September is Urology Awareness Month, and we think that’s a pretty good reason to talk about all things urological. This means kidneys, urinary tract and male reproductive system. Ok, not body parts that usually get much airtime, but with urological conditions affecting one in two of us at some point in our lives, it’s really important to raise knowledge and get talking about these topics. So we’re going to share some of the common urological topics that crop up in our store, and a few useful natural remedies. As always, if you have any health concerns, please discuss with your doctor and don’t suffer in silence!
Cystitis and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) affects nearly half of all women, and those of you that have experienced it will know how painful and debilitating it can be. There are a few things you can do to naturally prevent cystitis and UTIs, including drinking plenty of water, weeing before and after sex and wiping from front to back. Here are some other remedies which might help:
- A popular natural remedy is cranberry, which is often used for the treatment and prevention of UTIs. Research suggests that cranberry juice can lower the number of bacterial infections for women. When choosing your cranberry juice, make sure it contains no added sugar, as sugar can feed the bacteria and make the infection worse. We love Biona’s pure pressed cranberry juice, which contains 100% organic cranberries and nothing else.
- Many health food shops (including us!) also sell pure cranberry juice tablets if you prefer to a juice. We like Viridian’s Cranberry Mannose pH – an alkalising mix of potassium citrate, mannose, high-potency cranberry extract and vitamin C to be mixed into a pleasant tasting drink.
- We also recommend Sweet Cures’ Waterfall D-Mannose, which may be helpful in easing symptoms of cystitis, UTIs and other bladder conditions – it can be used long term as a preventative or short term for immediate help. Available in tablets and powder form.
- Another way to prevent conditions such as cystitis is to take a probiotic for women’s intimate health. A good quality probiotic can encourage a good balance of friendly bacteria, help normalise pH levels, and prevent infections. Optibac have developed a probiotic specifically for women’s intimate health to help with issues such as cystitis, thrush and bacteria vaginosis. This is especially important if you’ve taken antibiotics that may have affected the balance of good bacteria in your vagina and urinary tract.
Incontinence and enlarged prostate
Incontinence is estimated to affect a third of British adults. It can obviously have a massive impact on the quality life and mental health of those concerned. Similarly, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, is common in older men and can result in uncomfortable symptoms such as difficulty peeing, needing to go more often and difficulty full emptying the bladder.
However, the good news is that there are things that can help in managing urinary incontinence and the symptoms of an enlarged prostate:
- Research suggests that organic Angelic archangelica has beneficial effects on an overactive bladder. A study on a group of men found that 200mg of organic Angelica archangelica leaf extract significantly reduced toilet visits during the night (nocturia) and improved total bladder volume[i]. Pumpkin seed extract has also been shown to help with urinary incontinence by reducing nocturia and urination urgency[ii], and enlarged prostate gland in men[iii].
- Viridian’s Organic Icelandic Angelica leaf extract contains both Angelica and pumpkin seed for the maintenance of good bladder function and urinary flow.
- Another helpful product is A. Vogel’s Prostasan, a herbal medicinal product used to relieve urinary symptoms of an enlarged prostate. It contains extract of saw palmetto berries to help relieve urinary discomfort.
And finally, a reminder to check your balls!
A survey by the Urology Foundation found that over half of British men either never checked their testicles for lumps, or do so too infrequently. So attention all men out there: Check for lumps, swelling or pain at least once a month (not just for Urology Awareness Month!), and go see your doctor if you find anything abnormal.
We are here to help – if you have any questions about the above or other supplements that may help, please contact us. Please note, this blog should not be taken as medical advice – if you have any health concerns or are taking prescribed medication, please consult your GP. And for more info on Urology Awareness Month, check out the Urology Foundations’s page here.
[i] Sigurdsson S, Geirsson G, Gudmundsdottir H, Egilsdottir PB, Gudbjarnason S. A parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate the effect of SagaPro on nocturia in men. Scand J Urol. 2013 Feb;47(1):26-32
[ii] Shim, Bongseok & Jeong, Hyewon & Lee, Sara & Hwang, Sehee & Moon, Byeongseok & Storni, Charlotte. (2014). A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of a product containing pumpkin seed extract and soy germ extract to improve overactive bladder-related voiding dysfunction and quality of life. Journal of Functional Foods.
[iii] Vahlensieck W, Theurer C, Pfitzer E, Patz B, Banik N, Engelmann U. Effects of pumpkin seed in men with lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in the one-year, randomized, placebo- controlled GRANU study. Urol Int. 2015;94(3):286-95.