18 January 2019
At my family medicine clinic, Beyond Primary Care, located in Ann Arbor Michigan, I see a fair number of individuals who experience urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is when urine leaks, from a number of causes, that becomes frequent or severe enough to be a problem. Incontinence happens in men and women. Unless I specifically ask some individuals, some may think that incontinence is an unavoidable part of getting older or a known consequence of child birth. I wanted to tell everyone that urinary incontinence can be addressed with both non-medication and medication intervention. In this guide, I talk about non-medication treatments.
The bladder is a hollow sac (like a balloon) with muscular walls. It sits behind the pelvic bone. The bladder is part of the urinary system, which includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. The kidneys take waste and water out of your blood to make urine. The urine travels down your ureters to the bladder. When you’re ready to urinate, the urine empties through the urethra.
It sounds like kind of a lot, but, depending on how much liquid you drink, peeing roughly 8 times during the day is average. Even though it’s annoying, getting up once to twice during the night is also considered normal. Most bladders hold about 2 cups of fluid (473 mL). A classic excuse among the frequent pee-ers: “I just have a small bladder!” Turns out, there’s some truth to that seemingly odd refrain. Anatomically, everybody can be different, just like some people are tall and some people are short.
If you’re irked by how much time you spend atop the throne, consider keeping a diary to chart your bathroom breaks. When you actually tally up your trips, what feels like a lot might be totally normal. Again, most bladders hold about 2 cups of fluid. If you’re going to the bathroom frequently and producing less than that, that may not be normal. And yes, you should actually measure. Grab a container and see if you’re hitting 1.5 to 2 cups.
Keep Drinking Fluids. Understandably, if you spend a lot of time thinking you have to pee, you might be inclined to dehydrate yourself just a touch. If you don’t drink as much, you won’t have to go as often, right? Turns out this way of thinking is bladder sabotage. When you drink less, the urine becomes more concentrated, and the more concentrated it is the more irritating it can be to the bladder, which can trigger the sensation that you have to go more often.”
Timed voids. The good news for the small bladdered is that you can train your bladder to hold more fluid. If you give into the urges too often, you are training the bladder not to hold as much (Just don’t hold it so long that it starts to hurt). You could be inadvertently doing this if you’ve preemptively started emptying your bladder more frequently in just-in-case scenarios, like in hopes of warding off leakage, say, before a workout.To train your small bladder to bulk up, implement “timed voiding”:
Hitting the (pelvic floor) gym. The stronger those down-there muscles, the easier it is to hold urine in. It’s better to learn how to use your muscles to tighten the pelvic-floor area. Yes, we’re talking about Kegel exercises. If you don’t already know, the exercises are performed by tightening and releasing the muscles you’d use to stop the flow of urine without moving anything else in your body. Find your pelvic muscles by tightening the rectum as if trying not to pass gas or pinching off a stool. Done best after emptying the bladder. Tighten and hold for up to 3-5 seconds, then release and relax 5 seconds. As muscles get stronger, progress to 10 seconds. Do these exercises 10-20 times a session, 3 times a day. Remember to breath normally. It may take 4-6 weeks to notice results.
16 January 2019
Hello and thank you reading my blog at Beyond Primary Care and trying the BPC Good Eats recipes. This featured recipe is a Pizza Dough. These recipes are my attempt, in a way, to bridge that Doctor’s adage of “Eat Better & Exercise More.” In this post, I will showcase a healthy meal made on a budget, my pictures are pretty decent, and that is how I got into this food endeavor.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
3 cups bread flour
1 (.25 oz) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons honey, divided
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup unbleached flour (for rolling)
1) Microwave water in measuring cup to 110 degrees F/ 45 degree C, time varies on microwave.
2) Stir sugar into warm water, then sprinkle yeast on top but do NOT stir. Allow to sit untouched for 10 minutes.
3) While waiting, sift bread flour, garlic powder, salt, and onion powder into mixer bowl. Add 1 tablespoon honey, basil, oregano directly to bowl.
4) Once yeast/water mixture has rested 10 minutes, turn mixer to slow and add water/yeast mixture slowly. This is a little bit of an art, add to quickly or too much and your dough will be soggy and clump. Add too little and your dough will be too dry.
5) Continue mixing until dough is elastic and smooth, about 10 minutes, for last 2 minutes turn mixer to faster speed.
6) Turn mixer off, let dough sit for a minimum 30 minutes before using. If longer times are allowed, refrigerate. Ideal is 4 hours to overnight. If refrigerating, take out and allow 30 minutes to return to room temperature before rolling.
7) When ready, preheat oven to 425F.
8) Once dough has rested, spread flour over clean counter space. Place dough on counter, use rolling pin spreading and flipping dough until desired consistency. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before transferring to pizza stone or pan.
9) Place cornmeal liberally on stone or pan before transfer pizza dough. Trim to desired length (use extra dough and re-roll for pizza sticks or a smaller pizza).
10) Crimp edges of pizza with hands. Use fork and poke multiple spots at pizza dough for aeration.
11) Bake pizza crust alone for 3-4 minutes. Take pizza dough out of oven, use remainder of honey and brush ends of pizza to create flavorful crust.
12) The pizza crust is all done, top per your favorite recipe!
10 January 2019
Gabapentin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat epilepsy and neuropathic pain caused by shingles. That is it! However, as many people already recognize it is prescribed ‘off label’ by health care providers for various reasons including including depression, anxiety, migraine, fibromyalgia, muscle and joint pain, and bipolar disorder. According to some estimates, over 90% of Neurontin sales are for off-label uses. A report by IMS health found that 57 million prescriptions for Gabapentin were written in the U.S. in 2015, a 42% increase since 2011.
Many providers, including myself, have never screened for Gabapentin abuse in the past as this medication is not tracked by the state’s controlled substance tracking system nor is it typically detectable in most office-based urine drug screens. When Gabapentin is taken alone there is little potential for abuse. Yet, when taken with other drugs, such as opioids, muscle relaxants, and other anxiety medications, there are reports that Gabapentin can have a euphoric effect.
While I see the concern for making Gabapentin a controlled substance in Michigan, it is going to be a tremendous headache for everyone. The community, hospitals, treatment facilities, and doctor offices.
It will eventually be easier for people to smoke a joint then get Gabapentin.
Currently, a month supply at Beyond Primary Care for 300 mg (90 pills) is $4.59. The street value for Gabapentin just went up because of this classification and that makes me concerned. Hell, the CDC lists Gabapentin as a non-opioid alternative treatment for pain control. This move by the State of Michigan makes my job as a physician, patient advocate, and provider certified in chronic pain management increasingly harder to deliver affordable and effective treatment to my patients.
4 December 2018
I recently met a doctor and self-proclaimed underserved medicine wonk who bellowed that DPC doctors ‘cherry pick’ healthier and wealthier patients, leaving the the vast majority of individuals without care and fewer doctors to choose from. Nothing is farther from the truth- Direct Primary Care is not concierge medicine. I wanted to scream (I didn’t) that this perception whereby accepting a patient’s insurance somehow improves access to health care. I wanted to point out how the health care services this doctor was providing relies so heavily on third-party reimbursement systems, costs for their medical care have likely gone up. But in the end, the before-mentioned doctor was so entrenched in the health care insurance matrix, I could only use their misconceptions to help educate others.
Direct Primary Care doctors run their own business so that we can do what is right for a change in health care; Treat individuals the way everyone wants to be treated by giving patients the time and peace of mind they deserve. We have transparent pricing on the care for our memberships, and do not charge more for complicated patients, or management of difficult or chronic medical conditions that require more frequent trips to see the doctor. Our plans work great for anyone at any level of insurance or for individuals at any level of savings and income.
Direct Primary Care wants to work for you.
My goal with opening a direct primary care practice was to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to everyone in the community. I have worked in the fee-for-service system, up-billing every visit to maximize insurance reimbursement (remember, costs are passed down- ultimately to the patient). I remember the conversations about patient’s prescribed blood pressure medications that cost $100 a month, and how I felt powerless to offer alternative ways of obtaining more affordable medications. I know the gut-wrenching decisions I had to make in cutting short a conversation about a patient’s knee pain because I was already a half-hour behind, offering them to return for a subsequent visit two weeks away.
At some point, my job as a family doctor in the fee-for-service system felt more like just a title and salary. After spending the better part of a decade in medical school and post-graduate training, I wanted my role as a doctor to have value. Value for providing my patients with unparalleled access to care. Value for providing my patients with transparent pricing on health care services and helping them navigate the system when needed. Value for sitting down with my patients, spending the time with them that is needed, and being there. That is the value in Beyond Primary Care.
3 December 2018
Hello and thank you reading my blog at Beyond Primary Care and trying the BPC Good Eats recipes. This featured recipe is a Ropa Vieja. These recipes are my attempt, in a way, to bridge that Doctor’s adage of “Eat Better & Exercise More.” In this post, I will showcase a healthy meal made on a budget, my pictures are pretty decent, and that is how I got into this food endeavor.
Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes (including 8-10 hr slow cooking)
Adapted from: Food Network
1 (15 oz) can crushed tomato
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
2 jalapeno pepper (with seeds), thinly sliced
2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 green), sliced ½ inch thick
1 ½ lbs skirt steak or flank steak
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives, plus 1 tbsp brine from the jar
2 cups white rice, for serving
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1) Combine the tomatoes, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, cumin, jalapeno, and ¾ tsp salt in a slow cooker.
2) Add the steak, bell peppers, and onion and toss to coat.
3) Place cover on and cook for 8 to 10 hours
4) Coarsely shred the meat with 2 forks, then stir in olives and olive brine. Serve over rice.