BLADDER INFECTIONS AND URINARY DISCOMFORT
Holistic Healthy Living Blog
by Rachelle Tetreault L,Ac
Bladder infections, also known as cystitis, are not only very uncomfortable but unfortunately very common. These alone account for 6 to 9 million doctor visits each year. The symptoms are very irritating and can range from mild to severe. If left untreated, can even cause sepsis which can be life threatening. This is seen especially in elderly or immunosuppressed patients.
Some of the major symptoms are pain or burning upon urination, scanty dribbling or urine flow, a frequent need to urinate, and even cramping in the lower back area or abdomen. Red flag symptoms can be fever, confusion, or nausea and vomiting. Most urinary tract infections (UTIs) are treated with an antibiotic , however, this leaves the bladder vulnerable to any future bacterial infections and often leads to a recurrent infection. Twenty percent of women have a bladder infection each year.
Some of the major root causes of these infections are vaginal or intestinal bacteria, frequent use of antibiotics, poor diet and/or allergies, hormonal imbalances, or sexual intercourse. Eastern Medicine refers to bladder infections as damp-heat in the lower jiao. The focus is to treat the infection by clearing damp-heat in three major meridian channels. The include the liver, gallbladder, and urinary bladder meridians. The herbal formulas will help thoroughly treat both the infection and inflammation in the genitourinary system. Proper blood circulation to the lower jiao helps increase the delivery of herbs to the affected area and ultimately flush out toxins in the blood.
Other issues often treated with this protocol include Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), vaginitis, pyelonephritis, and dysuria. Many patients do not respond well to traditional antibiotic therapy especially when deficiency from chronic recurrent infections have taken place. Eastern Medicine addresses this by nourishing the kidney yang in chronic cases. This can be done by both acupoint placement and herbal therapy.
The best nutrition for bladder infections include plenty of water and fresh fruits. These specifically should consist of watermelon, pears, oranges, cantaloupe, grapes, and strawberries. Other foods for preventing bladder infections date back to Tao nutrition and consist of carrots, celery, corn, squash, mung beans, barley, red beans, millet, and water chestnuts. Avoid heavy proteins such as meat and dairy products (excluding natural yogurt), Alcohol should also be avoided. It is recommended to drink both pear and watermelon juice up to three times a day. Also, daily carrot and celery juice are very helpful. Natural plain yogurt consisting of live cultures will help establish a normal environment in the genital tract which is ideal following any type of antibiotic therapy. Eating plenty of fresh vegetable and fruits will help prevent infection and facilitate healing as well. Regular intake of cranberry juice with no sugar is always a staple to a healthy genitourinary tract. Drink several glasses of it a day and it may be diluted with water if needed. Refined sugar lowers the immune system and encourages the growth of bacteria so it should be avoided.
Some great tips for reducing infections include emptying your bladder when you feel the urge. Delaying urination can set the stage for a possible infection. This is also very important prior and following sexual intercourse. Always remove damp swim wear or clothing due to this acts as a breeding ground for bacteria. Also, we have known for awhile but now science is also aware that stress depletes the immune system. So stress reduction will help prevent the risk of any type of infection in the body. This applies to inflammation as well. Finding a way to decompress and take those long cleansing breaths is vital for each of us every day.
Other tips include placing a warm compress on your lower abdomen. If infections reoccur around menses or with menopausal changes, hormone balancing is often needed. Do not use scented tampons or sanitary napkins or powders that may irritate the urethra or vaginal area. Wearing cotton underwear helps ward off bacterial growth and proper wiping following using the bathroom (wipe front to back) is important. This will reduce the likelihood of intestinal bacteria traveling to the urethra.
Probiotics help in the prevention of the overgrowth of bad bacteria. This is especially true if you are taking antibiotics. It is good to take probiotics at a separate time during the day and take it for two full months. Choose a probiotic which contains at least 4 billion organisms daily. Other supplements which are useful for having good urinary health include vitamin C which inhibits the growth of E. coli. Uva ursi can be taken as a capsule or tincture and naturally helps destroy the bad bacteria. D -mannose taken 500mg up to four times a day will help prevent bacteria from attaching to both the bladder wall and urinary tract. Echinaccea, cranberry extract, and horsetail are also much helpful for good urinary heath. Cranberry extract can be taken 400 to 500 mg twice a day. It is very helpful more so for prevention but can also be used in treatment protocol for an acute infection.
Eastern Medicine utilizes more root cause treatments with both preventative and nutrition therapy methods for longer lasting results. Call today for your first step to optimal health 772-359-1397