NATURAL APPROACHES TO URINARY TRACT HEALTH
The kidneys sit just below your rib cage on either side of the spine. They play a major role in the body’s detox process, helping flush waste from the body through urination. Every day, the kidneys draw out about 1-2 quarts of urine for every 120-150 quarts of blood.
The ureters are thin muscular tubes on each side of your bladder that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
Located in the pelvic region, the bladder is a hollow, muscular organ that expands as it fills with urine. Once full, it sends a signal to the brain, and we sense it’s time to urinate. It can hold up to two cups of urine. However, every person is different in terms of how often they produce and hold urine and how frequently they urinate.
During urination, the bladder empties through the urethra, located at the bottom of the bladder. The muscles of the pelvic region, the bladder muscles, and the urethra work together like a dam to hold urine between trips to the restroom.
When bacteria travel up the urethra into the bladder, this may cause a urinary tract infection. The most common type of bacteria found in UTIs is the E. coli bacteria. If the infection spreads to the kidneys and ureters this can cause an upper UTI or pyelonephritis; left untreated it can affect other body systems and lead to serious health problems.
TIPS FOR MAINTAINING A HEALTHY URINARY TRACT
Maintain healthy flora in the body. Proper balance of flora is not only important for GI function but for other systems too, such as the urinary system. Consider adding fermented foods to your diet and/or taking a probiotic supplement. There are specific probiotic strains for the UT system. Check with your practitioner about the one best suited to your concerns.
Stay Hydrated. Fluid intake, especially water, is vital to the health of the urinary tract. Water helps flush bacteria and other waste products from your body. The typical recommendation is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water (e.g., body weight = 140 lbs., water intake = 70 oz. daily). Check with your doctor on the proper amount for you. Adding organic unsweetened cranberry juice to your water always helps to support the UT system.
Detox your Diet. You may not think of sugar, caffeine, nicotine, or packaged food as toxic, but they have no nutritive value. Regular use of these items stresses the systems designed to cleanse and preserve the integrity of your health.
Go Orange. Get your Vitamin C. Eating foods high in vitamin C has been shown to help promote urinary tract health and prevent UTI.
Treat any underlying infections. Candida likes to grow in dark moist places like your UT system as well as your gut. Oftentimes, recurrent UTIs are caused by an underlying chronic Candida infection.
Alkalize your body. A little bit of baking soda diluted in water in the morning goes a long way. Ditch processed foods and refined sugar and alkalize your diet. Drink alkaline water away from food.
Be prepared. At the first sense of symptoms it’s important to have the right arsenal of tools under your belt. Every minute the UTI is left untreated it becomes worse. Know your body and when you are prone to getting UTIs if they are recurrent and treat the underlying cause.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT. . .
“A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.” – Joan Welsh
DARKER BERRIES HAVE EXCEPTIONAL HEALTH BENEFITS
Antioxidants, which includes vitamin C, help protect against free radicals (scavenger molecules that damage healthy cells in your body). Eating berries can lower risk for certain cancers, protect urinary tract health, and promote healthy aging.
Boysenberry is a hybrid of blackberry, loganberry and raspberry. It’s juicy and sweet with a bit of tang and contains vitamins C and K, folate, and manganese, which play an important role in immunity, anti-inflammatory response, digestive and cardiovascular health.
Elderberry, an immunity-boosting berry, is packed with vitamins C, A, B6 and iron and potassium. It’s on the tart side, but can be sweetened with organic honey and is commonly used to make teas and jam. The flavonoids in elderberry compare to Tamiflu, an anti-influenza medication.
Try a variety of the dark berries; from bitter to tart to sweet, there’s a berry for everybody!
RECIPE: BERRY-FENNEL-GINGER HERBAL TEA
Infused with dark berries, this herbal tea provides an abundance of antioxidants. A spicy hint of ginger, along with tummy-taming fennel, supports digestion. It’s also pretty in a clear glass tea mug. Use organic ingredients.
1 oz dried blueberries
1 oz dried bilberries
1 oz dried elderberry
1 oz dried blackberries
1 oz fennel seed
1 tbsp dried ginger root
Dried berries can be purchased from Nuts.com
Combine Ingredients and mix all ingredients together. To prepare a cup of tea, use 1 tbsp of mix to 10 oz boiling water. Cover and let steep for 10 min. Strain, add optional sweetener and drink. Can be enjoyed warm or as an iced beverage. Remaining mix can be stored up to six months in a dry, airtight container.
D-MANNOSE FOR CHRONIC URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS
A natural and effective option is a supplement called D-Mannose, a naturally occurring sugar found in a variety of fruits such as blueberry, apple, and cranberry. This sugar is the reason that cranberry juice is commonly recommended as a UTI treatment; it’s a lot easier, however, to get the recommended dosage from a D-mannose supplement.
Natural medicine practitioners have long been using D-mannose to treat UTI in men and women. Recent studies comparing D-Mannose to both antibiotic and placebo have shown women taking D-Mannose had a significantly lower frequency of UTI and a lower incidence of side effects compared to those taking the antibiotic.
Talk with your holistic physician before taking D-Mannose as dose differs based on frequency and duration of infection, age, and other health factors.
MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH WITH BUCHU (Barosma betulina, Agathosma betulina)
- bladder infection
- blood in the urine
- chronic urinary tract infection
- inflammation in the kidneys
- painful urination
- colic and painful gas in adults
Natural medicine practitioners propose that the active chemicals in buchu help to kill germs and promote flow of urine. The dried herb is most commonly used in capsule form.
Buchu must be used under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner because it can interact with other medications. Also, a person’s age, their symptoms, and the stage of progression of their health condition influences how buchu is used. Buchu has not been studied for use with children and should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
SOOTHING SITZ BATH
COMMON REASONS WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO USE A SITZ BATH
- Recent surgery (e.g., hemorrhoids)
- Recent childbirth
- Recent urinary infection, gastrointestinal illness, diarrhea
- As part of your personal preventative hygiene regimen
While taking a sitz bath doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription, be sure to check with your health practitioner about how soon after a medical procedure you can safely take one. Your doctor might prescribe medication to add to the sitz bath, or recommend a homeopathic preparation to create a more soothing solution for tender areas.
HOW TO TAKE A SITZ BATH
The bath can be done in your regular bathtub. Be sure to thoroughly clean the tub with an environmentally friendly (non-bleach) cleanser or a solution of vinegar and water (ask your health practitioner how to prepare).
Fill the tub with comfortably warm, not hot water.
Add medicine or doctor-recommended remedies to the water. Step into the tub. Sit for 15 to 20 minutes, with bent knees, allowing water to flow around your perineum. When you get out of the bathtub, gently pat dry with a clean cotton towel. Don’t rub or scrub the perineum, as this may cause pain and irritation. Finish by rinsing the bathtub thoroughly.
You can also choose to use a sitz kit, a mini tub placed over your toilet seat. Make sure it’s secure before you sit in it and the water is deep enough so the entire perineum is submerged. After 15-20 minutes, pat dry and follow the cleaning instructions that came with your kit.
OTHER OPTIONS: YONI STEAMING HERBS
You can soothe and revitalize your reproductive system with the ancient practice of yoni (vaginal) steaming. Yoni steaming is respected by healers around the globe and a wonderful opportunity to connect with your body while utilizing the wisdom of plant medicine to heal your cycle. This practice is best as a preventative measure and not during a UTI episode.
To read more about Yoni Steaming check out Soul Vibrance.
NATURAL APPROACHES TO URINARY TRACT HEALTH REFERENCES
- NIH.Gov. “The Urinary Tract & How it Works.” Accessed 14 July 2017.
- University of Maryland Medical Center Online Database. “Urinary Tract Infection.” Accessed 14 July 2017.
- HopkinsMedicine.org. “Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).” Accessed 14 July 2017.
- Gonzalo Javier Ochoa-Brust, et al., “Daily intake of 100 mg ascorbic acid as urinary tract infection prophylactic agent during pregnancy.” Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, (2007) 86: 783–787. doi: 10.1080/00016340701273189.
- Pizzorno, Joseph E, and Michael T. Murray. Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Print.
- NICHD.NIH.gov (National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development). “How many women are affected or at risk for UTIs & UI?” Accessed 3 August 2017.
DARKER BERRIES HAVE EXCEPTIONAL HEALTH BENEFITS REFERENCES
- Skrovankova, Sona et al. “Bioactive Compounds and Antioxidant Activity in Different Types of Berries.”Ed. Maurizio Battino. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 16.10 (2015): 24673–24706. PMC. Web. 27 June 2017.
- Oregon State University. “Berry Health Benefits.” Accessed 27 June 2017.
- Blumberg, Jeffrey B. et al. “Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health.” Advances in Nutrition 4.6 (2013): 618–632. PMC. Web. 27 June 2017.
- Hisano, Marcelo et al. “Cranberries and Lower Urinary Tract Infection Prevention.” Clinics (2012) 67:6, 661–667. PMC. Web. 27 June 2017.
- Jensen, Heidi D. et al. “Cranberry Juice and Combinations of Its Organic Acids Are Effective against Experimental Urinary Tract Infection.” Frontiers in Microbiology 8 (2017): 542. PMC. Web. 27 June 2017.
- Matshushima, A., Furuuchi, R., et al., “Effects of Acute and Chronic Boysenberry Intake on Blood Pressure and Endothelial Function in Spontaneous Hypertensive Rats.” Jnl Nutr Sci & Vitaminiology (2014) 60:1, 43-51. Accessed 27 June 2017.
- Ho, Giang T. T. et al. “Immunomodulating Activity of Aronia Melanocarpa Polyphenols.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 15.7 (2014): 11626–11636. PMC. Web. 27 June 2017. Accessed 27 2017.
- Roschek, B., Fink, R.C., et al., “Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro.”Phytochemistry (2009) 70:10, 1255-1261. Accessed 27 June 2017.
D-MANNOSE FOR CHRONIC URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS REFERENCES
- L. Domenici, M. Monti, C. Bracchi, M. Giorgini, V. Colagiovanni, L. Muzii, P. Benedetti Panici: “D-mannose: a promising support for acute urinary tract infections in women. A pilot study.” Eur Rev Med Pharm Sci (2016) 20:13, 2920. Accessed 14 July 2017.
- Altarac, S. and Papeš, D. (2014), “Use of d-mannose in prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women.” BJU Int, 113: 9–10. doi:10.1111/bju.12492 Accessed 11 July 2017.
- ClinicalTrials.gov. “D-Mannose in Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections.” (2013, April 1) Study Results. Accessed 11 July 2017.
- De Leo V, Cappelli V, Massaro MG, Tosti C, Morgante G., “Valutazione degli effetti di un integratore naturale a base di cranberry, Noxamicina® e D-mannosio nelle infezioni urinarie recidivanti in donne in perimenopausa.” Minerva Ginecol 2017;69:336-41. DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4784.17.04074-6. In English, Accessed 11 July 2017.
- Schaeffer AJ, Chmiel JS, Duncan JL, Falkowski WS. “Mannose-sensitive adherence of Escherichia coli to epithelial cells from women with recurrent urinary tract infections.” J Urol (1984) 131:9, 06-10.
- Hickling, Duane R, and Victor W Nitti. “Management of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Healthy Adult Women.” Reviews in Urology 15.2 (2013): 41–48.
- NIDDK.NIH.gov: Abstract: Cusumano, C.K., Pinkner, J.S., Han, Z., et al. “Treatment and prevention of urinary tract infection with orally active FimH inhibitors.” Sci Transl Med (2011) 3:109ra 115. Accessed 11 July 2017.
MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH WITH BUCHU REFERENCES
- Street, R.A. & G. Prinsloo, “Commercially Important Medicinal Plants of South Africa: A Review.” J. of Chemistry (2013) 16 pages. Article ID 205048. doi:10.1155/2013/205048 Accessed 10 July 2017.
- Botanical.com. “A Modern Herbal: Buchu.” Posted by Grieve, M. Accessed 10 July 2017.
- UofMHealth.org. “Buchu.” Accessed 10 July 2017.
- Lis-Balchin, M., Hart, S., and Simpson, E. Buchu (Agathosma betulina and A. crenulata, Rutaceae). “Essential Oils: Their pharmacological action on guinea-pig ileum and antimicrobial activity on microorganisms.” J Pharm.Pharmacol. 2001;53(4):579-582.
- UMN.edu. “Urinary Tract Infection in Women.” Accessed 10 July 2017.
THERAPY SITZ BATH REFERENCES
First Do not Harm
Identify and Treat the cause
Healing Power of Nature
Doctor as Teachers
Treat the Whole
Prevention is best Medicine
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