Stop Urinary Tract Problems Before They Start
Bacteria cause a lot of bladder and urinary tract (UT) problems – including incontinence. As unpleasant as it is to consider, bacteria typically travel from the rectum forward. And once they get a foothold in your urinary tract, they run rampant.
I often recommend vitamins and herbs to help you fight back. But you have other weapons at your disposal. And some are remarkably simple.
Take the results of a Finnish study, for example. Doctors compared 139 women with UT problems to 185 women who’d had no UT problems for 5 years. The doctors looked at the women’s diets, and discovered two major differences.
First, the problem-free women drank more fresh juice – especially berry juice – than those with UT trouble. And they ate more fermented milk products, such as yogurt.1
I’m not a big fan of fruit juices, because they contain large amounts of sugar and none of the fiber of fruit. This is a recipe for blood sugar problems. But you can use this information to cut your risk of UT problems.
Simply mix fresh berries into a cup of plain yogurt – one that contains active cultures. Enjoy this with breakfast, or instead of dessert, several times a week.
Of course, fresh berries can be fairly expensive, and many people don’t like the sour flavor of plain yogurt. But you can still get a similar benefit.
A bladder health formula with cranberry extract will cover the berry side. To replace the yogurt, take a probiotic supplement.
Many people already take probiotics to promote digestive health. There’s plenty of evidence they help boost your immune system, too. But many people don’t realize a good probiotic supplement can also lower your risk of UT problems.
A recent review of studies from more than 10 years found that the “good” bacteria in probiotics – especially members of the Lactobacillus family – may help women avoid UT problems.2
These healthy bacteria block germs such as E. coli from attaching to your UT walls. They can also alter the acid level of your UT to make it a poor home for dangerous bacteria.
Several studies have tried to determine the best – or the minimum – dose of probiotic you’d need to get the best benefit. This is hard to pin down for several reasons.
First, manufacturers don’t always count the number of live bacteria – called “colony forming units” (CFU) – in quite the same way. Some companies count the number of live CFU at the time of manufacture. Others guarantee a certain number up to the expiration date.
You’ll rarely get the same potency when you buy as when the product was packaged. So the latter method, though much less common, is a more accurate measure of what you’re getting.
Second, the mix of bacteria in probiotic products differs widely. Some contain a single strain, while others offer four, five, or even more. A blend is usually best. Various strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are proven performers.
An Austrian study found that 2.5 billion CFU – each – of two strains of Lactobacillus gave good results.3 While 5 billion bacteria may sound like a lot, they all fit comfortably in a standard gelatin capsule.
If you’re prone to bladder or UT problems – including those embarrassing leaks – taking a daily bladder health formula is a good idea. But for a little extra insurance, a good probiotic could be just what you need.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
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1 Kontiokari, T., et al, “Dietary factors protecting women from urinary tract infection,” Am J Clin Nutr. Mar 2003; 77(3): 600-064.
2 Homayouni, A., et al, “Effects of probiotics on the recurrence of bacterial vaginosis: a review,” J Low Genit Tract Dis. Jan 2014; 18(1): 79-86.
3 Petricevic, L., et al, “Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of oral lactobacilli to improve the vaginal flora of postmenopausal women,” Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. Nov 2008; 141(1): 54-57.
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