I promise this article is not going to be about how to wipe or when to pee. While researching for this article, I was amazed at how many doctors out there in Internet-land don't think women know how to wipe their own foo-feey (sp.) Seriously Doctors, if she can navigate a computer around the Internet, she knows about the front-to-back thing, and to go pee-pee after sex! Seriously... Now, on to the info.
Bladder infections are a plague to some women. I'm not talking about the occasional bladder infection every decade or so that all women get, I'm talking about the infection that some women seem to get almost monthly, or sometimes never seem to completely clear up. This scenario is very rare in a man but all too common for many women.
Most of the reason for this gender difference is anatomy. A average woman's urethra is much shorter than the average man's and so the bacteria just don't have as far to climb to the bladder. Another probable reason is the difference in estrogen and progesterone levels. The bad news is that bladder infections are much more common in women; the good news is, in all but rare cases, these bladder symptoms can be prevented with natural methods that are quite inexpensive and easy to take.
Probably the least expensive prevention is to increase your water intake. Anytime your urine is concentrated, or you have only urinated a couple times during a day, you are at higher risk of getting a bladder infection. Women with recurrent bladder infections often benefit from increasing water intake so that they are urinating no less often than every four hours. Not every liquid works as well..
It is much more common for women who drink more than one soft drink daily to have recurrent bladder infections. Drinking several soft drinks daily can also increase the risk of having something called Cystitis which, although it can feel exactly like a bladder infection, is inflammation of the bladder without infection. Some doctors will talk about caffeine in relation to bladder infections, but I have not seen research supporting this.
It is quite likely that smoking increases the risk of bladder infection symptoms. It is well known that smoking DOUBLES the risk of bladder cancer, due to chemicals which collect in the urine and irritate the bladder wall. Please don't smoke, it is bad for your bladder and is a big waste of money...
Now, for you ladies who suffer from these recurrent bladder infections, here are a few things that I have seen have very good effects in my practice. All of these pre-Doctor options are natural, safe and affordable.
Cranberry Compounds - The benefits of cranberries for the bladder have been known for many years, and shown in a recent study. There are several compounds within the cranberry that may have this positive effect; one is D-mannose, and the other is proanthocyanidins (word of the day!). The best way to get these compounds is with fresh cranberries, however, they are hard to come by for some of us. It seems logical to reach for the cranberry juice cocktail, but the juice is often low in these helpful compounds and too high in fructose and other sugars. Better to take a Cranberry Extract product.
Vitamin C - This helpful vitamin tends to acidify the urine which is actually a good think in that it makes your bladder much less comfortable for those pesky bacteria.
Probiotics - I'm sorry to say this ladies, and you don't have to share this info with him, but the vaginal-urethral-anal area is home to quite an assortment of bacteria. And, these bacteria will quite often, umm..., changes residences, if you know what I mean. This is not a bad thing, indeed, it has been happening for thousands of years. Problem is, with the wrong mix of bacteria are down there, this home-swapping from back to front, through no fault of your own, can lead to bladder infections. This is where probiotics come to the rescue. By taking a good quality Probiotic, you will keep your numbers of good bacteria so high, the bad ones will have no room to grow. Trust me, this is a good
thing. There are studies to back up the use of probiotics for bladder symptom prevention.
You can either consume daily helpings of yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi or real buttermilk; or you could take a good quality probiotic supplement daily. I have personally seen scores of women whose bladder symptoms disappeared after starting probiotics. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt your bladder symptoms a bit if He too probiotics also...
D-Mannose - This is another product that seems to work. It is purified from cranberry extract and purports to be 10-50 times stronger, and seems to have a very rapid onset of action in the few women I know who have tried it. It, like all of the products I talk about here, is safe for long-term use.
I don't recommend that all women take one of these products - except maybe the probiotics - but I do recommend them for women who have repeat episodes of bladder symptoms and have had enough. If all of the above fail to fix your bladder symptoms, then you probably need to see your doctor for some testing and some good old antibiotics.
Please comment on any other natural things you might have found that keep the bladder creepie-crawlies away. You can easily e-mail this to your dear friend with the recurrent bladder issues by clicking on the little e-mail thingee just below...