While watching the news the other day I heard some disturbing statistics. The women in Alberta need to wait up to 3 years to see a specialist for certain gynecological issues. This was a big surprise to me as I expected Alberta to have a more efficient system than this! If “Oil Country” has these wait time, it made me wonder about the rest of Canada!As a Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Herbalist, I have been in the Wellness Industry for several years. In this time, I have had a lot of feedback from very specific products that help women (and men) to overcome painful problems such as chronic yeast infection and chronic bladder infections. I also have firsthand knowledge of the horrible imbalance that can occur from the overuse of antibiotics. Feeling desperate and having unbearable pain can really motivate one to find solutions!
Please understand that chronic yeast infections and UTI’s are often the result of an unbalanced environment within your body. Meaning that, for many women, you have the power to change this environment to one that does not support the growth of Candida albicans (the specific problematic yeast strain) or pathogenic bacteria (the ones that make it burn!). Also remember that most medical doctors primarily study disease states - not nutrition, herbs, or preventative methods. They prescribe drugs that suppress or treat symptoms, while we try to get to the root cause, i.e. why is this happening in the first place?
So then, how does this imbalance happen? Here is a very informative and eye opening list according to Earl Mindell, R.PH., PH.D. Take a deep breath!
1. Many children are born from C-section and are fed formula, both of which hamper the initial development of healthy probiotic populations.
2. Modern humans contain millions of times fewer Lactobacilli and other friendly flora than our Paleolithic ancestors did.
3. Diets rich in refined carbohydrates and sugars -all too common in children and adults- enhance the growth of “bad” bacteria and yeast, to the detriment of the friendly bacteria.
4. Chlorinated water has damaging effects on friendly bacteria.
5. Exposure to antibiotic drugs depletes probiotics throughout the body. Antibiotic drugs don’t only kill off the bad guys. They do a clean sweep of the body’s good bacteria, as well.
6. The frequent use of antacids and other acid reducing drugs lower the acidity of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which creates an inhospitable environment for the friendly bacteria.
7. Synthetic estrogens taken in the form of birth control pills or hormone replacement also decrease microflora populations. This is why the use of antibiotic drugs can cancel out the effects of birth control pills and cause breakthrough bleeding in menopausal women.
8. Oral steroid drugs such as prednisone and inhaled steroid drugs for asthma decrease probiotic counts.
9. Friendly bacteria are sensitive to their hosts stress levels. Stress alters the balance of important hormones, and this shift can cause probiotic populations to dwindle.
Instead of letting this list scare you, let it empower you to make better choices and to understand your body’s limitations. We only have one body! Let’s take the time to treat it with care! I know some people that take better care of their car than their body!
Is there a Solution?
There is no way to know unless you try!
The best product that I would recommend for a healthy reproductive and urinary tract is a probiotic. Simply put, probiotics help to colonize the good bacteria while displacing the bad. There are different strains of probiotics that work on an assortment of ailments, but the one I recommend most for women would be Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora VS. According to the company Renew Life, “The two (probiotics) most prevalent in the vagina and urinary tract are Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus casei. Ultimate Flora VS contains therapeutic levels of these bacteria, mirroring the prevalence in the healthy vagina and urinary tract.”
Regarding UTI’s specifically, I know that many women use pure cranberry juice or capsules, and many say this works for them, but I have found that cranberry seems to work better as a preventative or in the very early stages of an infection. It should be noted that naturally occuring chemical acids in cranberry can actually exacerbate symptoms of the condition called interstitial cystitis which is often misdiagnosed as chronic UTIs. Keep on top of your doctor for appropriate testing to determine which ailment actually affects you. And note that just because symptoms of infections seem to disappear, doesn't mean that the infection has fully cleared up and could mean it has actually spread to other organs such as your kidneys. Be sure to be diligent about testing for the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract.
A more powerful supplement for prevention and during an acute UTI would be D-Mannose. D-Mannose is completely natural and is extracted from the bark of a tree that grows in Scandinavia (birch tree from Norway). It is then purified and turned into finished product. It works by binding the specific strain of E.coli that is so often the culprit to your frequent red hot urination! Many companies combine Cranberry and D-mannose together making it a very appealing remedy!
High amounts of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids during a UTI can also be helpful as it may product an antibacterial effect through acidification of the urine. Also, do I have to mention drinking a lot of H2O or is that too obvious?
Another important note would be to consider the health of your partner. These ailments can also be a result of sexual contact. So as you take charge of your own health, ask your partner to do so as well! Their health is your health, you’re in it together!
I have many more suggestions regarding lifestyle, (fermented) foods, and herbal products to choose from that I haven’t mentioned here. Ask a qualified health practitioner to help you determine your specific needs!
If you are not familiar with herbal remedies, or want to try something new, you may consider setting up a Holistic Nutritional Consultation with me. Contact me directly for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org