While it is more men who tend to develop kidney stones, women have the higher rates of urinary tract infections. Bladder infections affect one million Americans, 90 percent of these women, and are the most common cause of women seeking medical attention. Bladder incontinence affects 13 million American adults each year.
Your urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Of these organs, infections of the bladder are the most common problem. You pretty much know you have a bladder infection when you experience
- A burning sensation when you urinate.
- A feeling to urinate constantly.
- The urge to urinate but cannot.
- Leaking urine.
- Urine that is cloudy, dark, or bloody.
A women’s urethra is shorter than a man’s, giving bacteria a shorter distance to reach the bladder. Another problem is that the urethra is located close to a woman’s rectum, where bacteria can easily move up the urethra and enter the bladder. Not the most pleasant experience, although not as painful as kidney stones, bladder infections can be treated holistically with herbs and tinctures.
Next: Nutritional Support
Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing, Third Edition, the nutritional reference guide for alternative health care practioners, describes a protocol of supplements to help control urinary tract infection and maintain healthy kidney function. Take the list along to show your doctor before starting any new protocol of supplements. It just may be that he or she will have learned something from you. The list of supplements reads as follows:
- Probiotics: acidophilus to replant friendly bacteria.
- Coenzyme A: acts as an antioxidant and removes harmful substances from the body.
- Vitamin B6, choline, and inositol: to reduce fluid retention.
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: acidifies the urine, boosts immune system, and aids healing.
- Calcium: for proper mineral balance.
- Magnesium: for water absorption.
- L-Arginine: for kidney disease.
- L-Methionine: for improved kidney circulation.
- Lecithin granules: for nephritis.
- Multienzyme complex: for proper digestion.
- Multimineral complex: corrects mineral depletion common with kidney disease.
- Potassium: kidney stimulant.
- Vitamin A: to heal urinary tract lining.
- Vitamin B complex: overall support and for nephritis.
- Vitamin E: promotes immune function.
- Zinc: An important inhibitor of crystallization and crystal growth.
Next: Herbs and Foods for Bladder Health
Herbs and Foods for Bladder Health
At the first sign of a bladder infection, drink unsweetened cranberry juice diluted with water and sweetened with the herb stevia. Cranberries are used to prevent the buildup of bacteria on the walls of the bladder and help with healing inflammation. Drink it throughout the day or take cranberry capsules, but avoid commercial cranberry juice sweetened with sugar.
The herb Uva ursi is a bladder infection lifesaver, as is Buchu, especially when there is burning sensation with urination. Diuretic and germicidal in nature, these herbs will help flush the bladder and destroy the bacteria causing the infection. If you are prone to getting bladder infections, keep a bottle of Uva ursi capsules or extract on hand and take some at the first sign of infection.
Drink plenty of water and make some fresh celery and parsley juice to help flush the bladder. When you have a bladder infection a seven-day detoxifying protocol will help to cleanse the bladder of infection and support the herbs you are taking. You will first need to eliminate refined foods such as sugar, white flour, alcohol, soda pop, and dairy products, which can slow down the healing process and feed inflammation. Replace them with lightly cooked vegetables, raw salads, whole grains, vegetarian protein and fresh vegetable juice. If you catch the infection soon enough and support the healing with diet, herbs, and cranberry juice, you should not have to take antibiotics.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Detoxing Your Body written by Delia Quigley.