Archive for the ‘urinary tract infection’ Category

UTIs-Natural Solutions For Prevention

September 6, 2016

UTIs affect millions of men and women impacting their quality of life and may even affect their kidneys. Fortunately, most of these infections are uncomfortable with symptoms of burning on urination, frequency of urination, and back and pelvic pain. This article will discuss the usefulness of cranberry juice which may serve as an effective treatment to prevent recurrent UTIs.

A recent study reported in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aug. 2015 showed that cranberry pills (two capsules twice daily, equivalent to two 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice daily) cut the rate of UTIs in half.

Also there is supplement, D-mannose, can also help to reduce recurrent UTIs. Another study found good results from a combination of cranberry and d-mannose.

D-mannose is filtered through your kidneys and concentrated in your bladder and coats the bacteria causing the infections and renders them unable to stay in your urinary tract.

More than 90 percent of all UTIs are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is normally found in your intestinal tract. Problems only arise when this ordinary bacterium is present in high numbers in places where it shouldn’t be—like your urinary system.

Although antibiotics are an effective means of eradicating bacteria within the urinary tract, antibiotics need to be used with caution. Antibiotics are not selective and they kill the pathogenic bacteria in the urinary tract but also kill the good bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics and with the removal of bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract there is a risk of other infections such as vaginal infections, fungal infections and side effects like diarrhea.

Bottom Line: UTIs are so very common and affect millions of American men and women. Cranberry juice and D-mannose may be a solution to preventing recurrent infections. If you have any questions about recurrent UTIs, speak to your physician.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Women

September 4, 2016

Perhaps one of the most common infections in all women and young girls are UTIs.  Nearly 50% of all women will experience a UTI during their lifetime.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in the U.S. In fact, UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body and are the reason for more than 8 million visits to the doctor each year. About 50% of all women will develop at UTI during their lifetime.

Most UTIs involve the bladder (cystitis) are not serious, but some can lead to serious problems like kidney infections. The most common care or treatment for a UTI is antibiotics. Signs of a UTI involve pain or burning when you pass urine, urine that looks cloudy or smells bad, pressure in your lower abdomen, and an urge to go to the bathroom often. You can get a UTI at any age, but there are peak times in life when they are more common.

Many women report UTIs following sexual activity. Another peak time for UTIs in women is after menopause. This is because of lower vaginal estrogen levels. Lower estrogen levels make it easier for bacteria to grow. A woman’s urethra or the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body is very short, about two inches in length compared to man’s urethra which is 8-10 inches long. This short length makes it easy for bacteria to enter a woman’s bladder. The opening of a woman’s urethra is near the rectum and vagina which happen to be two common places where bacteria dwell.

Prevention of UTIs in women may be as simple as instructing women to wipe from front to back following urination and bowel movements. This helps cut the chance of spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra.

For women who notice more UTIs after sexual activity, I will often recommend that women take a low dose antibiotic shortly before or right after sexual activity.

Bottom Line: UTIs are common in women.  Most of these infections are not serious and can be treated with a short course of antibiotics.  For women with chronic or repeated infections, low dose antibiotics may be helpful.

Urinary Incontinence: Gotta Go, Gotta Go Right Now!

November 28, 2015

Urinary incontinence affects millions of Americans and causes havoc with their lives.  It I a source of embarrassment, shame and often depression.  Other medical consequences of incontinence include skin irritation, urinary tract infections, and pelvic pain.  This blog will discuss treatment options including medications and non-medical solutions.

Urinary incontinence means that the person suffering from it starts losing his/her control over the bladder. This leads to several kinds of problems of the urinary system including sudden urination, slow but steady leakage of urine, or dripping of urine when one undertakes a physically stressful exercise like lifting weight.  Those who have incontinence often lose urine with coughing, laughing, or sneezing.

Although this is a common medical problem, many suffers continue to suffer in silence, living a secluded and reclusive life.

While these causes cannot be controlled, it is important to take note of and control factors that can worsen the condition:

Medication

If you have a problem of urinary incontinence and the symptoms have gone from bad to worse, you need to check with your doctor about the medication or drugs you have been taking. For, chances are that some of these may be exacerbating the problem. Certain drugs to treat high blood pressure are linked to an increase in incontinence.

Alpha blockers dilate blood vessels to reduce blood pressure and they also often relax the muscles of the bladder, furthering urine flow. Some drugs to treat depression can contribute to worsening incontinence symptoms.

Anti-depressants work by relaxing the nerves of the mind and may also affect the ability of the bladder muscles to contract (side effects).

Diuretics are another set of drugs that are associated with increased

urination. In fact, these drugs are also called ‘water pills’, and are designed to flush out excess salt from your body to treat conditions like high blood pressure.

Caffeine

Caffeine is an important component of our daily lives as most of us consume it through coffee, tea and chocolates. Excessive consumption of caffeine is associated with the problem of increased urination. While mild consumption doesn’t have a negative effect, excess consumption can affect the renal system, as caffeine is a stimulant. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, increasing the heart rate as well as blood pressure. This increases the rate of blood to be filtered. It also relaxes the bladder’s detrusor muscles, causing them to feel fuller more frequently. So, limiting caffeine intake is healthy.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a major health concern of today as it affects the functioning of the entire body. It also increases the risk of urinary incontinence, as well as its severity. Efforts should be made to prevent and control diabetes by keeping your weight under control, exercising regularly and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Excessive weight also puts extra pressure on the pelvic muscles and weakens them. Therefore, it is also important to control body weight.

Solutions

Besides controlling the aforementioned factors, it is important to take medical help to treat and manage urinary incontinence.

In some patients, adopting behavioral changes may help. For example, decreasing fluid intake to average levels, urinating more frequently to decrease the amount of urine that is held in the bladder and keeping regular bowel habits (as constipation can worsen the problem) may have a positive effect.

Pelvic muscle training exercises, aka Kegel exercises, can specifically help those who suffer from incontinence. The exercises help patients exercise better control of their detrusor muscles.

Weight loss has also been shown to help decrease symptoms in overweight people.

Bottom Line:  Urinary incontinence is a common condition affecting millions of American men and women.  Help is available and no one needs to “depend on Depends”!

Probiotics and Urinary Tract Infections

August 16, 2014

Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem — literally and figuratively — hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics (from pro and biota, meaning “for life”), because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt.

Enthusiasm for such foods has lagged in the United States, but interest in probiotic supplements is on the rise. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

Probiotics may also be of use in maintaining health of the urinary tract. Like the intestinal tract, the vagina is a finely balanced ecosystem. The dominant Lactobacilli strains normally make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive. But the system can be thrown out of balance by a number of factors, including antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.

Oral administration of Lactobacilli may help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, although there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend it over conventional approaches. Probiotic treatment of urinary tract infections is under study.

Health benefits are strain-specific, and not all strains are necessarily useful, so you may want to consult a practitioner familiar with probiotics to discuss your options. As always, let your primary care provider know what you’re doing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Douching-It May Cause Your UTI

August 9, 2014

I am 56 y\o female with recurrent urinary tract infections. I have been douching for many years and I was told by my urologist that the douching may be the culprit of my UTIs. Is that true?

Douching clears out the normal good bacteria of the vagina, which can upset the balance of bacteria in the vaginal area and make it easier to get UTIs. Allowing that bacteria to stay inside the vagina is a natural way to protect yourself from UTIs. Therefore, if you are prone to recurrent UTIs, then I suggest you deep six the douching.

What can you do to prevent UTIs?

Keep yourself hydrated. One of the best ways for preventing UTIs is to stay well hydrated, Drinking water can flush out bacteria from your bladder and lower your chances of getting a UTI.

I recommend urinating after sexual intimacy. Sexual activity may massage bacteria from the vagina into the urethra, the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body, which can then multiply and create an infection. Urinating after sex will expel the bacteria in the urethra and prevent the bacteria’s access to the bladder.

Drinking cranberry juice also seems to make it harder for bacteria to infect the urinary tract. Cranberry juice contains active compounds that are not destroyed by the digestive system after people drink them, but instead work to fight against bacteria, including E. coli, which is the most common bacteria causing UTIs. It appears that cranberry juice seems to prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.
Urinate frequently as holding urine probably can increase risk of having UTIs.

Wear cotton underwear. Bacteria grows in a moist, warm environment, so it’s a good idea to wear cotton underwear and clothes that aren’t too tight to allow air to flow and to keep the area dry. Avoid tight fitting jeans and exercise clothing.
See a doctor for persistent symptoms. If you don’t get better quickly with these non-medical suggestions or you have more than 3-4 infections per year, then it is time to obtain a medical opinion.

Bottom Line:
UTIs are a common malady affecting nearly every woman at some time during her adult life. There are several suggestions provided in this blog that you can do to decrease your likelihood of recurrences.

Urine Incontinence — It’s Nothing to Sneeze At

January 17, 2014

One of life’s most embarrassing experiences is not being able to control your urination and soiling your clothes forcing you to leave any situation where you are engaged with others. It is one of the last medical conditions to remain in the closet as many men and women fail to seek medical attention for this common problem.
This blog will discuss the 4 types of urinary incontinence and what treatment options are available for this common problem.

Urge Incontinence occurs in women with an overactive bladder who may not be able to get to the toilet in time to prevent leakage, even though they tighten up all of their pelvic muscles, because they can’t control the bladder and keep urine in. Overactive bladder that leads to urge incontinence affects about 17 percent of women, but it increases to over 50 percent after menopause. Overactive bladder isn’t a normal part of aging.

Stress incontinence is a much more common type of incontinence. Menopause contributes to this problem, but stretching and tearing of the pelvic muscles during childbirth definitely sets the stage. The reduced muscle tone causes the urethra to sag. When pressure builds up in the abdomen from a cough, sneeze, laugh, jump or lift, internal organs put pressure on the bladder and a small amount of urine may escape.

Overflow incontinence occurs when more urine collects in the bladder than the bladder can hold and the excess urine leaks out. It can be caused by blockage of the urinary tract or nerve damage caused by conditions such as diabetes, stroke, or injury.

Functional incontinence is not really a problem with the urinary tract. It happens to people who can’t move quickly, who have eye problems or who suffer from confusion or memory loss. They simply can’t get to the bathroom in time.

Certain prescription drugs such as diuretics and some tranquilizers, and smoking and eating spicy foods or artificial sweeteners, or drinking alcohol and caffeine can irritate the bladder and worsen incontinence.

Mixed incontinence is a combination of both stress and urge incontinence.

Today, there are many more options to consider, from medications, pelvic floor physical therapy, and surgery. The first step is to have a work up to diagnose the underlying problem so that an appropriate treatment plan can be put into place. Sometimes more than one treatment is needed.
Treatment options include:
1. Bladder training — This approach teaches you to urinate only at scheduled times and waiting longer between trips to the bathroom. Start by going to the bathroom every 30 to 60 minutes while you are awake, even if you don’t have to go. After about one week, slowly increase the time interval by 30 minutes every week.

2. Kegel exercises — Dr. Arnold Kegel, a gynecologist at the University of Southern California, developed the exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles in 1948. Kegel exercises are often the first line of treatment for the millions of women in the U.S. suffering from unexpected bladder leakage due to coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercise. This if defined as stress incontinence but many women experience frustration because they unknowingly don’t perform the Kegels effectively, which leads to no improvement in symptoms. Most men or women need to do the exercises for 3-6 months before any changes will occur.

3. Pelvic Floor Electrical Stimulation with Biofeedback Therapy — This treatment uses computer graphs and sounds you can hear to show you which muscles you are exercising so you can perfect the exercises. Physical therapists and other professionals specially trained in problems related to women’s health teach exercises for the pelvic floor, trunk, back and extremities that can help strengthen the pelvic muscles and improve bladder control. The physical therapist may use devices that use mild, comfortable, electrical stimulation to train the bladder muscles when and how to squeeze.

4. InTone is a new FDA listed Class II Medical Device for home use that has been shown to effectively strengthen the pelvic floormuscles and helps to prevent embarrassing leakage without surgery or medication and can be done in the privacy of home. InTone is like a personal trainer for Kegel exercises.

5. Medications — Estrogen can be very helpful in improving the symptoms of some cases of incontinence. Studies have demonstrated improvement in 40- 70 percent of women. I have found that estrogen cream (one fourth to half an applicator) works better than either tablets or patches for this particular problem. Medications called smooth muscle relaxants (examples are oxybutynin and tolterodine) can also help if the problem is caused by abnormal bladder contractions.

6. Pessaries — These donut-like plastic or rubber rings are similar to a diaphragm used for birth control. They are fit into the vagina to lift and offer added support for the bladder when the pelvic muscles are weak.

7. Surgery — There are many operations that have been developed to support the bladder and improve or correct incontinence. Women don’t need to have a hysterectomy in order to control urinary incontinence. Most of these operations for incontinence can be performed as one-day surgeries.

8. Botox– If you don’t respond to oral medications, you may be a candidate for Botox injections directly into the bladder muscle. This, too, can be done as a one-day stay procedure and usually produces relief of symptoms of frequency of urination and urgency of urination with urge incontinence

Bottom Line: Women don’t have to suffer in silence. Successful treatment options are available and most women can be helped and made more comfortable and reduce their embarrassment.

Urinary Tract Infections-Help Without Medication

February 5, 2013

Urinary Tract Infections Are One of the Most Common Maladies affecting women and is a source of pain, discomfort, and inconvenience. There are several action steps that most women can take to help reduce the frequency of these infections.
There are several simple, do-it-yourself techniques that may prevent a urinary tract infection. Some may work some of the time, or only in some women. But, because they carry no side effects, they certainly are worth trying to prevent the often painful and bothersome symptoms the infection can bring.
Here are some steps you might consider if you have more than 3-4 infections a year.

• Drink plenty of fluids – the equivalent of six to eight 8-ounce glasses of liquids – every day to flush bacteria out of your urinary system.
• Make sure you’re getting vitamin C in your diet, either through food or supplements. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, makes your urine acidic, which discourages the growth of bacteria.
• Drinking cranberry juice may also produce the same effect. Cranberry tablets are a more concentrated form of cranberry juice without the sugar content.
• Urinate every two to three hours whether you have the urge or not. Keeping urine in your bladder for long periods gives bacteria an opportunity to grow.
• Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches. They also may irritate the urethra.
If you suffer from urinary tract infections more than three times a year, your health care professional may suggest one of the following therapies to try to prevent another recurrence:
• See you doctor about a low dosage of an antibiotic medication, such as trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or nitrofurantoin, taken daily for six months or longer
• If you infections occur after sexual intimacy, a single dose of an antibiotic medication taken after sexual intercourse.
Bottom Line: Recurrent urinary tract infections impact millions of American women. A few of these steps can probably reduce the frequency of these infections. If you have any questions, check with your doctor.

A Burn In the Urine-Managing Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)

June 15, 2012

One of the most common afflictions affecting most women and many men are urinary tract infections. UTIs are eight times more common in women than men. Initial symptoms typically include burning at the time of urination, frequent and intense urge to urinate, with discoloration of the urine ranging from cloudy to even bloody.

A bacteria, E. Coli, is responsible for 75% to 90% cases of acute uncomplicated cystitis. UTIs can also be caused by sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as Chlamydia and Mycoplasma. Other possibilities of painful urination include pelvic inflammatory disease, radiation cystitis, and hemorrhagic cystitis.

Bacteria causing urinary tract infections

E. Coli bacteria – common cause of urinary tract infections

Your doctor can make a presumptive UTI diagnosis in symptomatic women if there is either burning with urination and frequency without vaginal symptoms. The diagnosis can be confirmed with urinalysis showing positive nitrite or positive leukocyte esterase. The ultimate diagnosis is based on urine culture which grows out the bacteria and tells the doctor the best drug or antibiotic for treating the infection.

Uncomplicated cystitis does not cause fever. If a patient has a fever the UTI may have spread to the kidneys. A bacterial infection of the kidney is referred to as pyelonephritis and the symptoms often include pain in the back or side below the ribs, nausea and vomiting.

Urinary tract infections in men are often the result of an obstruction or blockage of the urinary tract — for example, a urinary stone or enlarged prostate — or from a catheter used during a medical procedure.

Optimal empiric therapy for nonpregnant women with uncomplicated UTI is with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMZ, Bactrim, Septra) 160 mg/800 mg orally b.i.d. for three days. Other antibiotic options include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), levofloxacin Levaquin), or nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin).

Cranbeery juice and supplements are thought to be a good alternative preventive treatment for recurrent UTIs. Rich in vitamins C and E, antioxidants and anthocyanins, cranberry may help prevent E. coli from attaching to the bladder wall as well as bladder stone formation, and provide symptom relief for cystitis.

Bottom Line: UTIs are common in both men and women and can be easily diagnosed with a history, physical exam, and examinatioin of the urine. Treatment is effective with antibiotics. If it burns when you urine, call your doctor.

When Thongs May Be Wrong

August 18, 2011

The underwear de jure for many women is a thong. However, thongs may lead to unwanted urinary tract infections. Let me explain why. Bladder infections in many women are caused by the movement of bacteria from the rectum to the vagina and then they can’t easily gain access to the urinary tract through the short urethra which is the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. Wearing thongs can contribute the spread of bacteria. Thong panties can cause bladder infections and may even be a cause of very dangerous kidney infections. These conditions can be very painful for women and worsen if not treated. Thongs can also aid in the distribution of bacteria from one area to another. The small string on a thong allows the anus and vagina to be connected with each other through the small cloth the bridge on the thong. There is no separation between the two orifices which will allow fecal bacteria to get into the vagina and subsequently gain access to the lower urinary tract.
If you are at risk or have recurrent urinary tract infections, I recommend not wearing a thong. However if you insist in wearing a thong, I suggest you purchase a thong made of 100% cotton and avoid purchasing a thong made of nylon or made from spandex. Another advice for women who have urinary tract infections is not to wear the thong for prolonged periods of time and certainly do not where the thong overnight. Sleeping in a thong provides bacteria ample time for bacteria to migrate from the rectum on the string- like material to the vagina.
Bottom line: Care and attention must be practice when choosing to wear a thong. You might also consider going “commando” and going buff and not wear any panties at all. Britney Spears did!

Blueberries Beat Back Urinary Tract Infections Plus Other Medical Benefits

June 19, 2011

Recent studies have shown that blueberries have compounds similar to those of cranberries and can also be used to treat and prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Epicatechin is a bioflavonoid (antioxidant) found both in cranberries and blueberries.

Epicatechin works to prevent bacteria from attaching to the lining of the bladder tissue. This causes the bacteria to be eliminated thru your urine rather than attaching to the bladder wall, where they start multiplying and ultimately causing infection.

Not just for urinary infections-Other benefits of blueberries

Antioxidants consist of a group of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that have health enhancing effects for our bodies. Antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals before they do harm to our bodies. Free radicals are atoms that cause damage to our cells. They harm our immune system leading to many degenerative diseases. Free radicals are formed by our cells being exposed to a variety of substances such as radiation, chemicals, pollution, smoke, drugs, alcohol, pesticides and sun and through various metabolic processes such as when our bodies utilize stored fat for energy. A poor diet also aids in the formation of free radicals.

Antioxidants work by donating an electron to free radicals to convert them to harmless molecules. This protects cells from oxidative damage that leads to aging and various diseases.

Besides tasting great and looking good, blueberries can also lower your cholesterol levels. This is due to the antioxidant compound found in blueberries called pterostilbene. Its effect is similar to a commercial medication, Ciprofibrate (sold under the name of “Modalim”) that is used to reduce “bad” or LDL cholesterol.

The simple conclusion is that blueberries lower cholesterol as effectively as drugs, but without the negative side effects.

Blueberries have been shown to have a positive effect on aging. Blueberries appear to reverse some aspects of brain aging. This has given the blueberry a nickname, the ‘brain berry’. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries build a protective coat around the brain to fight signs of aging and deterioration. There is also evidence that blueberries may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.

The anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries appear to prevent and relieve arthritic symptoms, while the nutrients in blueberries may help strengthen blood vessels, leading to healthier blood pressure levels and heart health. The manganese in blueberries supports strong bones and its vitamin C supports the immune system.

Bottom Line:  Blueberries have great medicinal value and can be a boon against the common urinary tract infections.  They also can lower your cholesterol levels and may be an anti-aging agent.