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The next time you’re faced with something that’s unexpected, unwanted and uncertain, consider that it just may be a gift - Stacey Kramer


image by: Anna Frodesiak

"Perhaps the most widely used alternative therapy in urology is cranberries. Many patients are aware that they are beneficial for the urinary tract and will use them if they have any signs of problems. Cranberries are one of the most widely studied foods in medicine. Numerous studies and a large statistical review by the Cochrane Group, one of the leaders in evidence-based medicine, have shown them to be beneficial.

The main use for cranberries in urology is for preventing urinary tract infections in those who experience them more than 2 or 3 times a year. Cranberries are 90% water, but they also contain numerous chemicals that are thought to keep bacteria from growing in the urinary tract or sticking to the bladder wall. The current theory is that fructose and proanthocyanidins are mainly responsible for this, but it’s not really known or completely understood.

Both cranberry juice and tablets have been found to be effective. Cranberry products last in the system for about 6 hours or so, so using them multiple times a day is sometimes indicated. I generally recommend using them at night at a minimum, because that is when the bladder gets fullest and bacteria can thus grow the most to set in an infection.

Whether or not cranberries can be used to actually cure infections is controversial, and there isn’t much data to support this. These days, antibiotics work so well, and usually after only 3 doses, that there isn’t much of a search for alternatives.

If someone is having recurring urinary infections, it is important to be evaluated by a health care provider to ensure there is no other underlying issue causing the recurrence. In most cases, we find that there is not, that it’s simply factors within the patient’s body that are predisposing them to the infections. At that point, it is appropriate to start a preventive program. The standard of care is a daily low dose antibiotic, but numerous studies have compared low dose antibiotics to cranberry tablets and found them to have very similar results with much fewer side effects.

My general advice to patients who are experiencing recurring infections, along with other measures such as increasing fluid intake, is to begin using cranberry juice or tablets 3 times a day, with bedtime being the most important dose not to miss. If this is effective in preventing further infections, we continue it for at least 6 months to allow the urinary tract to completely heal, as it is much easier for a new infection to set in when the bladder is still irritated from the last infection. I’ve had some patients be able to stop preventive measures after 6 months, and others who got another infection right away and have needed to stay on the cranberry products long-term.

Cranberry products are just one component of a comprehensive approach to treating recurring urinary tract infections. But they are simple, affordable, and safe. Definitely worth trying!". Source: Cranberry Cures, Holistic Urology, November 7, 2013.

Then again, "Is Kidney Disease Reversible? Well, this is a question that most people on this journey often ask or think about…

Unfortunately, there is no one clear answer to this.Some kidney disease disease diagnoses, especially actue kidney disease can often be reversible. If the damage is significant however, you may be looking at dialysis or kidney transplant as options to this.

If your kidney disease has been brought on by the usual culprits- diabetes and/or hypertension, and you’re in the early stages, you may be able to reverse your kidney failure or at worst, delay the progression of this. It’s what you hear over and over again- healthy living! Stop smoking, stop drinking, exercise, eat lots of fruit and vegetables (if you can) and drink water. Stay away from fast food and any other processed foods as these are extremely high in sodium as well as other toxins that the kidney finds challenging to filter.

Remember, there are very few miracles out there and if you get kidney disease, it’s something you will live with for the rest of your days. Dialysis, or even transplantation are only ever other treatments for this rather than cures. There is currently no cure for kidney disease.

However, with the technological advances that are in progress, the next 20 years look extremely promising for us needing kidneys." Source: "Is Kidney Disease Reversible? Living Well with Kidney Disease, January 10, 2013.