Bladder Infections

"If you let that fiery wise blood just sit there in your belly, great granddaughter," admonishes Grandmother Growth, "you'll get the urge to quench that heat. You'll get a tickle, a twinge, an urgent call. But you won't have the moisture you need. It's boiled away. It's gone up in steam.

"So I'll say it once more: circulate your wise blood, granddaughter. Spiral it around and up to your crown. Take action on your anger. Pleasure yourself. And you'll be one of those old crones, like me, whose eyes sparkle with mirth and flash with intention."

Step 1: Collect Information

Bladder infections are also known as cystitis, urethritis, and UTIs (urinary tract infections). When bacteria grow in the bladder, the resulting infection usually causes symptoms such as: a burning sensation during voiding, overwhelming urgency, frequent but minuscule urinations, incontinence, bloody urine, and pelvic pain. Up to 25 percent of bladder infections in post- menopausal women are silent or symptomless.

Bacteria enter the bladder in three primary ways: when feces are spread to the bladder opening (such as wiping from back to front after toileting), when the tube leading to the bladder is irritated or bruised (as from use of a diaphragm, pelvic surgery, or prolonged/vigorous vaginal penetration), or when there is an in-dwelling catheter.

The thinning and shrinking of reproductive and bladder tissues that may occur in the post- menopausal years contributes to bladder infections in older women, as does lessening of vaginal acidity.

Sometimes tiny ulcerations appear in the wall of the bladder; this is called interstitial cystitis (IC). Some of the remedies in this section are contraindicated for women with interstitial cystitis.

These remedies are substantially the same ones that delighted and aided the readers of my first book: Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.

Step 2: Engage the Energy

  • Flow, flow, flow. Head off that bladder infection by drinking a glass of water hourly as soon as you feel the first urgency or burning. It is tempting to stint on drinking if you find yourself unexpectedly incontinent, but don't. Bladder infections only make incontinence worse.

  • Urine is ideally neutral to slightly acidic (pH 5.8?pH 7). Very acidic urine (below pH 5.5) encourages infections. An established infection gives rise to alkaline urine (pH 7.5 or higher), which causes stinging and burning. Test your urine with pH paper at any time except first thing in the morning. Cranberry juice lowers pH; vitamin C raises it.

  • Cantharis is a homeopathic remedy for scalding urine.

Step 3: Nourish and Tonify

  • Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) contain substances that kill bacteria and make your bladder wall so slippery that any escaping bacteria can't latch on and thrive there. Unsweetened cranberry juice (or concentrate) is the most effective form. (The sugar or corn syrup in cranberry cocktail-type juices and cran-apple juices can feed the infection.)

    Drink freely, at least a glass a day, up to a quart/liter a day for acute infections unless your urine's pH is already low.

  • Pelvic floor exercises help prevent and relieve bladder infections too! Try this one: After urinating, close your eyes, relax, breathe out, and see if you can squeeze out an extra dribble.

  • An overgrowth of vaginal yeast may be irritating your bladder or urethra. Eat one cup of plain yogurt 4-5 times a week.

Step 4: Stimulate/Sedate

  • Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylos uva ursi) is an old favorite for strengthening the bladder and ending chronic silent bladder infections. I prefer a hot water infusion of the dried leaves, but know women who have successfully used cold water infusions, tinctures, even vinegars. A dose is 1 cup/125 ml of infusion; 10-30 drops of tincture; 1 tablespoonful/15 ml of vinegar; 3?6 times a day initially, then 1?3 times a day for 7?10 days. In very chronic cases, eliminate all forms of sugar (even fresh fruit, fruit juice, and honey) for a month as well.

  • Yarrow is a urinary disinfectant with a powerful antibacterial action and an astringent effect. A small cup of the infusion, once or twice a day for 7?10 days, tones up weak, lax bladder tissues. Combines well with uva ursi. Results may be felt within hours.

  • In my experience, Echinacea purpurea and E. augustifolia are as effective as antibiotics in clearing bladder infections and do not contribute to vaginal yeast. (See Step 5b.) A dose is 1 drop echinacea tincture per 2 pounds/1 kilo body weight. (For 150 pound/70 kilo person, use 75 drops or three dropperfuls.) In acute cases, I give the dose every 2 hours. As the infection clears, I lengthen the amount of time between doses until I'm down to 1?2 doses a day, which I continue for another 2?10 weeks.

  • Women who wash their vulva with soap and water are four times more likely to get vaginal and bladder infections. Douches, bubblebaths, tampons, nylon underwear, and pantyhose may also irritate the urethra and contribute to bladder infections.

  • Known bladder irritants include: alcohol, black tea, coffee, sodas, citrus juices, chocolate, cayenne, and hot peppers. (An herbal tincture in an alcohol base won't irritate the bladder if you take it diluted in a glass of water or a cup of herb tea.)

  • Urinating after love play flushes out bacteria and cuts down on UTIs. Urinating before love play increases your risk of a bladder infection.

Step 5a: Use Supplements

  • Ascorbic acid wrings the kidneys, flushes the bladder, and raises urinary pH. Try 500 mg hourly for 6?8 hours. CAUTION: IC sufferers - avoid!

  • Be careful about taking calcium supplements if you are prone to bladder infections. Calcium supplements increase bacterial adherence to the bladder wall, increasing bladder infections.

Step 5b: Use Drugs

Antibiotics are the standard medical treatment for women with bladder infections. But taking antibiotics frequently causes vaginal yeast overgrowth (which can lead to bladder infection). One - nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin) - seems to cause microscopic scarring and ulceration of the bladder wall, precipitating IC.

Step 6: Break and Enter

Dilation of the urethra is expensive, painful, and causes tiny scars on the urethra, which may lead to interstitial cystitis. I have seen it referred to as "the rape of the female urethra". No controlled study has shown this procedure to be effective at limiting chronic bladder infections. Do pelvic floor exercises instead.

Legal Disclaimer: This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner with a specific formula for you. All material contained herein is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Contact a reputable healthcare practitioner if you are in need of medical care. Exercise self-empowerment by seeking a second opinion.

Susun Weed
PO Box 64
Woodstock, NY 12498
Fax: 1-845-246-8081

Vibrant, passionate, and involved, Susun Weed has garnered an international reputation for her groundbreaking lectures, teachings, and writings on health and nutrition. She challenges conventional medical approaches with humor, insight, and her vast encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine. Unabashedly pro-woman, her animated and enthusiastic lectures are engaging and often profoundly provocative.

Susun is one of America's best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women's health. Her four best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians and are used and cherished by millions of women around the world. Learn more at http://www.susunweed.com

In The News:


Body Calling: All Natural Cures

Natural remedies can heal and have been around for centuries.... Read More

Mud Baths at Your Home Spa- the Pros and Cons

"If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere"... Read More

Sleep And Massage Therapy

Hands-On Therapy for Peaceful SleepOne alternative medicine approach is a... Read More

Holistic Lifestyle

Sometimes living that wonderful and beneficial holistic life can sometimes... Read More

More Vegetable Constipation Remedies

Here are more constipation remedies using vegetables. Use vegetables every... Read More

Toxic Plastic Water Bottles

I recently received a question from one of my readers... Read More

Fasting is the Fast Track to Detox

Because of our mechanized and industrialized society we find toxic... Read More

MSM: Enhance Your Overall Beauty, Your Hair, Nails, And Skin While Reducing Allergic Reactions

Welcome to another exciting issue of "The Home Made Medicine... Read More

Acid Reflux and Heartburn Natural Remedies Part I

Here is a list of natural remedies that you can... Read More

Manipulate The Body And Mind With A Portable Massage Table

A portable massage table can be very essential tool. Massage... Read More

How to Use a Footbath with Herbs

Recently I read a book by William L. Fischer called... Read More

Heart Healthy

"Open your heart to me, my own," whispers Grandmother Growth... Read More

Aloe Vera, an Alternative That Will Improve Your Looks and Your Outlook

Do you remember your teen years? Remember that schoolmate that... Read More

Stuttering Child

Children can develop a stutter at an early age and... Read More

Reiki Energy Balance

Here's a simple exercise that anyone can do, even if... Read More

Title: Using Rhubarb for Constipation

Vegetables like fruits and their juices have healing properties because... Read More

Which to Use When: Ice or Heat?

Knee pain after running? Wake up with a backache? Twist... Read More

Hemorrhoids ? What Do I Need To Do?

There are many unpleasant symptoms and diseases associated with constipation.... Read More

Use Digestive Enzymes to Reduce Hemorrhoid Inflammation

Using digestive enzymes when you have hemorrhoids is a good... Read More

How To Use Cascara Sagrada as a Constipation Remedy

Cascara Sagrada comes from the bark of the buckthorn tree.... Read More

Superfood or Superfad

I have been reading a lot lately on the subject... Read More

Acupressure

Developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago, acupressure is an... Read More

What is Tea Tree Oil? Benefits?

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) has a proven history of... Read More

Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, Hypnotism, and the Truth about the Funky Chicken!

Over two hundred years after this momentous event the world... Read More

Athlete Foot Remedies

Athlete foot is a common skin infection that is caused... Read More