You can avoid the use of toxic chemicals while cleaning by replacing bleach with vinegar and using baking soda for scrubbing your tiles!
There are times when it feels like biology is destiny. And when it comes to women and urinary tract infections (UTI), there's some truth to that age-old observation. A woman's chance of contracting at least one UTI over her lifetime is close to 50%; once you've had a UTI, you know exactly what it is, how unpleasant and painful it can be and you'll do whatever you can to prevent another occurrence.
Here's an overview of the urinary system, how it flushes out waste, and how to help prevent infections.
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. 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 bodyweight 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.
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.
"A man's health can be judged by which he takes two at a time - pills or stairs." - Joan Welsh
We all know that berries are good for us. But did you know that dark berries can have as much as 50% more antioxidants compared to their lighter colored cousins?
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.
Blueberry & Cranberry, both the berry and the juice, help reduce inflammation and are beneficial for preventing and treating recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections. They contain a powerful antioxidant (proanthocyanidin, or PAC) and D-mannose which can prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. Blueberry is easier to prepare and digest compared to cranberry. For people who don't like or can't digest cranberries, a PAC or D-mannose supplement may be a better option.
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!
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 quite pretty in a clear glass tea mug.
Optional sweeteners: raw honey, stevia leaf
* Dried berries can be purchased from Nuts.com
Mix all ingredients together. To prepare a cup of tea, use 1 Tbsp of mix to 10 oz boiling water. Cover and let steep 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.
Recurrent UTI are common among 20% of women, with many women experiencing three or more infections a year. The typical treatment is antibiotics, but long-term use increases the likelihood that those medicines won't work against future 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.
Here's how D-mannose works and why it's so effective: it attaches itself to E. coli, a bacteria normally found in the intestinal tract but often proliferates in places it should not be, causing infections. D-Mannose triggers the bacteria to bind to it, instead of the urinary tract, and this helps your body flush out the bacteria during urination.
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.
The medicinal properties of the South African herb buchu are derived from the leaves, which have been used in tribal and modern European herbal medicine for centuries. Buchu has antiseptic properties, making it helpful for destroying bacteria. Tinctures of buchu can also have an overall tonic effect, helping to strengthen vital organs.
Among its many uses, buchu exerts a direct effect on the urinary system and is used in helping to prevent and heal conditions such as:
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.
A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that cleanses the exterior areas of the reproductive organs including the perineum (the space between the rectum and the vulva or scrotum) and provides soothing relief from pain, irritation, or itching.
Common reasons why you might want use a sitz bath:
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).
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.