Archive for the ‘UTI’ 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.

Using Hormone Therapy To Reduce Recurrent UTIs in Women

April 13, 2015

Women often experience recurrent UTIs after menopause. The cause is often a result of reduced estrogen levels that is so common after menopause. This blog will discuss the use of topical estrogens to reduce the frequency to recurrent urinary tract infections.

Topical hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was associated with a lower incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs) compared with both oral HRT or even no HRT.

UTIs are a frequent problem among postmenopausal women necessitating antimicrobial use, and resistance is increasing. Every year, 8–10% of postmenopausal women have 1 episode of a urinary tract infection; of these, 5% will have a recurrence in the next year.

Studies have demonstrated use of oral estrogens does not reduce the incidence of UTIs, but topical HRT reduced the number of UTIs in two small studies.

To determine whether a difference existed in incidence of UTIs in women 60–75 years of age, a study compared the number of UTIs per patient per year over 1 year in 3 groups of postmenopausal women: topical HRT, systemic HRT, and control (n=75 per group).
Women aged 60–75 years with a history of UTI (n=448) were identified from retrospective charts (2011–2013). Patients were excluded if they were taking antibiotics for UTI prophylaxis, treated with antibiotics for reasons other than UTI for 2 or more weeks, were on both topical and systemic HRT, or on chronic methenamine hippurate.
The number of UTIs per patient per year was significantly different among the 3 groups. There was a significant difference between topical HRT and systemic HRT, and topical HRT and control, but not systemic HRT and control. The control group had an average of 1.24 UTIs per patient per year, compared with 1.01 in the systemic group and 0.65 in the women who used topical estrogen replacement.

Bottom Line: Topical estrogens may be beneficial when other preferred agents cannot be utilized.

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.

Frequent Urinary Tract Infections? Pee Your Way to Fewer Infections!

August 16, 2011

UTIs (urinary tract infections) are one of the most common infections in women. Women with UTIs complain of frequency of urination, burning on urination, and getting up at night to urinate. These are the hallmark symptoms of UTIs. That’s the bad news. The good news that UTIs are one of the easiest to prevent. These infections usually occur as bacteria from the rectum migrate to the vagina and then enter the urethra or the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This is why your doctor will advise you to wipe from the front of your vagina towards the rectum as this will decrease the bacteria that may enter your urethra.

If you are affected with recurrent UTIs, 3 or more per year, then you will want to drink lots of water to flush out your kidneys and bladder to help keep them clear of bacteria. Since bacteria can be massaged into the urethra from the vagina during sexual intimacy, it is important to urinate immediately after sex. Urination after intercourse washes out those unwanted bacteria that enter the urethra during intimacy.
Some women are able to control their frequency of infections by taking a low dose antibiotic such as Macrodantin or a half a tablet of Bactrim right after sexual intimacy. The use of antibiotics after sexual intimacy is especially helpful for those women who develop urinary symptoms shortly after engaging in sexual intimacy.

Bottom Line: UTIs affect millions of women. These infections impact a women’s quality of life. However, a few simple steps like urinating after sexual intimacy is an example of good vaginal hygiene that can reduce the frequency of those bothersome infections.

A Grapefruit May Be The New Apple-But Be Careful

July 24, 2011

For generations we have been encouraged to eat an apple-a-day in order to stay healthy and keep the doctor at bay. Today, the new apple may just be the grapefruit.
Let’s look at the benefits of grapefruit:

Appetite Loss: Grapefruit reduces the feeling of hunger. This is the reason why people include grapefruit in their weight loss programs. High fiber contained by this fruit can satisfy hunger and thus may avoid any overeating temptation. Grapefruit juice, if combined with water, can quench the thirst.

Fatigue: Grapefruit is beneficial in the treatment of fatigue. It helps to dispel fatigue and general tiredness. It can bring about a refreshing feeling in you when you drink equal amount of grapefruit juice and lemon juice.

Acidity: The fresh grapefruit juice has alkaline reaction after digestion. The citric acid increases the effect of the alkalinity reaction after digestion. The juice extracted from the grapefruit is beneficial in preventing the acid formation and many other diseases that arise due to the presence of acidity in the body.

Indigestion: Grapefruit is useful for solving the problem of indigestion. It is very light as compared to other food articles and thus, acts immediately on indigestion by easing the heat and irritation caused in the stomach. It improves the flow of digestive juices, thereby improving the digestive systems.

Insomnia: A simple glass of grapefruit juice, if drunk before going to bed, can promote healthy and sweet sleep and thus, alleviates insomnia.

Constipation: A glass full of fresh squeezed grapefruit in the morning is the best remedy to control the constipation. Grapefruits are high in fiber and they result best in stimulating the colon and other parts of the body.

Urinary Disorders: Grapefruit juice is quite rich in potassium and vitamin C and thus, works as the best medicine in the case of recurrent urinary tract infections.

Lowers Cholesterol: The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that consumption of grapefruit can reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as well as triglycerides.

Caveats on grapefruit
As with any medication, there are considerations about the use of grapefruit with medications. More than 50 prescription and over-the-counter drugs are affected by grapefruit juice, including some of the most commonly prescribed medications. This list includes a number of medications used to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, pain, erectile dysfunction, and allergies.

Grapefruit contains a substance that inhibits the enzyme called CYP3A4. This powerful enzyme breaks down numerous medications such as the cholesterol-lowering drug, Lipitor. Patients who take Lipitor, or some antidepressant medication, and eat grapefruit, can have toxic levels of the medications because the grapefruit inhibits CYP34A.

So what are patients to do? Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to find out about your specific drug. All new medications are tested for drug interactions, including grapefruit juice, before they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When you order medications in the mail or pick them up at your local pharmacy, you should receive a patient information sheet, which will let you know if your drug is affected by grapefruit juice. Some pharmacies may also put a warning label on your medication bottle. If you are not sure, ask the pharmacist.

Bottom Line: Grapefruit juice may be helpful for many conditions and improve overall health. However, there are precautions about using grapefruit because of interactions with certain medications. If you have any questions, check with your doctor or your pharmacist.

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.