I get a great deal of satisfaction when I hear how acupuncture and Oriental Medicine have helped turn someone's life around who has been struggling with chronic bladder infections. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there will be a 12-percent increase in the number of bladder diseases over the next 15 years, with a dramatic 28-percent increase among women and men 40-59 years of age. Oriental Medicine can help us understand why this may be happening when we look at the characteristic causes of UTIs. They include
> External dampness. This condition may arise from sitting in wet grass, wearing a wet bathing suit, or living in a damp environment.
> Diet. Eating excessive amounts of sugar, dairy, and greasy or spicy foods can cause UTIs.
> Excessive sexual activity. A lot of sexual activity increases exposure to bacteria and weakens lower-body Qi (Kidney Qi).
> Trauma or surgery. Excessive lifting of heavy objects injures the low back and stagnates Qi in the abdominal region. Likewise, women who have had surgery, such as a hysterectomy, often suffer from recurrent q?stitis.
I have found that acupuncture is a great treatment for bladder infections, whether they are chronic or acute. Often an antibiotic can be avoided if you get to your acu-pro in time. I suggest staying in close communication with your physician so that you can be sure your treatments are effective. Women who come in for chronic cystitis are particularly pleased when the cycle of pain and burning is over.
Drink cranberry juice! In a recent Israeli study, drinking V/z cups of cranberry juice a day for six months helped keep 85 percent of elderly women bacteria free. Cranberry juice and blueberries prevent E. coli bacteria from sticking to cells of the urinary tract, so they can't stay around to cause trouble.
Typically, I will use acupuncture and prescribe an herbal formula for their condition and overall health. I have also given them a second herbal prescription if acute symptoms arise. Diet and stress management are quite important for continuous relief. Acupressure and regular exercise are an effective tag team for home care. Common herbs for this condition include Bian Xu, Che Qian Zi, Mu Tong, and Fu Ling. A qualified herbalist will be able to create an individualized approach customized to your needs.
Locate LIV-3 (Great Pouring), which is in the middle of the webbing between the big toe and the second toe. Using your thumb, press firmly into the sorest spot for one or two minutes. Breathe deeply, repeating two to four times per session. Additional acupoints that can affect the bladder include SP-6 (see Chapter 16) and SP-99 (discussed in this chapter).
Karen was 32 years of age and suffered since high school from chronic bladder infections. She had severe PMS and a bfadder infection almost every month. She had just gotten married and her chronic cystitis was affecting her marriage, as well as work and an active sports life. We initially used acupuncture, which quickly gave her relief from the burning and urgency. After combining weekly acupuncture visits with Chinese herbs and dietary changes such as reducing sugars, caffeine, and most alcohol, Karen was able to stay off antibiotics, increase her sports activity, cut back on acupuncture visits, and have a satisfying relationship with her new husband.
One of the greatest joys I get out of being in practice is to hear how women have changed some of the conditions that they experienced as limitations in their life and turn them around with new insight and inspiration. I'm grateful to have been a part of the assistance they used in order to feel more balanced and in control. Keep turning those pages to find out the options available for the numerous digestive complaints that can often make mealtime a nightmare.
The Least You Need to Know
Annually, about 12 million women are diagnosed with endometriosis. The symptoms are often ignored as being part of menstrual discomfort
V Acupuncture can regulate your cycle and reduce endometriosis pain and dysfunction.
> Bladder infections get the boot with acu-points.
Gastrointestinal Conditions—A Glitch in Your Gut
In This Chapter
V Regulate the unruly movements of irritable bowel syndrome
V Clear your congested colon of constipation
V Slow down determined diarrhea
We're definitely into a topic that no one discusses: the glitches in your gut. It just is not polite conversation to describe your bothersome bowel habits to your friends and family. Yet these conditions, if left untreated, go a long way in determining your quality of life. Do you look for the location of the closest restroom wherever you go? How many times have you turned down invitations to go out boating, hiking, or for dinner because of how you digest food?
You are not alone. Over 60 million Americans (one in four) suffer from a variety of uncomfortable and often embarrassing gastrointestinal (GI) complaints. According to Dr. William Chey, medical director of the Konar Center for Digestive and Liver Disease, digestive disorders are the number one reason for absenteeism due to illness among female workers. All you have to do is look at the shelves of any corner drugstore to know how prevalent GI problems are in our society. Keep turning these pages, and I'll give you news and insights that you can swallow and digest.
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Breakfast is the most vital meal. It should not be missed in order to refuel your body from functional metabolic changes during long hours of sleep. It is best to include carbohydrates, fats and proteins for an ideal nutrition such as combinations of fresh fruits, bread toast and breakfast cereals with milk. Learn even more tips like these within this health tips guide.