As a lot of you can already attest, viruses and bacteria consider these fall and winter months “high season.” These cold couple of seasons brings more doctors’ visits than any other health concern. Natural therapies are effective and are great healing tools for colds as they assist the body in healing itself rather than suppressing symptoms, as drugs often do.
Enhance your immune system and start feeling better with some of these
9 natural, well-researched and highly effective approaches!
A Naturopathic Approach to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and the association with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)
Over 50% of women will suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI) during their lifetime. One-third to one-half of these women will have a recurrent UTI within one year. Recurrent UTI’s are defined as three or more UTI’s in a 12 month period (1). The most commonly used conventional therapies for these conditions are antibiotics. There is increased awareness and concern about antibiotic resistance with repetitive use of these medicines. This growing concern has created an interest in alternative treatments for UTI’s. The purpose of this article is discuss this conditions, the causes, and alternative treatments for cure and further prevention.
This article will also illuminate the link between UTI’s and an imbalanced gut microbiome, otherwise known as dysbiosis. Gastrointestinal conditions associated with dysbiosis such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) are common in those with bladder infections.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s)
The Link to Common Gastrointestinal Conditions such as IBS and SIBO
To read more about IBS and SIBO, please see my original article here - SIBO article). The underlying root cause for both IBS and SIBO is dysbiosis, or an imbalanced microflora in the gastrointestinal tract. There has been an increased correlation with these gastrointestinal conditions and UTI’s (10). An article by Ojetti et al. has identified that the treatment of constipation from SIBO may avoid the reinfection of E. coli in the urinary tract from the rectal reservoir (11). The treatment of IBS and/or SIBO is mentioned in my article referenced above.
Conclusion: A Well Rounded Approach to UTI’s
There are numerous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of natural substances for prevention and treatment of UTI’s. The most studied of these are discussed in this article including: cranberry, uva ursi, d-mannose and probiotics. The increased prevalence of UTI’s occurring concurrently with conditions such as IBS and SIBO suggests the need to address these gastrointestinal ailments in conjunction with using the above researched therapies for UTI’s. A well rounded approach for UTI’s which addresses dysbiosis in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as using the above natural UTI remedies, shows promise for treatment and long-term prevention of UTI’s.
1. Foxman B. Epidemiology of urinary tract infections: incidence, morbidity, and economic costs. Dis Mon. 2003;49:53-70.
2. Weinstock LB, Kutke CG, Lin HC. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in patients with interstitial cystitis and gastrointestinal symptoms. Dig Dis Sci. 2008 May;53(5):1246-51.
3. Abraham, Soman N.; Miao, Yuxuan. The nature of immune responses to urinary tract infections". Nature Reviews. Immunology. 2015 (10): 655–663.
4. Dielubanza, EJ; Schaeffer, AJ. Urinary tract infections in women. The Medical Clinics of North America. 2011. 95 (1): 27–41.
5. Bassetti M, Mikulska M, Viscoli C. Bench-to-bedside review: therapeutic management of invasive candidiasis in the intensive care unit. Critical Care. 2010. 14 (6): 244.
6. Hooton TM, Vecchio M, Iroz A, et al. Effect of Increased Daily Water Intake in Premenopausal Women With Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(11):1509-1515
7. Beereport MA, ter Riet G, Nys S, et al. Lactobacilli vs antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections: a randomized, double-blind, noninferiority trial in postmenopausal women. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(9):704-712.
8. Head KA. Natural approaches to prevention and treatment of infections of thee lower urinary tract. Altern Med Rev 2008 Sep; 13 (3):227-44.
9. Kranjcec B, Papes D, Altarac S. D-mannose powder for prophylaxis of recurrent urinary tract infections in women: a randomized clinical trial. World J Urol. 2014 Feb;32(1):79-84.
10. Romańczuk W, Korczawski R. Chronic constipation: a cause of recurrent urinary tract infections. Turk J Pediatr 1993; 35: 181–188.
11. V Ojetti, G Bruno, et al. The prevalence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and methane production in patients with myelomeningocele and constipation. Spinal Cord, 2014 volume 52, pages 61–64.
Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition of the bladder that affects millions of women, men, and children worldwide. Also known as bladder pain syndrome (BPS), IC is a chronic inflammatory condition that results in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surround pelvic region. Other symptoms may include increased pressure in the pelvic region, increased urgency, and/or increased frequency to urinate.
Diagnosis of IC
The American Urological Association defines IC/BPS as follows:
“An unpleasant sensation (pain, pressure, or discomfort) perceived to be related to the urinary bladder, and associated with lower urinary tract symptoms of more than six weeks duration in the absence of infection or other identifiable cause.”
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world (1). Many women are iron deficient, especially those who are menstruating, pregnant, post-partum or breastfeeding. Iron deficiency is also commonly seen in those with chronic blood loss and/or gastrointestinal absorption issues. Untreated iron deficiency can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which occurs when the body lacks sufficient amounts of iron to form normal red blood cells. Without enough iron, the body can’t produce enough hemoglobin for red blood cells to deliver oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.
These are some of the symptoms that one may experience with iron deficiency or anemia (2):
A health-related New Year’s resolution can be so powerful, whether it’s a goal to get stronger, give up a bad habit or lose some weight. Here are some tips to help create and sustain your health goal for 2017.
1. Make one resolution only. Making too many resolutions can be overwhelming and often hard to follow through with.
2. Make sure it’s your goal, not someone else’s. Ask yourself:
What’s one important thing I could be doing right now that I haven’t been?
3. Use SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time sensitive.
Some examples: Run a 5K race on May 7th, Consume 5 servings of vegetables every day until February 1st.
4. Be accountable to someone. Tell a friend or family member about your goal and ask them to check in with you. Also tell your ND about your new goal. Those who care about you want to help you succeed.
5. Make it visual. Write down your goal, use visual reminders to help keep them fresh in your mind (i.e. a bikini, or a photo of a time you were more physically fit or healthy, a marathon route you are planning to run). Keep these visuals around your living or office space as constant motivators.
6. Last but not least, reward yourself along the way. As you are working hard towards your resolution, treat yourself! Some ideas could be: a massage, a new fitness outfit, a new kitchen appliance, etc. Staying motivated requires some incentive.
Here's to a healthy and happy 2017 :)
Bloating is not fun. We've all been through it, looking 9 months pregnant can make us feel unpleasant, uncomfortable and unattractive. Bloating can come with other symptoms like constipation, gas, stomach or lower abdominal pain, feeling swollen and more. So what causes bloating? Here are 6 of the most common causes of bloating I see in practice.
1. Eating Habits - eating or drinking too quickly, eating too much food, not properly chewing our food can result in bloating. The reason for this is that our body is not able to secrete the proper amount of enzymes and stomach acid to effectively break down our food. Another reason is that eating too quickly increases the likelihood of swallowing air.
Take away: eat mindfully, do not have liquids with your meal, and watch your portions. I really like the 5-10-15 rule: take 5 deep belly breaths before a meal, put down your utensils for 10 seconds after every bite, and make sure your meal takes no less than 15 minutes.
Acne vulgaris is the most common dermatological issue seen by physicians. It is a condition that can cause a lot of distress, resulting in lowered self-esteem in some. Often patients will seek pharmaceutical treatments such as the oral contraceptive pill, spironolactone or Accutane in order to seek some relief for their skin, which can come with nutrient depletions, risks and side effects. Naturopathic medicine aims to target the cause of acne from the inside out and offers safe and effective treatments for long-term resolution of this skin condition.
Our hormone system (medically known as our endocrine system) is complex. Our endocrine system consists of 6 different organs (our pituitary gland, pineal gland, thyroid, pancreas, ovaries/testis, and adrenal glands) and each of these glands is responsible for producing certain hormones (i.e. the ovary producing estrogen and progesterone, the adrenal glands producing cortisol). What makes our hormones complex is not just the individual organs and the hormones they produce, but how these systems affect each other and result in certain hormonal conditions.
Common signs of Hormonal Imbalance include:
Part 1 - Your Digestion from an Eastern Perspective
According to naturopathic medicine, our digestive system is the key to balanced health and vitality. Naturopathic medicine is a combination of Western, modern scientific knowledge with Eastern traditions. Eastern traditions include: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which was the first formalized system of healthcare in modern civilization, along with Ayurvedic Medicine, the ancient medical system from India. Both of these traditions understand that in order to extract the nourishment we need from food, there needs to be balance and integrity in both the body and mind.
Constipation is a condition that affects 1 in 4 Canadians and is defined as having a bowel movement fewer than four times per week. Chronic constipation can sometimes be managed with diet and lifestyle including extra fluid intake, exercise, increased dietary fibre and more. For some of us though, these changes either make a small difference or the effect doesn’t last and the constipation returns!
Allergies are the fifth-leading cause of chronic disease in the world and are affecting up to 30% of adults and 40% of children globally. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, the prevalence of this condition has increased each year over the past decade.  Allergy sufferers may experience runny or itchy noses,congestion as well as watery and itchy eyes.
Naturopathic physicians are well trained at helping both to manage these symptoms naturally and potentially eliminate allergies, avoiding the use of over the counter medications to keep those symptoms at bay. This article will review the top naturopathic strategies for managing and potentially eliminating allergies.
When people ask me what I do, my response is often met with a confused look and the questions “so you’re a nutritionist?” “A herbalist?” “A what type of doctor?” I actually didn't know what a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) was until a couple years before applying for naturopathic medical school when I experienced first hand the benefits of seeing an ND. Read more for ways an ND can help you!
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, at this very moment, 3 million Canadians are suffering from depression and on any given week, more than 500,000 Canadians will not go to work because of mental illness. In the spirit of Bell’s Let’s Talk day last week (which made an incredible impact on Canada’s mental health care system, way to go Bell users:), I thought I’d share some of what the research has shown on ways to improve brain health.
Dr. Lara is a Naturopathic Doctor who is passionate about helping and empowering her patients in their journey towards lifelong health and wellness