My latest column for Chic Vegan…
One of the topics I get asked about often is urinary tract health. Many people (mostly women) experienceUrinary Tract Infections (UTIs) from time to time and they want to know if there is anything they can do naturally to keep a bladder infection at bay.
A few years back I was suffering from recurrent bladder infections (3+ in one year!) and hated having to take antibiotics. When you truly need antibiotics they can literally be a lifesaver, however it is well known that antibiotics are vastly over prescribed in the United States and the overuse is detrimental for individuals and the public at large.
After drowning myself in jugs and jugs of cranberry juice (I even resorted to the unsweetened 100% cranberry juice), my UTI’s persisted. In an effort to avoid another UTI and avoid the antibiotics that oftentimes accompany such an infection, I began researching the issue and discovered that there are steps we can take as well as an amazingly safe natural product we can use when needed to ensure our urinary tract health and avoid infections. As a result of my findings, I have not had a UTI since!
Thankfully my research brought me to Dr. Jonathon Wright. I stumbled upon this post from his Tahoma Clinic blog which discussed the benefits of the simple sugar D-Mannose in the fight against UTIs. With regards to the safety of D-Mannose, Dr. Wright states:
“D-mannose is very safe, even for long term use. D-mannose is a simple sugar, very little of it is metabolized. It doesn’t interfere with blood sugar regulation, even for diabetics. It creates no disruption or imbalance in normal body microflora. It’s safe even for pregnant women and very small children. In the less than 10% of cases where the infection is a bacteria other than E. coli, antibiotics can be started in plenty of time. (Many physicians will likely advise collecting a urine specimen for culture, if possible just before starting D-mannose, so that the bacteria can be identified as rapidly as possible in the few cases when D-mannose doesn’t work.)
WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT WORKS
As mentioned above, D-Mannose is a simple sugar that occurs naturally in both cranberries and pineapples. Since very little of the sugar is metabolized by our bodies, most of it is excreted through our urine.
So what does this have to do with UTIs and how can it help cure them? The bacterium that causes most UTIs is called Escherichia coli (“E. coli”). When we become infected with a UTI most often it is caused by bacteria called Escherichia coli (“E. coli”). This E. coli likes to attach itself to the walls of our bladder which causes a multitude of problems. Fortunately for us E. Coli LOVES D-Mannose. When we drink water that has been mixed with D-Mannose, the D-Mannose makes its way to our bladder and the E. Coli lets go of our bladder wall and grabs on to the D-Mannose. When we urinate the E. Coli leaves our body. I am amazed by how simple and effective this remedy is.
Whenever I feel that I may be coming down with a UTI, I drink water with D-Mannose and I do not get one! I travel with D-Mannose…I am that big of a believer.
The usual dose for D-Mannose powder is 1/2 teaspoonful (2 1/2 grams) stirred into water every 2 to 4 hours. If the infection is not substantially better within 24 hours, it is probably not being caused by E.coli. in which case it is recommended that you contact your regular physician.
My favorite brand of D-mannose is by pure encapsulations (click here for more information). I always keep a container or two in my home.
ADDITIONAL PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
In addition to Dr. Wright’s suggestion to utilize D-Mannose, Dr. Joseph Mercola suggests that there are simple steps you can take to help promote a healthy urinary tract:
- Drink plenty of water every day – this dilutes your urine and helps you regularly flush your system.
- Urinate when you feel the need. Don’t resist the urge to go.
- For women, wipe from front to back and use unscented and unbleached toilet paper as many young women react to the dyes and chemicals in other toilet papers.
- Take showers instead of baths.
- Cleanse your genital area prior to and after sexual intercourse.
- Urinate after intercourse to flush out your urinary tract.
- Avoid feminine deodorant sprays, douches, and powders that can lead to irritation of the urethra and genitals.
- Only use cotton sanitary napkins and tampons. 97% of women believe they are made of cotton, but the truth is LESS THAN one percent actually is.
I hope these tips are as helpful to you as they have been for me. Bladder infections are no fun!
Here’s to health!