Recurrent Cystitis?

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Recurrent Cystiitis?

One problem we are often asked about is recurrent cystitis, I had a lady in today asking whether the was anything that we may be able to suggest to help her find some relief from the recurrent cystitis that has plagued her for the majority of her life. The good news is that recurrent cystitis is one area where we have had a lot of good results over the years so I was able to send her off with some tried and tested remedies and a fair amount of confidence that she may find some relief.



Herbal Help

One of the first herbs we tend to reach for when trying to help people suffering from cystitis is Uva Ursi. This is because a lot of the herbal texts tell us that Uva Ursi has an effective anti bacterial action which specifically targets the bladder and this claim would certainly be backed up by the number of customers who have told us over the years that Uva Ursi has helped stop a Urinary Tract Infection in its tracks. Indeed many people, myself included have seen symptoms clear up within 24 hours.

Whilst the Uva Ursi does seem to be very helpful for the infection itself the other things we need to look it is the recurrent nature of the problem. What we have found over the years is that many people stuck in a cycle of recurrent cystitis really find benefit from using a good probiotic supplement. This is because when you suffer with cystitis you often take an antibiotic to combat the infection. The problem with this is that as well as killing off the bad bacteria which cause the infection the antibiotics also kill off the good bacteria which are needed to keep your urinary tract healthy. Without decent levels of the good bacteria, the bad, infective bacteria can grow back leading to another infection, more antibiotics, less good bacteria and so the cycle goes on. The theory behind taking a probiotic supplement is to replace all of those good bacteria within your urinary tract and hopefully help to prevent the infection returning.

Additional Help

We have seen some very good results with this approach over the years but one lady in particular always sticks out in my mind. She had been suffering with recurrent cystitis for over 5 years, with the infections becoming almost constant. As a result she had spent six months on permanent antibiotics and at the time she came in she was feeling really lousy and the infection was returning again.

We put her onto the Uva Ursi combined with a really high strength probiotic – Solarays Mightidophillus12. We also suggested that she cut sugar out of her diet as much as possible as we believe that sugar feeds the infectious bacteria. She took our advice and was delighted to report a month later that she was free on infection for the first time in years. This happily continued to be the case as well and I can report that this lady had been free of infection for over a year when I last saw her.



Help for Vision

 Worried about your Vision?

 Last week I wrote about using Omega 7 for dry eyes and told the story about a lady who had found that her terrible dry eye symptoms had significantly reduced after only a week of using omega 7. This week I am going to carry on focussing on the eyes (excuse the pun) by looking at natural remedies which support healthy vision.Looking at ways to support the vision is something that a lot of people worry about, for obvious reasons – after all we only get one set of eyes don’t we?

There are as always many options available to help support healthy eyes, but the one we have sold for years and that people come back for time and again is Natures Aid Lutein Eye Complex. This little formula has an army of fans with our loyal customers some of whom have literally been buying it for years. The fact that they have continued to come in and buy it so regularly means that we have often taken for granted that it must be helping them. Recently though it was lovely to hear from one gentleman who had been using it for over three years.


He had initially come in to purchase the Lutein Eye Formula after being diagnosed with macular degeneration. He had seen a television program which had reviewed the use of Lutein for the eyes which come to the conclusion that lutein could help to look after the vision and may even help to improve the eyesight. We told him about the Natures Aid Lutein Eye Complex explaining that it provided not just the Lutein he was looking for but also the supportive nutrients like zinc, vitamin A and alpha lipoid acid, all of which had also been shown to be protective of the vision.

He had decided to give it a go and has been buying it ever since. A few weeks ago, remembering how long he had been coming in to replenish his stock we asked him if he was satisfied with the product. He told us that actually he was delighted with it, which was why he had continued to come in for it and would be continuing into the future as well. The reason for his joy was because in the three years he had been using the Natures Aid Lutein Eye Complex his vision had not deteriorated at all! This is amazing as obviously anyone who has been diagnosed with macular degeneration expects their vision to deteriorate. We always hope that using products like Lutein will help to slow that deterioration down, but to knowthat for this gentleman at least it had actually seriously delayed any deterioration at all was wonderful.

Sometimes it is so easy for us to forget about things that we have sold for years, that it is lovely to be reminded why we have them and why they are so popular among our customers.



Dry Eyes…

  Dry Eyes – how nature could help.

It’s aways lovely to have a new success story to share with you. This week I want to share with you a story about a lady with terrible dry eyes. Now dry eye is something we have only really been looking at for the last two or three years. Before this I had no idea how much of a problem it was. It was only when my own mum started to suffer that I did some research into the ways that natural medicine might be able to help this condition. Those that read this column regularly might remember that I discovered that Omega 7 Supplements have been found to be helpful to those suffering from dry eye and happily my mum was no exception. After a few weeks of using the Omega 7 her dry eye symptoms had cleared up and the even better news is that she has had no problem since.

The symptoms my mum had been stuffing from included a constantly watering eye as her eye attempted to lubricate itself using tears. We saw a lot of people after I wrote that story who were suffering from the same thing’ which is when we realised what a big problem it was. Luckily, a majority of the people that came in to try the Omega 7 after reading about my mum also reported a relief from their symptoms, which was wonderful.



Natures Aid Omega 7

The the other week another lady came in. Her dry eye problem was actually much worse that my mums had ever been. This lady had progressed to the next stage of dry eye, there were no tears lubricating her eyes, so her eyes felt constantly sore and very dry. It was so bad that she said it felt as though her eyelids were sticking to her eyeballs. All this despite the fact that she was using eyedrops regularly to try and help ease the problem. We spoke to her about the omega 7 and told her about the other people who had used it. We said to her that because her problem was so bad, it might take longer for her to notice a difference, but it was well worth a go.

What was amazing for us to see and wonderful for her to report was that actually she had quicker results that anyone we had ever seen! After only a week of using the Omega 7 this lady was in to buy more – she didn’t want to risk running out because she had noticed remarkable improvements in that short time! At first we were surprised that she had had such a quick response, but really thinking about it, when your body really needs something and you provide it, the response can be very quick and that is what we saw here. I have gained a lot of faith in the use of Omega 7 to help people struggling with dry eye issues over the years, but this response in a lady who was suffering so badly has really strengthened that belief.


Natural help for Menopause

imageOver the last few weeks I have been writing about PMS and the problems that it can bring as well as the natural remedies which may help to offer some relief. This week I am completing that series with a look at menopausal issues.
HOT FLUSHES AND NIGHT SWEATS – for many women the main irritation associated with the menopause is having to deal with the hot flushes and nights sweats. The night sweats particularly as they lead to disturbed sleep and therefore fatigue. The first herb we always turn to to try and help with this problem is sage. Sage has been found to help reduce the symptoms of hot flushes and night sweats quite effectively – with apparently up to 8 out of ten women reporting significant reduction in symptoms – this is well worth a try.
LOW MOOD, ANXIETY AND FATIGUE – these issues can all affect women who are going through the menopause. This is because our hormones actually have quite a strong effect on our moods, oestrogen for example is naturally anti depressant, whilst progesterone helps to keep you calm. So falling levels or these hormones during the menopause can cause issues with low mood, anxiety and fatigue. We often suggest products like Soya or Red Clover, due to their content of Isoflavones – substances which mimic hormonal action in the body – to try and help relieve these issues. Our favourite for those really struggling with low mood or anxiety is Vogels Menosan Menopause Support this is a fermented soya based product, which we have had great feedback from. For those struggling with mood issues and fatigue, we tend to try Natures Aid Red Clover Complex first as this combines the effects of red clover with Siberian Ginseng, which has a reputation for helping to boost energy and stamina.
DRYNESS – with falling oestrogen levels, women can notice that their skin, their vagina and even their eyes may become more dry. Vaginal dryness can of course lead to irritation and discomfort. Dry eyes can actually lead to your eyes streaming with tears – as your body attempts to compensate for the lack of lubrication, by producing extra tears. All this happens because the oestrogen we produce during our cycle helps to produce natural lubrication. Therefore, as the levels of this hormone drop, these uncomfortable symptoms can arise. Again looking to Isoflavones from fermented Soya products, such as Vogels Menosan Menopause Support could be helpful. This is due to the fact that it is believed these Isoflavones could mimic the oestrogenic actions in your system.
Our favourite product for these problems though is often Sea Buckthorn – Omega 7. I wrote about this last year, mentioning how helpful my mum had found it for her dry eye problems – her streaming eyes had been stopped within weeks of starting to use this supplement! Since then we have had literally scores of people report the same results.
We have had other women tell us that it has also helped them with the vaginal dryness which had been irritating them as well. Which is why we love it!


Low Oestrogen – Low Mood

_ Sad eye _

Over the last two week we have been looking at PMS and have discussed progesterone and androgens. This week I am going to take a look at the third hormone involved with the cycle – oestrogen. Oestrogen is very important to the proper functioning of the cycle and is very much involved with ovulation. Falling oestrogen levels could therefore mean that periods become lighter, more erratic and could even go missing for a month or so. Oestrogen also has a huge impact on the mood as it actually has natural anti depressant activity. Low oestrogen could therefore be indicated by your mood dropping suddenly during your cycle or before your period. If you suddenly feel inexplicably low, tearful or depressive – ask yourself – could you have just ovulated or are you due on – if the answer to either (or even both) of these questions is yes, your falling oestrogen levels could be at the root of it. It is often thought that dropping oestrogen levels signal that a woman could be pre menopausal, but whilst this may often be the case, these problems may also occur earlier in life as well.
As well as lighter, more erratic periods and low moods, the following issues could also indicate lower oestrogen levels being involved with your hormonal problems –vaginal discomfort– dryness, soreness and itching – without thrush, thinning skin, painful or tender joints, increased body temperature, sweats and also problems with urinary continence.
It is often suggested that when oestrogen levels are low, natural remedies which contain plant oestrogens, could offer relief from uncomfortable symptoms. We should be clear here though – plants do not actually contain any oestrogen, they actually contain substances known as isoflavones, which have a similar chemical make up to the oestrogen in your body. What this means is that taking a plant which contains isoflavones could actually ‘con’ your body into thinking that your oestrogen levels are higher than they are and therefore reduce some of the symptoms associated with low oestrogen levels. Possibly the most well known plant oestrogens are Soya Isoflavones. However, it is worth noting here not all soya products are equal. As soya needs to be fermented in order to ‘activate’ its oestrogenic action, just taking a plain soya product or eating soya rich foods, may not provide the benefits you seek.
If you want to try plant oestrogens to see if they could be helpful for you, look for a soya product which has already been fermented, such as Vogels Menosan Menopause Support. This is relevant, even if you are not menopausal, if you think you may have low oestrogen. We have had some great reports back on this product with one woman telling us that she has found it reduced this vaginal discomfort she was suffering, another telling us that it had been a ‘life saver’ as it had helped her low mood so well and another who tells us it is the only thing which has ever helped her pre menstrual sweats!


PMS – Acne & Sugar Cravings

Saulo Cruz / Foter / CC BY

This week I am going to look at another hormonal issue linked with PMS and which is also involved in problems like PCOS. This is high androgen/testosterone levels. This can lead to issues with PMS acne, greasy skin, sugar cravings and weight gain.
Androgens and testosterone are most commonly thought of as male hormones – but we all have them. However as with anything, whilst we need certain levels of these hormones – too many can cause us issues. Androgen levels tend to be at their highest during puberty as they are involved in the development and growth of body hair and breast tissue. These raised androgen levels can also be one of the causes of the oily skin and acne that many teenagers experience.
Normally as we leave our teens and enter our twenties, androgen levels should start to subside. However, this does not always happen and this can cause some real hormonal problems. Including the PMS acne, greasy skin and sugar cravings!
Raised androgens tend to mean a greater amount of testosterone being produced, which can lead to mood swings and you could feel really aggressive, irritable and angry. Then the periods can also be affected, but with high androgen levels the periods tend to be quite erratic, they could also be light and you may even find that you miss periods occasionally.
The other major issues with raised androgens include oily skin, acne, increased or heavy facial and body hair, head hair thinning, weight gain around your middle and major sugar cravings.
These are the issues most commonly experienced by women suffering with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which affects quite a large number of women. However, just because you have these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have PCOS.
If you think that all of this sounds like you and your PMS issues, or if you know that you have PCOS, then there are some natural remedies which could be well worth a try. The first is a supplement called Saw Palmetto which is often used by men to help control excess testosterone. Recent research has indicated that saw palmetto could also be useful for women exhibiting the signs of high androgens and raised testosterone. With some women trialling it reporting improvements in their cycle, mood and their skin. It has also been trailed in women with PCOS and the reports coming out are extremely promising. It is safe to use with the pill or HRT so if you are struggling with hormonal acne and anger then saw palmetto could well be worth a try.
On top of this I would also suggest adding in the mineral Chromium. Chromium helps to contribute to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels, which basically means that it helps to control the blood sugar dips, which tend to be associated with sugar cravings. We have found this to be a very useful addition for anyone who would mug a child for a chocolate bar at their time of the month!


PMS – irritable, heavy bleeds

Camera tests positive
dearbarbie / Foter / CC BY-SA

Over the coming weeks I am going to be looking at hormonal issues. There are 3 main hormones that are in control of your periods and which have an impact on PMS. This week I am going to start by having a look at the most common hormonal issue for those suffering with PMS symptoms – Low progesterone. Progesterone is one of the main hormones involved in maintaining your menstrual cycle, it is also really important in female fertility and for maintaining the beginning of a pregnancy. Therefore those who suffer with the symptoms of low progesterone, could benefit in many ways from looking at ways to help balance their hormones.
As well as being important in the maintenance of your cycle, progesterone also has a major impact on your moods. Therefore low progesterone is highly likely to give you PMS with mood issues, this would include anxiety, frustration, anger, irritability, irrational behaviour and poor sleep. Your periods may also be heavier, with clots and could be painful. You may also suffer with swollen, heavier, maybe painful breasts, headaches, fluid retention and acne flare ups with your cycle…PMS-irritabl, heavy bleeds.
If this sounds like you, then low progesterone levels could well be at the bottom of your PMS issues, in which case, the following options could be well worth considering.
Many herbalists will often suggest the use of the herb Agnus Castus in these situations as it is thought to help regulate that part of the cycle where progesterone should be produced. We have been using Agnus Castus in our clinic, for many years and the feedback we have had from many of the women who have used it has been brilliant. We have had many women tell us that it has really helped them regain control of their mood and anger issues, which played a big part in their PMS. We have even had one lady tell us that she believed it had saved her marriage – because previously she had been so vile to her husband in the week before her period, she thought he was going to leave her! All of this means that this plant could well be worth a try for anyone who is struggling with PMS – irritable, heavy bleeds. However, please note that because of its potential hormonal action, Agnus Castus should NOT be used in conjunction with the pill, but if you are not on the pill, it could be worth a try.

If you are on the pill and can’t try the Agnus castus, fear not – there are great options for you too. Naturopathic Practitioners often link low progesterone with high oestrogen and talk about a condition called oestrogen dominance. This is often linked to the liver, which is responsible for breaking down and eliminating excess oestrogen. Therefore something like Milk Thistle, a product often used to supports the health of the liver and its ability to breakdown oestrogen could be helpful to help regain balance. We have used this herb for people suffering with PMS- irritable, heavy bleeds and had some great reports back.


Natural Help for Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a hormonal condition which affects a number of women. In endometriosis, the tissue which would normally grow in your womb during your cycle (endometrial tissue) has also formed outside the womb. This occurs most commonly around the ovaries, in the pelvis, around the top of the vagina and even around the bowel. During your cycle, this endometrial tissue, outside your womb also grows and thickens and is then shed. However, unlike the tissue in your womb, which leaves your body during your period, the endometrial tissue outside the womb has no way of leaving your body, so this shedding then leads to pain and swelling, which can be quite debilitating in some cases.
The development of this problem, tends to be linked to excess oestrogen, so treatment tends to focus on hormone balancing alongside pain relief.
We have seen a number of women over the years who have been looking for natural remedies to help them better control their symptoms and whilst there are never any guarantees there are a few things that could be worth considering if you are in the same boat.
Herbal remedies have been used for a number of years by women looking for natural ways to balance their hormones. One of the most popular is Agnus Castus. There have been a number of trials carried out using this plant, which have found it to be very useful in relieving the symptoms of PMS. The reason it is thought this plant could also be useful to women struggling with endometriosis is because Agnus Castus is thought to work by restoring the balance between oestrogen and progesterone – therefore potentially reducing the excess oestrogen which is linked to the development of the problem. Due to its potential hormonal action, Agnus Castus should not be taken alongside the pill or other hormonal treatments.
Another plant which may be useful is one which has typically been looked at for supporting the hormonal health of men! That is Saw Palmetto. Saw Palmetto has for years been used by men seeking natural ways to support a healthy prostate, however, new research indicates that this plant could be equally helpful to women struggling with hormonal issues. Saw Palmetto is thought to help reduce the levels of androgens, which in turn could help to reduce the problems linked with high oestrogen – certainly the research seems promising and this could well be worth a try however, again dues to its potential hormonal action, do not use it alongside the pill or other hormonal treatments.
Good Bacteria – most people these days are aware that there should be certain levels of good bacteria inside them. It is now generally accepted that these bacteria could help with bloating and bowel issues. However, these good bacteria could have a wider impact on our health and our hormones than most people expect! This is because good bacteria are actually involved in breaking down hormones like oestrogen, therefore, many practitioners of natural medicine will actually suggest that people suffering with complaints linked to high oestrogen, like endometriosis, should take a good bacteria supplement. There are many reports from women with endometriosis, which suggest that using a good bacteria supplement daily could be a good idea.
Look after your liver – like the good bacteria, your liver is also involved in breaking down oestrogen, therefore nutritional and botanical ingredients which support health liver function are often suggested for those suffering with issues related to high oestrogen. If you want to look into supporting your liver, to see if you feel any better, eat plenty of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, flax seeds, walnuts and beetroot and look at plants like dandelion, artichoke and milk thistle.