Preventing and Treating Urinary Tract Infections – Naturally

 

Urinary Tract Infections, or UTI’s, are one of those annoying and embarrassing things that people don’t really like to talk about too much, but they are surprisingly common. In fact they are estimated to affect around 150 million people worldwide every year!

I would like to discuss how to prevent UTI’s because as well as being extremely uncomfortable, they can pose a threat to the kidneys. Even in an uncomplicated UTI (that is one where there are no other abnormalities of the urinary system), there is a likelihood that the bacteria will travel further up the urinary tract into the kidneys, but in complicated UTI’s (where there are other issues relating to the urinary system including renal disease), infections become more likely.

The most common symptoms of a UTI are feeling like you need to urinate more often, a painful burning feeling after urinating, getting up during the night to urinate, and smelly or cloudy urine. If there is fever, shakiness or lower back pain, this may indicate the infection has spread to the kidneys, in which case urgent medical attention is needed.

 

Image source: https://www.healthnavigator.org.nz

 

Often, antibiotics are prescribed to treat UTI’s, which usually gets rid of the infection and symptoms, but unfortunately antibiotics also negatively affect the good bacteria which actually help protect us from unwanted bacteria. This imbalance in bacteria then creates an environment that is favourable to drug-resistant pathogens, and so recurrence of UTI’s can become a vicious cycle.

Sometimes antibiotics cannot be avoided, but here are some tips and strategies to give you the best chance of avoiding needing them , and hopefully avoiding contracting a UTI I the first place:

Tips & Strategies 

Hygiene – UTI’s are more prevalent in women which is why some of these tips are specific to women’s hygiene.

  • Wiping from front to back after using the toilet
  • Empty the bladder fully
  • Wearing cotton underwear and avoiding tight clothing around the area
  • Always urinate as soon as possible after intercourse

 

Protect and support the microbiome – Several strains of probiotics have been researched and shown to be beneficial by promoting resistance to UTI’s by stimulating immunity. There are many different brands and combinations of strains available now, but look out for these strains on the bottle:

  • Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL9
  • Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Bifidobacterium animalis spp lactis.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1
  • Lactobacillus reuteri B-54

 

Herbal Medicine – There are many herbal medicines that can help support immunity and prevent and treat UTI’s. Herbal teas can be extremely effective as well as they go straight to the place we want them to! Try your local health food store to see if any of these are available.

  • Astragalus – Immune enhancing and diuretic, this herb supports the immune system and increases urine flow to eliminate bacteria.
  • Echinacea – This well-known herb can be used to help support the immune system as well as reduce inflammation and soothe irritated tissues in the urinary tract.
  • Corn Silk – This herb soothes the mucous membranes of the urinary tract as well as increasing urine flow. Even using the silk straight from a cob of corn steeped in hot water can help in an emergency!
  • Couch Grass – Another wonderful soothing and diuretic herb to help prevent bacteria accumulating and promote healing.
  • Buchu – Buchu is a urinary antiseptic which gives is amazing properties from preventing and treating UTI’s.
  • Shepherd’s Purse – Another urinary antiseptic, this herb also has anti-inflammatory properties which make it a valuable treatment.
  • Medicinal mushrooms – Not all mushrooms are created equal! These varieties enhance immunity and help prevent recurrent infection. Some of the best are Reishi, Cordyceps and Coriolus.

 

Support immune health through diet –

  • Vitamin C and zinc help decrease the severity and duration of an infection as well as help heal the tissues and prevent scarring. Citrus fruits, kiwifruit, capsicum, nuts and seeds are some of the best wholefood sources of these nutrients, but you may also want to supplement during periods of illness to support healing and recovery.
  • Avoid sugar! Sugars and refined carbohydrates can impair immune function and feed bacteria. Sugar also created an acidic environment that bacteria thrive in.

 

Prevent bacteria from adhering and colonising –

  • The bacteria that is present in a UTI thrives in the acidic environment. Keeping the urine alkaline during an infection will help stop the bacteria from colonising and spreading. There are commercial urinary alkalisers available, but in an emergency you can also drink ½ – 1 teaspoon of bi carb soda (not baking soda), in a glass of water 3-4 times per day.
  • Cranberry – Another herbal medicine that has been shown to prevent the bacteria from adhering to the wall of the urinary tract is Cranberry. You can take this in juice form, but avoid juices with sugar added (cranberry is quite tart!) as the sugar will feed the bacteria. If you are prone to UTI’s or kidney stones, you might want to take a quality cranberry tablet regularly instead as a preventative measure.

 

Flush toxins out of the urinary system –

  • As simple as it sounds, drinking enough water is the most important thing you can do to help prevent and resolve a UTI. Without adequate water, the bacteria will simply not leave the urinary system. How much you need to drink depends on several factors including body size, climate and whether or not you are a dialysis patient, in which case you need to discuss this with your doctor. For those who do not have a restriction on their water intake though, at least 2 litres per day is a good amount to focus on.

 

**As with any herbal medicines, make sure you talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medications.

Seven Simple Home Remedies that can Help Stop the Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

 

The purpose of this article is to share some simple strategies that can prevent CKD leading to kidney failure and the need for dialysis. But to understand how to stop the kidneys from deteriorating, we first need to be clear about what CKD actually is…

“Kidney Disease” – Quite simply, the kidneys have become damaged and cannot perform their function of filtering the blood properly.

“Chronic” – this means the condition worsens over a period of time.

So, that is the bad news, but you already knew that, right? Well, the good news is that if we understand the causes and risk factors of CKD, we can then modify these, potentially even removing them from the picture… and in the process stop the progression of CKD!

Now, there can be many causes of CKD, but there are some conditions that can increase the risk of developing it or increase the risk of existing CKD leading to kidney failure. Even if you do not suffer any of these conditions now, developing one of the following conditions will put your kidneys under more pressure. If you do suffer from one or more of these conditions, or if you have a family history of any of them, it is even more important that you continue reading this article. So here are the big three risk factors:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes (Type 1 or 2) or insulin resistance
  • Heart disease

These are three of the most common health issues in developed countries today and are rapidly increasing in developing countries as well. What is even more worrying is that as well as becoming more prevalent, they are beginning to appear earlier in life.

Before I tell you about to remedies the stop the progression of kidney disease though, it needs to be said that all modern chronic diseases such as the ones listed above are largely preventable through diet, nutrition and exercise, and it is NEVER too late to make improvements to our behaviours around how we eat and exercise… but that is not what I want to talk about today.

It may be that your genetics, your current state of health, or your continued diet and lifestyle choices are predisposing you to these conditions, and this is certainly true for chronic kidney disease. In other words, having CKD means you are more likely to develop high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease, but developing any of these conditions first can increase the likelihood of developing kidney disease if you are genetically predisposed. This goes to show just how important it is to use preventative strategies to avoid these common health complications.

Adjust your diet and lifestyle by all means! But there are extra measures you can easily incorporate into your daily life if you are serious about taking control of your health and preventing or stopping the progression of CKD.

I know how hard it can be to change habits, but it is likely that there are things you are doing in your daily life that are contributing to the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease… after all, that is why these conditions are becoming so prevalent, because our modern dietary and lifestyle choices do not match our ancient genes.

We are always being told to add exercise, add medication, add supplements, add stress reduction techniques… all the changes are enough to cause more stress! So, to make it easier to adopt these remedies into daily life, I have researched the best ones that we can all use to REPLACE our current detrimental habits with ones that improve our health. You do not need to use all of these remedies every day, but next time you reach for a cup of coffee, make a conscious effort to replace it with one of the remedies I am about to share with you.

These are time proven, well documented, simple daily practices that will have you feeling better, strengthen your immune system, reduce inflammation and stop the decline of your health. When incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle, they can stop the progression of chronic kidney disease.

 

The Remedies

When you wake up, your body should be well rested, but it has gone around eight or more hours without any water! Hydrating your cells is the first thing you should do when you wake up. But there are simple ways you can turn a glass of water into a simple yet powerful remedy to nourish your body and support your kidneys.

Now we all know water is important, but when our kidneys are struggling, we do not want to add any extra pressure. Do not be in a hurry and do not feel you need to flood your body first thing in the morning. On a side note, please try to drink filtered water so that you are not adding any more chemicals or pathogens for your body to deal with.

 

1. Apple Cider Vinegar (unfiltered)

 This is an age-old remedy that has regained some status in recent years. Many people have this in their pantry already; if not, it is widely available in health food stores, supermarkets and even some pharmacies. Make sure it is unfiltered though, as it is the cloudy sediment, also known as “the mother”, that provides the health benefits of ACV. read more

Top 5 Natural Kidney Cancer Remedies

 

natural kidney cancer treatment

Cancer. It’s a word that reverberates deeply in the ears of anyone who hears it. No one wants to think that they might have it, especially when symptoms begin in the body.

But when you begin to lose weight, you notice a red or brown discoloration to your urine, fatigue, fever, and possibly experience pain in your mid-back or sides, you should consider getting checked out right away.

The American Cancer Society says that kidney cancer statistics are on the rise, and have been rising every since the 1970’s. Often kidney cancer has only very mild symptoms, and patients usually get diagnosed while being tested for something completely different. The sooner a person gets diagnosed, the better their chances for fast and effective recovery.

Why is Kidney Cancer Becoming More Common?

The rise in kidney cancer, also known as renal cell carcinoma, has a heck of a lot to do with the modern way of living. Men whom drink lots of alcohol, eat lots of red meat, and are overweight, are most at risk of developing this cancer (and especially men who smoke tobacco). Your kidneys are responsible for eliminating water-soluble toxins, waste products, acids and metabolites from the body. Men and women with a poorer quality lifestyle will be exposing their kidneys to more toxins, acidity and oxidative damage.

According to one study performed by scientists from Uruguay, a high meat intake, especially from barbecued meats, caused a 3.4 increase in the risk of developing kidney cancer in men. That’s huge. One barbeque isn’t necessarily going to give you kidney cancer. But consider what weekend after weekend of eating charcoal meat, drinking alcohol and smoking might do to your kidneys after several decades.

People who are exposed to toxins and industrial by-products at work are also more at risk. If you work in a steel works or near coke ovens, studies show that there is a significantly greater risk that you will develop kidney cancer. Wearing the proper protective gear is so simple and so important. But at the end of the day, the evidence all points towards living a clean and toxin-free lifestyle in order to reduce your risk.

Surgery and Drug Therapies

So you have been diagnosed with kidney cancer. Good news, there are lots of conventional therapies which are very effective and have a high success rate. Surgery is, more often than not, the primary treatment recommended by doctors for kidney cancer.

Either part of the kidney, or the entire kidney, is removed, along with the lymph nodes around it. This is the best chance that you have to stop the kidney tumours from metastasising and spreading to other parts of the body. Having one of your kidneys removed is no laughing matter though — it is a big step, with ramifications on your health that will last the rest of your life. Whether part of the kidney or the entire kidney is removed depends on where the tumour is, its size, and if it has begun to spread.

Radiation and freezing the kidney tumour cells are also possible treatment options, but rarely do patients with kidney cancer receive chemotherapy. Kidney cancer cells are highly resistant to chemotherapy, and studies show that using chemotherapy rarely benefits patients once surgery has been performed.

Compared to other types of cancer, kidney cancer is very responsive to immune therapies. Interferon and interleukin, two drugs used in the treatment of kidney cancer, are able to muster immune defences against cancer cells and metastasis. Unfortunately, it is possible to develop resistance to these drugs.

One of the easiest and safest ways of improving immune defences is by using nutrients and botanical extracts that have shown in studies to increase immune activity. read more

Are Certified Organic Foods Better for Kidney Health?

 

organic kidney health

I would like to introduce to you to a fellow naturopath, Joel Le Blac. Joel hails from the land of Hobbits, Elves, and Wizards… New Zealand (for those of you who don’t know, the Lord of the Rings was filmed here).

I am really excited to welcome Joel’s expertise on my website, as it adds further experience and knowledge for you to benefit from. Why have I decided to welcome Joel in particular to my website? Well, Joel is a practicing herbalist and owner of a natural health clinic in NZ, he is an accomplished writer in many health magazines and journals (and poet I might add), and has a particular interest in kidney health.

So if you could please give Joel a huge welcome…

Organic fruit and vegetables seem to be a cleaner and greener food choice, but does choosing organic actually provide any health benefits for your kidneys? For years, the research on whether or not organic foods are better for you has vacillated. I’ve seen studies that shown purchasing organic foods makes absolutely no benefit to human health, while still yet there are studies that show organic foods are significantly higher in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, while also being lower in pesticides and bacteria.

In one particular study that always stayed with me, scientists in Spain found that organic strawberries had 76% more vitamin C than non-organic strawberries. Considering that many people eat strawberries for their high vitamin C and antioxidant levels, it’s good to know.

Recently, though, Stanford University came along and burst the bubble of organic foodies everywhere. After looking at a whopping 223 studies on organic foods, the boys (and girls) at Standford University concluded that there was little difference in the nutrition of organic vs. non-organic foods. With two exceptions — phosphorus and omega-3. (keep reading if you want to know why it is important to go organic). read more

Living with One Kidney, What Does it Mean for You?

 

one kidney

You may be living with one kidney and not even know it.

Being born with just one kidney isn’t common, but it does occur in about 1 in 1000 people, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Having half of your renal system missing might sound like something you, or somebody, would notice. But in actual fact, you can live quite a normal, healthy life with a solitary kidney.

That’s not to say that you don’t have to take some special care of yourself, in order to keep your kidney strong and healthy. But it certainly is not a death sentence. Playing sport, traveling, having children, having fun — it’s all possible.

The trick is to maintain a kidney-friendly lifestyle, go for regular kidney function tests, and avoid sports or activities (e.g. skiing, kickboxing, cliff diving, gladiators, etc.) that may put the kidneys in danger of being injured accidentally.

If you take care of your kidney, there is no reason for it not to serve you well for the rest of your long life.

How does it affect overall health?

I’m not going to lie — people with just one kidney, either from birth defect or surgery, have extra health issues to face. When born with a solitary kidney, often it functions perfectly well for a number of years. However, as the years goes on, kidney function begins to deteriorate.

The New York University School of Medicine funded a study on adults with solitary kidney, showing:
read more