For Women Only: 6 Things to Help Prevent Bladder and Urinary Tract Infections

October 29 2012 | Women's Health

About half of all women will have the uncomfortable experience of dealing with a bladder infection (cystitis) or urinary tract infection (UTI) at least once in their lifetime.

These types of infections are very common, mainly because of a woman’s unique biology (her urethra is only 1.5 inches long) allows bacteria to easily migrate toward the bladder.

Since recurring bladder infections can lead to kidney infections, which can cause permanent damage, it’s important to take action, and when necessary, seek proper medical care.

 

6 steps to help prevent bladder and urinary tract infections

 

1. UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body, accounting for roughly 8.1 million visits to the doctor each year. Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which can be introduced to the urinary tract through improper hygiene habits or as a result of physical intimacy. Proper bathroom techniques, including thorough cleaning after each bowel movement and wiping from front to back, can help prevent harmful bacteria from entering the urinary tract. Also, emptying your bladder after intercourse helps expel bacteria that may have entered the urethra.

2. Watch for signs. Symptoms of a urinary system infection can include:

pain or burning during urination

the frequent urge to urinate without much success

a tender or heavy feeling in your belly

cloudy or foul-smelling urine

pain on one side of your back under your ribs (kidneys)

fever and chills

nausea and vomiting

3. Are you at a higher risk? Women who have diabetes or are pregnant are at a greater risk for contracting a UTI. In pregnant women, the fetus typically presses on the bladder, making it difficult to empty it completely. Stagnant urine left in the bladder is a ripe breeding ground for bacteria. Your risk also increases if you are dehydrated. So drink plenty of water every day to help the urinary system continue to flush toxins properly.

4. Cranberry is your friend. Native Americans have used cranberries to support the urinary system for hundreds of years. Modern research confirms the value of their ancient remedies. Controlled studies show that cranberry juice helps to acidify the urine, which may make it difficult for bacteria to thrive. Cranberry juice also contains a high level hippuric acid, which slows or prevents the growth of E. coli and helps keep bacteria from sticking to the inside walls of the bladder. Drinking 12–16 ounces of cranberry juice a day or taking capsules of dried cranberry juice should do the trick. Blueberry juice may provide similar help.

5. Don’t hold back. Go to the restroom as soon as you feel the urge, and empty your bladder completely.

6. Dress for your health. Cotton undergarments and loose clothing help keep that area of the body cooler and dryer, which means a lower likelihood of bacterial growth. Likewise, avoiding perfumed soaps, bubble baths and scented feminine products can help prevent irritation of the urethra.


 


Facebook Sweepstakes: Win a Free Natural Changes

October 8 2012 | Women's Health

For Women's Month, we're giving away a pack of Natural Changes. Enter below: Each packet of Natural Changes contains two capsules of C-X, one capsule of Wild Yam & Chaste Tree, one softgel of Super GLA Oil Blend, one tablet of Skeletal Strength and one tablet of Nutri-Calm. The contest runs through Oct. 9 so hurry!


Pink October: One Woman's Journey in Overcoming Cancer While Pregnant

October 3 2012 | Guest Post | Women's Health

Editors Note: In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we brought in a special guest to write about her experience overcoming breast cancer while pregnant. Here's the story of Karyn Giles. We're honored to have her on the blog:

When I was a child, “Think Pink” referred to Saturday morning cartoons featuring the Pink Panther. But now “Think Pink” has much more meaning.

Nine years ago this month, I was happily cruising through life as a mother of three children age 6 and under, when a visit to the doctor revealed that I was indeed pregnant, and that I should get further testing on a lump I had noticed in my left breast. 

My suspicion that the lump was some hormonal adjustment brought on by a struggling pregnancy was at first validated as “probably some fibrous tissue like what you’ve had removed before.” When I determined that further research could wait until after the holidays, Ronnie, my doctor’s nurse, called and scheduled the needle core biopsy for right after Thanksgiving.

It turns out, I may owe my life to Ronnie. I was tested on Monday, got pathology results on Wednesday, visited the surgeon on Friday and was in surgery the following Monday. My family is thankful for inspired and proactive caregivers. 

Within a short span of days, pink became a lasting part of my life. I had high-grade ductal carcinoma in situ—cancerous cells in ducts plus a mass that had expanded beyond the duct walls. 

My particular breed of cancer was rare—not hormone receptive (thank goodness, as hormones were racing all through my pregnant body) and very invasive! My tumor cells had no recollection that they had once been breast tissue. 

A Blur of Questions

 

The blur of questions, specialists visits, answers, more questions, and lots of strangers becoming more familiar with my life and my body was only overcome through the power of prayer by family, friends and neighbors and the faith that all I could do was take one step at a time.

I grabbed a spiral notebook and started writing down questions, data, referrals, more questions and information I gleaned talking with surgeons, oncologists, perinatologists, and from books, websites and friends. 

The answer to one question often led to 10 more questions. People had been down similar roads before, but no one had my exact situation. I realized that I was in charge of my destiny – to ask questions, seek insight and make inspired decisions of what to do and when to do it.

In the throes of my chemotherapy treatments, my blood was not returning to acceptable levels, and I was offered a shot to stimulate the bone marrow. 

I asked how many pregnant women had taken it. Though data was sparse, there was no known impact to the fetus. 

After I spent a week in the hospital with neutropenic fever (extremely low white blood cell count), I determined the shot was the only way to get all the needed chemo before the baby would arrive. I was able to take the prescribed five treatments before he was born. God was watching over us.

The day of my last chemo treatment, my OB-GYN informed me that there was lots of extra umbilical cord and extra thickness in the placenta. God’s “filtration system” had ensured that my son was not being hurt by the chemo (technically too large a molecule to cross the placenta), but he was not growing as much as he should; it was hard for him to get nutrients through the filtration. 

After three weeks of non-stress tests and the threat of being induced, Jacob was born on his own. He needed an early transfusion to thin his blood and a week in the hospital to get his body/blood sugars regulated, but he has rallied to be a happy, healthy, VERY active 8-year-old. 

How Cancer Has Changed Me

 

Blue is still my favorite color, but pink is a part of me.

I know what really matters: family, love and time together are best.

Thanks to cancer, I understand that I am the one who determines my destiny. God has blessed me with potential, and it is up to me to become that.

 

Sometimes I still “sweat the small stuff,” but I know better. My faith is strengthened. My desire to really live is encouraged, and my commitment to make a difference every day is my focus.

Because of my cancer diagnosis, my quiet life of anonymity has gone more public. A few similarly diagnosed friends and I started a local, county-wide cancer support group here in Montana. 

We try to make sure that others don’t have to go through the blur of diagnosis or the battle of treatment without help and support. Through fundraising in our caring community, anyone diagnosed with cancer and referred to us receives a stipend to help defray the additional costs that diagnosis involves. Those in on-going treatment get a personal lap quilt so they can literally be warmed and comforted by their community of support.

So What? 11 Ways to Think Pink

 

1. Tell the people you love how you feel about them and why.

2. Celebrate life every day.

3. Take care of yourself. Do what you know you should—eat well, exercise often, laugh aloud and love much.

4. Live each day as if it were the only one you have.

5. Reach out to others – there is always someone in worse shape than you are. All you have to do is swap stories with other people in treatment to realize how good you have it.

6. Ask your loved ones (men and women) if they have had regular screening tests.

7. Engage in open discussion of health and family history. Early detection has a critical role in expanding treatment options.

8. Do hard things.

9. Express gratitude for the little things in life: breathing, being able to sleep, keeping food in your stomach, having the energy to do something every day.

10. Cherish the people around you. See their good and grow it.

11. Live without regret.

 

About the author: Karyn and her husband Andre have four children and currently reside on 100 acres in central Montana. She is active in her women's club, scouting and other community organizations. Karyn is the Secretary of Chouteau County Cancer Support Group. She grows her own vegetables and raises chickens and sheep. Karyn is a fan of several NSP immune system products, which she used during and after her bout with breast cancer.


 


11 Ways to Help Bring Relief to Menopause Symptoms

October 1 2012 | Women's Health

Approximately 40 million women in America are nearing or are currently experiencing menopause. But there are options and remedies to help women manage their symptoms to be more comfortable as they go through these changes. October for Nature's Sunshine is "Women's Health Month" and we're having specials through Halloween on supplements for women.

Managing the Change, Menopause Relief

 

Estrogen and progesterone, two primary hormones in the female body, need to work in harmony to perform their many and complex regulatory functions. As women age, levels of these unique hormones become imbalanced as the body produces much less of them. 

Symptoms of this imbalance can include hot flashes, night sweats, moodiness, low libido, irritability and more. During this challenging transitional phase of life, women can try a variety of medications and natural means to help restore balance.

Somewhere between age 45–55, most women begin peri-menopause, a prelude to official menopause, which, by definition, is the time when a woman has naturally ceased having menstrual periods for one year.

Nutrients that Can Support the Changing, Mature Female Body

 

  1. Essential fatty acids like Omega-3 and Flaxseed Oil can be converted into eicosanoids—hormone-like compounds that regulate many important bodily functions and processes, including heart health, already-normal-range blood pressure maintenance and hormonal responses.

  2. As we age, many forces rob the structural system of strength and flexibility. Calcium, magnesium and vitamin D can help bones and muscles stay strong and flexible.

  3. B vitamins support the nervous system under stress. And if your body’s all freaked out, you’re stressed out.

  4. Black cohosh herb has been used for decades by women who want to keep cool during menopause.

  5. Soy foods like tofu and edamame contain phytoestrogens, hormone-like compounds that can help balance hormone levels in the body. One group of these compounds, isoflavonoids, is found in abundance in soybeans and other soy products. Studies show that isoflavonoids can help improve estrogen levels.

  6. Wild Yam root helps balance the female glandular system and is widely used to support menopausal women. It contains diosgenin, a steroidal saponin that is used commercially to produce steroid hormones.

Hot Flash Relief

 

Fact: 80–90% of menopausal women in North America experience hot flashes. Some up to 15 times a day.

A hot flash is a brief sensation of heat that may include a red face, sweating, rapid heart rate or chills. When these occur at night, they are called night sweats. Hot flashes happen when blood vessels near the skin’s surface expand to help cool the body. Hot flashes are the most frequent symptom of menopause and peri-menopause.

Tips for Taking the Heat out of Hot Flashes

 

7. Avoid certain triggers that may bring on hot flashes more frequently or cause them to be more severe. These include stress, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, tight clothing, heat and cigarette smoke. 

8. Keep your bedroom cool at night and dress in light clothing.

9. Practice slow, abdominal breathing.

10. Keep moving! Walk, swim, dance or ride a bike.

11. Use a cool pillow.

 

Resources

www.womenshealth.gov

www.webmd.com


 


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