – natural viral detox!

Got a great tip the other day – did you know that the Kindle (£150 version) can read your books to you?  And for some people with    vision problems, the iPad is a revelation, so keep your eye on how technology can make life easier!

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 December 2011

As an MS Nurse, I’m always looking for the best advice to give to my clients about being and stayingwell…..  MS is a disease with a genetic component, but our environment – the food we eat, the climate,     exposure to various    viruses, and stress, – have an impact on activating or suppressing our genetic susceptibilities. I often talk with people about their lifestyle and diet, and   depending on what I find out, I may recommend that they look at the work of Terry Wahls,  Ashton       Embrey, Ann Boroch or Sawyer & Bachrach , or get an overview and understanding of the different considerations and approaches by reading Judy Graham’s book.

But at the moment, if I had to choose just one piece of advice to give to    people with MS  who want to know what they can do to help their health, it would be to go to the http://www.overcomingms.org/website, and immerse themselves in the evidence based information there.

George Jelinek is the author of the book and website ‘OvercomingMS’ . He  is a medical doctor, and professor of emergency medicine in Australia, whose mother had MS and became very disabled, and who was diagnosed himself in 1999. Since that time, he  invested a vast amount of time and energy into examining the research on the various dietary, nutritional and lifestyle factors that have a  documented effect on MS, found evidence of the profound difference they can make, put the recommendations into practice and stayed symptom and relapse free, and has put this together into a simple to follow approach.

The work that Professor Jelinek has done in compiling and explaining, in simple language, the research on dietary fats and vitamin D is      incredibly helpful, and the fact that it’s all in one place, on the web or in his book,

Overcoming MS, an Evidence Based Guide to Recovery’ means that the   information stays cohesive and doesn’t become overwhelming

The cornerstones of the OMS approach are:

Diet and supplements

· Omega-3 fatty acid: 20g /mls  a day of flaxseed oil or fish oil, or the equivalent amount of fish

· Optional B group vitamins or B12 supplement if needed

Meditation – 30 minutes daily

Vitamin D

Sunlight 15 minutes daily 3-5 times a week as close to all over as  practical

Vitamin D3 supplement of at least 5 000IU daily, adjusted to blood level

Aim to keep blood level of vitamin D high, that is between150-225nmol/L (may require up to 10 000IU daily)

Exercise  –   20-30 minutes around 5 times a week preferably outdoors

 Medication

·    In consultation with your doctor, if a wait and see approach is not

appropriate, take one of the disease-modifying drugs (many may not need

a drug, and drug selection should be carefully weighed against side effects)

·   Steroids for any acute relapse that is distressing

·   One of the more potent drugs if the disease is rapidly progressive

The down side to the evidence-based approach, is that if anything – be it a therapy, foodstuff, supplement, drug, or approach, has not been      researched, or not researched to an adequate standard, then it can’t be counted. The evidence based approach prevents us from wasting money or time on useless therapies, but as Carl Sagan, famous America

astronomer, writer and scientist, famously said, ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’.   So I’m still happy to suggest a person, for   example, who has extreme fatigue, might try Terry Wahl’s green   smoothies, or that someone might try hyperbaric oxygen, or even some of the commonly used symptom management drugs ( for instance for muscle spasm and stiffness) which don’t necessarily have a body of      scientific evidence for effectiveness behind them, but are used due to the effects that people report.

Recently I was really excited to see a research paper from the Australian Journal ‘Quality in Primary Care’, following up people who attended an OMS retreat and took on the recommended dietary and lifestyle changes. This study showed ‘ongoing improvements in health related quality of life after an intensive lifestyle modification course’, over 2 ½ years, that ‘ could potentially make a significant difference to the lives of many people with this condition’, and ‘contribute to the growing body of evidence that health promotion programmes and non-drug therapies for MS     patients have a beneficial effect.’

We hope to get Professor Jelinek over to the UK for a retreat in summer 2013, but you don’t need to do a retreat to take on this approach –all the research and recommendations are outlined on the website and in his book. Recently I met up with Lisa, the moderator from the website, and  two English women who  have done the OMS retreat, follow its recommendations, and enjoy good  health, and introduced them to the MS Trust. Now they are going to be introducing the work  to the MS specialist practitioners at the annual MS Trust conference for healthcare professionals in November. The goal of this is to help to promote the work of OMS in the UK – so that everyone who gets diagnosed with MS has the chance to find out about it, research it for themselves, and make their own decision.

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spring 2011

 This month I am mainly focussing on Urinary tract Infections (UTIs),   because they can really set you back when you have MS, and Prevention is better than cure!One cause of UTIs   with MS is the bladder not emptying properly. Not being able to start passing urine,  feeling there’s some left afterwards, passing a fair amount again quite soon after, ‘urgency’ and UTIs  can all be signs of incomplete emptying. This needs to be identified by ultrasound scan, which is done during an assessment by the continence service. For    Bedfordshire, Melanie  runs a clinic here once a month, or for Beds and Northants you can be seen in a local clinic , or have a home visit. Speak to me, a nurse or your GP to be referred

Be prepared! Burning, cloudiness or unusual smelling urine are classic signs of a UTI, but you can also dipstick test your urine at home. Buy Multistix or Uristix which include Leukocytes and nitrites,.Also dipstick if you have a relapse, as UTIs can be symptom free. It’s a good idea to help your GP understand how a UTI can cause MS to flare up, and be ready to prescribe an antibiotic at the first sign of infection. Get a sample taken in too, and the antibiotic can be changed lagter if necessary.

If you use a catheter, either a permanent or intermittent type, this also can introduce a route for infection. Obviously scrupulous hygiene is a must. People who get recurrent infections can try having antibiotics for the three days around a catheter change, or may even need to use a daily low dose antibiotic. For intermittent catheters, the type can make a difference – it’s important to use something that you don’t have to touch the tip of at all, and there are a couple out now which have a protective ‘introducer’( Hollister ‘Vapro’ is one), so the tip does not even touch the outer part of the urethra. Talk to your continence adviser.

if you get a UTI.

Don’t take any chances – Get a prescription of antibiotics!  If you take a course, top up with probiotics during and afterwards to help protect your digestion and health. Always finish a prescribed course of antibiotics, as stopping early can cause      antibiotic resistant bugs.

Drink plenty of water and pee frequently. Begin as soon as you feel the first signs and symptoms. Doing this can actually flush the bacteria out and wash it away. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks, spicy foods,  and bubble baths etc, which can worsen symptoms. Cut out sugar to help your immune system fight back.

The most common bug causing UTIs is E coli, which lives in the bowel, but can cause persistent problems once it enters the urinary tract. So – what else can you do to help get rid of RECURRENT UTIs, especially if antibiotics are not working?

You may want to consider using Colloidal Silver  – silver particles suspended in water, which is a natural antibiotic.  Go to http://www.ukcolloidalsilver.co.uk/

“Citricidal’ from Higher Nature is a safe, natural antibiotic you can try at home.

Cranberry helps to acidify urine, and may help stop the bacteria form sticking to the bladder walls. Concentrated tablet form is best.

Some people have found D-Mannose to be effective in the same way – this is a simple sugar that E coli tends to latch on to. It’s available online but is quite     expensive.

All these remedies can be taken both in a higher dose for infection, and at a low dose as a preventative.

Be aware:

· Some sexually transmitted diseases have symptoms similar to urinary tract infections. See a doctor if you suspect that you may have an STD.

· See a doctor if you have a fever, chills, pain in the flank area, nausea or vomiting – especially if the symptoms develop rapidly. Also see a doctor if symptoms do not improve after 24 hours of self-care, or if you are unable to urinate at all.

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December 2010

I hope everyone is reading the MS Resource Centre’s New Pathways (available to read at the MS Centre) at this exciting time in the world of MS treatments. The July/August edition updates us on the CCSVI debate, and lists all the places worldwide where you can be screened and treated. To learn more, I am attending the first International conference on CSSVI in Glasgow, in October, so I’ll be sure to report back.

The same New Pathways reports on a couple of fascinating small studies which fit in with this theory of poor circulation from the brain, and have worked for most of the people on the trial.

Inclined Bed Therapy

This involves raising the head of your bed by 6 inches. It’s certainly a lot cheaper than a private operation in Poland, as bed raisers, risers, or ‘elephant feet’ can be bought online for 12.99. Since CSSVI hit the headlines, this research has attracted fresh attention, and the author is carrying out a larger survey. You can get involved by going to www.thisisms.com/ftopicp-118378.html#118378

Update on Vitamin D

Thank you to the lady who came to let me know that she’s been feeling much better since she started on it. It is always good to get feedback; good or bad! D3 is still coming up as good, but newest research suggests it’s not just the vitamin D component that’s so important, it’s also the ultraviolet light, so more reasons to get outside as  much as possible. Had a good question regarding the vitamin D Should you take CALCIUM with it? I discussed this with the technical advisers at Nutri, who supply quality supplements to practitioners. Their view was YES, if you are on a dairy free diet, but not if not. Also, if you quote MSRC New Pathways when you make an order on the phone at      NutriCentre, you get 20% off.

My little break from clinic afforded me some reading time, and I’ve just finished ‘Healing Multiple Sclerosis’ by Ann Boroch. I’d recommend this to anyone who has taken lots of antibiotics in their life before    having MS, or has had recurrent yeast or fungal infections (like thrush or athlete’s foot) It’s main drive is about the association between chronic candida and MS; this isn’t a new theory, and most natural health    practitioners understand all about it. Getting rid of candida overgrowth is a long slog, but worth it if it applies to you, and I’m also happy to help anyone with this 3 pronged attack – kill yeast, don’t feed yeast, put good bacteria back! The author’s attitude to illness is a bit over the top at times, but the candida bit is good.

MS Centre Dietitian Bernice Chiswell adds

‘However, it should be born in mind that there is no scientific       evidence behind this. The diet is very restrictive and for the majority could prove more harmful than beneficial due to inadequate macro and micro nutrient intake’

Me:  The next book was ‘The MS Recovery diet’ The theory behind this is that food intolerances can initiate inflammatory reactions in the body, and it makes excellent and logical reading. It’s a similar approach to the Best Bet diet, but assumes that your intolerances are likely to be     individual,  explains how to find out, and has a large recipe selection to help get started. I recommend this to anyone with MS in the family.

Bernice Chiswell adds;

‘It should be born in mind that, although people with MS can have food intolerances, the only sure way to test for this is by food        exclusion and re introduction. Again, unnecessary exclusion can lead to unbalanced diets, plus be an added life burden to people who are already coping with disability and fatigue. The best bet diet is again not evidenced base.’

Me:  It’s a great month for books, too, as 3 new publications are out which all deserve reading – I have been waiting for ages for 2 of them:

Terry Wahls’ ‘Minding my mitochondria – How I Overcame       Secondary Progressive MS and Got Out of my Wheelchair’, which promises to be very scientific and convince everyone to eat loads of greens; ‘Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis; An Evidenced Guide To     Recovery’ by George Jelinek. Check out his approach on his website of the same name. Basically, super low fat Swank diet, a disease    modifying drug and meditation, and Judy Graham’s ‘Managing Multiple Sclerosis Naturally’. I haven’t read these yet but I will be doing and will report back!

Dietary approaches vary a bit, but some things remain constant – the less saturated fat, and the more brightly coloured veg & omega 3 fatty acids you eat, the more good you’ll be doing yourself.

Remember, if you’re taking something out of your diet, make sure you balance your nutritional needs. Our expert dietician, Bernice, can advise you.