Medical herbalist Jenny Logan writes about effective treatments to flush bad bacteria out of the urinary tract.
This week I want to take a look at another really common problem, that of urinary tract infections and bladder weakness.
We see so many people who seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle of urinary tract infections – as soon as they have cleared one infection with antibiotics, they seem to start with
We often feel that this may be because, while the antibiotics do kill off the bad bacteria which cause the infections, they also kill off all the good ones, which would prevent the infection from returning.
When trying to help people dealing with this problem therefore, we tend to take a combined approach, using something to try to clear the infection with something to build up the good bacteria, to keep the bladder healthier long term. Our favourite combination for this is a high strength cranberry supplement plus a broad spectrum, high strength probiotic, like Natures Aid Pro-30 MAX, or for those who are really struggling, the intensive Pro-100 ultra.
Cranberry has been shown to effectively help to prevent bacteria clinging to the bladder walls, helping to flush ‘bad’ bacteria out of the urinary tract.
Cranberry tablets have been shown to be significantly more effective at this than cranberry juices, in part because they contain a lot higher level of the active ingredients, and also because cranberry juices tend to be full of sugar – which actually feeds and strengthens the bad bacteria we are trying to get rid of.
The Pro-30 MAX is a broad-spectrum good bacteria supplement containing 30 billion good bacteria per capsule, across eight different strains.
This helps to increase the levels of good bacteria in the bladder and supports and strengthens the immune system, which will often have been depleted by repeated doses of antibiotics.
For those who have been stuck in a nasty cycle, the intensive Pro-100 Ultra would be even better – this product provides 100 billion of the good bacteria, to try to repair a microbiome which is likely to have been decimated by repeated use of antibiotics – which are known to kill off all our good bacteria as well as the bad.
We have seen some great results with this approach over the years.
One of the best was with a lady who was having almost permanent urinary tract infections and had been told that she needed to be on long term antibiotics to try and put a stop to it.
She came in as a last resort to see if we could help prevent that, as she tended to find that the antibiotics
really upset her stomach.
We put her on to the cranberry and the Pro-100 Ultra, choosing the higher strength probiotic in this case simply because she had had such an upset stomach and had used so many antibiotics.
We also suggested that she cut down on the amount of sugar she was eating, as sugar can feed the bad bacteria.
She did this for four weeks, after which she came back in and reported that for the first time in months, she felt that she was free of bladder infections.
We were all delighted.
After this we changed her on to a product by Vogel called Uva Ursi complex and told her to continue with one a day of the Pro-30 MAX, to keep her good bacteria levels up. Uva Ursi is a herb which is often used to prevent bladder infections as it works a bit like a ‘blue flush’ for the urinary tract. It is said that when Uva Ursi mixes with urine it forms an antiseptic substance, which helps to keep bacteria from building up in the bladder, thereby helping to prevent infections.
The good news is that it must do something because the same lady has now been clear of bladder infections for three months.
One word of warning I would add to this, however, is to not be tempted to try a product which combines the probiotics and cranberry in one tablet.
There are a couple of reasons for this, firstly, combining both products into one usually means you will get less of each ingredient – not great, when in our opinion it is the high strength products which are required initially in this situation.
Secondly, I have been informed that mixing both probiotics and cranberry into one capsule could lead the cranberry to affect the health and strength of the good bacteria.