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urinary tract infections

  • Let's talk about a rather sensitive and personal issue that many women are shy to discuss with health practitioners or even friends. It's a problem that can affect sexual pleasure. It can lead to great vaginal discomfort such as burning and pain and may also contribute to increased risk of urinary tract infections as well as other vaginal health issues.

    Vaginal Pain

    We are talking about the problem of vaginal dryness, also known as vaginal atrophy. This condition is accompanied by thinning of vaginal tissue and lack of lubrication.

    Even though many women may be silent about vaginal dryness and vaginal atrophy, it is by no means a rare condition. As many as 14 million women over the age of 18 have experienced this problem. In fact, nearly half of all women over the age 40 have suffered from vaginal dryness at some point in their lives. And two-thirds of women over the age of 60, list vaginal dryness as one of the top two sexual health problems along with lack of libido.

    Why is this a problem?
    First, without adequate lubrication, sexual intercourse becomes uncomfortable and even painful. Because vaginal dryness is often accompanied by thinning of the vaginal tissue, it can result in lesions or tears of the vaginal wall. In addition, drying out of the mucosal membranes increases the risk of incontinence, bladder infections and urinary tract infections. Lack of vaginal lubrication can also make women vulnerable to contracting a vaginal infection called bacterial vaginosis.

    The most common signs and symptoms of vaginal dryness include irritation and pain during sex, itching and stinging around the vaginal opening and in the lower third of the vagina and urinary tract infections. Another symptom is the occurrence of bleeding or spotting during sex or other times as a result of the thinning of vaginal tissue.

    What is Going On?
    Vaginal lubrication consists of clear fluid that seeps through the walls of the blood vessels encircling the vagina. When you're sexually aroused, more blood flows to your pelvic organs, creating more lubricating vaginal fluid. But due to hormonal changes at perimenopause, menopause, childbirth, and even breast-feeding, this natural physiological process may be altered. Healthy vaginal walls are always coated in a thin layer of this moisture and mucus. Without adequate lubrication, vaginal tissues become dry, thin and prone to tearing.

    Changes in vaginal moisture also occur in response to low estrogen levels. Estrogen is essential in keeping vaginal tissue supple and elastic. Adequate estrogen levels give the tissue its ability to produce slippery-smooth lubrication. Anytime a woman's estrogen level is altered, for whatever reason including a hysterectomy or impaired ovarian function, vaginal thinning and dryness may occur.

    Perimenopause and menopause are stages in a woman's life cycle when estrogen levels may be fluctuating. Estrogen production can also be affected after childbirth and during breast-feeding.

    There are many issues can alter the normal production of moisture. For instance, stressful situations, whether physical or emotional, constrict blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to the vaginal tissue. Maintaining healthy vaginal secretions and vaginal elasticity requires adequate key nutrients such as essential fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and B.

    Many medications have side effects that can directly alter vaginal secretions. They include steroid/cortisone drugs, cancer treatments, tamoxifen, aromatase-inhibitors, antihistamines, antidepressants, as well as ulcer and high blood pressure medications.

    One little known side effect of oral contraceptives is reduced vaginal lubrication. The alteration of natural hormone production from taking the Pill has many consequences. Lack of healthy vaginal moisture can be one of them.

    Commercial Lubricants-A Bad Idea
    Many women turn to commercial lubricants when they become aware they are dealing with vaginal dryness. But beware! The chemicals used in them can irritate the delicate vagina tissue. Potential ingredients include fragrances, the antibacterial agent chlorhexidine, propylene glycol, glycerin, and a group of preservatives called parabens, (often listed as methyl-, butyl-, ethyl- and propyl-paraben). Some lubricants such as K-Y Jelly and Replens can alter the pH balance of the vagina, which would increase the risk of certain vaginal infections.

    Beware of Vaginal Estrogen Creams
    Since it is the hormone estrogen that causes the vagina to thicken and moisten, the medical approach is to prescribe an estrogen vaginal cream. However, when estrogen is applied in the vagina, it can be quickly absorbed into the blood stream and transported to other tissues. In fact, both vaginal applications of Premarin and Estrace raise your blood levels of estrogen much the same as estrogen pills.

    Long-term exposure to high levels of estrogen can pose some risk to women diagnosed with breast cancer or at high risk of breast cancer by potentially elevating estrogen levels excessively. Doctors, therefore, discourage the use of these estrogens if a woman has a breast cancer risk.

    Estriol is another form of estrogen that is often prescribed to women. While considered a safer form of estrogen, it still requires a doctor's prescription and is expensive.

    Hygeena - The Ultimate Vaginal Healing and Rejuvenation Formula

    When it comes to healing delicate vaginal tissue and restoring healthy lubrication, it is vitally important to choose a natural, organic product. You especially want to use one that is specifically formulated to effectively and safely resolve the problem of dryness, thinning vaginal tissue, lack of lubrication, and risk of fungal or bacterial infections.

    Hygeena, the first all-natural, hormone free and comprehensive formula, not only heals but also restores healthy vaginal tissues, lubrication, and imbalances. It is the best solution for providing overall vaginal rejuvenation.

    Hygeena has been carefully formulated with a unique synergy of six all natural, organic and non-toxic ingredients that have been proven to heal, repair, lubricate and rejuvenate vaginal tissue as well as restore a healthy vaginal environment. And the best part is, it is easily administered as a vaginal suppository!

    Pueraria Mirifica - Pueraria mirifica is a plant that grows in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia. For over 100 years, Pueraria mirifica have been used in traditional Thai medicine to promote youthfulness and rejuvenation in women. It has phytoestrogen benefits on vaginal tissue, including alleviating vaginal dryness and painful urination, improving vaginal atrophy, and restores thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls. Pueraria mirifia, as a phytoestrogen, promotes estrogenic effects but without any of the health risks associated with the prescribed estrogen hormone.

    Hygeena is formulated with Puresterol®, a patented extract of Pueraria mirifica.1

    Hyaluronic Acid - Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a natural compound produced in the body. It is a real superstar when it comes to rejuvenation. It has the unique ability to attract and retain more than 1000 times its weight in water. Thus, hyaluronic acid enables cells to retain moisture which keeps the tissues moist and hydrated.

    As we age, HA levels diminish, and cells lose their ability to hold moisture. That translates into a loss of elasticity. HA is phenomenal at penetrating the skin's layers where it affects tissue repair and protection while boosting elasticity and hydration. Another important feature of HA is its ability to transport nutrients from the blood directly to skin cells. All these benefits make hyaluronic acid a powerful ingredient in Hygeena to reverse vaginal dryness and revitalize vaginal tissue!

    Omega 7's (Sea Buckthorn oil) - Sea buckthorn oil has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy against various ailments. It is extracted from the berries, leaves and seeds of the sea buckthorn plant (Hippophae rhamnoides), which is a small shrub that grows at high altitudes in the northwest Himalayan region.

    Sea Buckthorn oil showed beneficial effects on vaginal health, helping to improve mucosal integrity and vaginal atrophy. A lack of essential fatty acids in the diet is a contributing factor to vaginal dryness. There is a very specific essential fatty acid derived from sea buckthorn oil that helps women to alleviate vaginal dryness.

    Sea Buckthorn oil contains beta carotene, trace minerals, omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids and additionally is the richest source of omega 7 essential fats. Omega 7 essential fatty acids are important structural components of mucous membranes which form the protective lining of internal organs such as the vaginal, digestive and respiratory tracts, as well as the surface of the eyes and mouth. Sea Buckthorn oil not only promotes healthy regeneration of these membranes but also provides nutrients essential for the proper functioning of the membranes in the vaginal tract.

    In a study conducted by The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Finland, it was concluded that sea buckthorn oil was a natural and effective solution to contributing to the health of mucous membranes including vaginal dryness.2

    Silver Biotics® - The patented Silver Biotics® with SilverSol Technology® is a unique and highly effective form of silver, known as nano-silver. Throughout the ages, silver has been renowned for its anti-microbial effects. SilverSol Nano-Silver Technology is the most effective form of silver ever created. It far surpasses either colloidal or ionic forms of silver for potency. It has been clinically tested and FDA approved demonstrating that it is totally safe and has no known side-effects.

    Silver Biotics® liquid has been scientifically proven to quickly kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungus. The good news is that it will not cause antibiotic resistance or alteration of healthy vaginal microflora. In addition to its lubricating and anti-microbial effects, it is also able to quickly reduce inflammation, itching, pain and burning while at the same time accelerating tissue repair and healing. Studies have demonstrated that in just 10 minutes, it successfully killed Candida!

    The broad-spectrum nature of Silver Biotics® also helps to prevent urinary tract infections that are caused by vaginal bacteria by stopping the migration into the urinary tract.

    Natural Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) - Vitamin E oil has proven effective in relieving symptoms of combat dryness, vaginal atrophy and soothes irritation. Research suggests that the topical form of this vitamin helps skin hold on to water, a key factor not only in softness but in healthy, resilient skin.

    Organic Cocoa Butter - Cocoa butter comes from the cacao bean, which is found inside the cocoa pod, which grows on the cacao tree. It is high in fatty acids, which is why it's often touted for its ability to hydrate and nourish the skin and improve elasticity. The fat in cocoa butter forms a protective barrier to the skin which holds in moisture. Cocoa butter contains oleic, palmitic, and stearic acids, all of which are deeply nourishing to skin tissue as well as deeply moisturizing.

    The Natural Solution for Vaginal Healing, Restoration and Rejuvenation

    The healing power of nature is profound. As women journey through the many stages of life, nature has provided the solutions to support health, vitality and healing. This is also true for the changes that cause hormones to fluctuate. Vaginal dryness and tissue atrophy can occur during many stages of life, either as a transitory problem or as symptom of deeper hormonal shifts.

    Hygeena truly is an elixir for vaginal health. Hygeena's unique formula incorporating Pueraria mirifica, Hyaluronic Acid, Silver Biotics®, Sea Buckthorn Oil, Natural Vitamin E and Cocoa butter has provided some of Nature's most healing gifts to support women to be healed, revitalized and rejuvenated throughout their lifetime.

    References:
    1. Manonai J1, Chittacharoen A, Theppisai U, Theppisai H., Effect of Pueraria mirifica on vaginal health Menopause. 2007 Sep-Oct;14(5):919-24. DOI: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3180399486
    2. Larmo PS1, Yang B2, Hyssälä J3, Kallio HP2, Erkkola R4., Effects of sea buckthorn oil intake on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Maturitas. 2014 Nov;79(3):316-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.07.010
  • Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) has long been cherished for its nutritional and medicinal properties. The fruit is juicy and tart and contains a range of valuable nutrients including vitamin C, flavonoids, flavonols and phenolic compounds. The primary flavonoids in cranberry are proanthocyanidins (also referred to as condensed tannins). Benzoic acid is the major phenolic compound while the major flavonols are quercetin and myricetin.

    From a medicinal perspective, cranberry has evolved from a folk remedy to a scientifically proven product that can provide protection against urinary tract infections (UTI). While fighting UTIs is its most popular use, recent research has found cranberry is also beneficial for fighting gum disease, lowering cholesterol levels, preventing ulcers and even fighting cancer.

    Cranberry and Urinary Tract Health
    UTI is the second most common infection that affects women. The symptoms—urinary burning, frequency, urgency and pain—are unpleasant and in some cases debilitating. About fifty percent of all women will experience a UTI in their lifetime and many women suffer recurrent UTIs. In the U.S. alone, about 8.3 million doctor visits per year are attributed to UTIs and they are the second leading cause of lost work days for women. Women are at greater risk of UTI because their urethra is closer to the rectal area making it easier for bacteria to get to the bladder. Pregnancy increases a woman’s risk because the growing baby presses on the bladder, which may prevent it from completely emptying. Menopause also increases UTI risk because lower estrogen levels lead to thinning of the urinary tract, making it easier for bacteria to enter. Sexual intercourse is the most common cause of UTI in women age 20 to 40. During sex, bacteria can be pushed from the rectal area toward the vagina and can then enter the urethra and ascend into the bladder. Men can also get UTIs. Those with an enlarged prostate, diabetes, or cancer and those under stress are at increased risk.

    The typical treatment of a UTI involves antibiotic therapy, which is associated with various health and societal risks. Side effects of antibiotics may include nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and yeast infections, to name a few. Plus, the overuse of antibiotics is now recognized as a major factor in the development of resistance—the bugs are becoming stronger than the drugs, leaving people vulnerable for attack by bacteria. Antibiotics are also expensive. Some of the broad-spectrum drugs are $80 or more for a week supply. As with most health problems, prevention is the key.

    Cranberry has been revered for centuries for urinary tract health but it wasn’t until the 1990s that its mechanism was elucidated. Cranberry works in part by preventing bacteria from adhering to the bladder. The condensed tannins or proanthocyanidins (PAC) adhere to the tiny hairs of the bacterial surface, changing the structure of the bacteria and preventing bacteria from implanting in the bladder wall. Scientists have also discovered another mechanism by which cranberry works. Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute found that chemical changes caused by cranberry juice create an energy barrier that keeps the bacteria from getting close to the urinary tract lining in the first place.

    Juice versus Supplements
    Most of the early research on cranberry involved testing juice cocktail with mixed results. This may have been due to the fact the amount of juice used in the studies varied greatly. Those studies finding positive results involved drinking large amounts of juice: up to 34 ounces per day. Not only is that difficult for most people to comply with, but most juices contain only 27 percent cranberry juice, with added sugar and water. For those watching their weight and trying to control blood sugar, all this excess sugar presents a problem. Pure juice is available in health food stores but it is quite expensive and very tart. For all of these reasons, cranberry supplements offer significant advantages.

    The most widely studied cranberry supplement on the market is Cran-Max®, a full spectrum product that contains all the vital parts of the cranberry—the fruit, seeds, skin and juice. A major drawback with many cranberry juice powders is the bioactives are quickly destroyed by stomach acid, and thus do not reach the desired site of action. Cran-Max utilizes a patented Bio-Shield® technology where the natural plant fibers form a lignan-cellulose matrix that protects the cranberry from destruction by the stomach acids, delivering the nutrients to the lower gastrointestinal tract where they can be absorbed. Cran-Max contains standardized condensed tannins and fiber, and is the only cranberry supplement that contains the full phytonutrient value of the whole cranberry.

    Supportive Research
    A study published in the Canadian Journal of Urology, compared the effects of pure cranberry juice (250 ml three times daily), cranberry tablets (Cran-Max 250 mg twice daily) and placebo in the prevention of UTI in a group of 150 women with a history of recurrent UTIs. Both the pure juice and cranberry tablets significantly reduced the occurrence of UTI but the cranberry tablets proved to be the most effective method.

    In another study conducted by researchers in France the effect of a single post-coital (after intercourse) dose of Cran-Max was evaluated in a group of 120 women with a history of recurrent UTI. The study was conducted over 45 days and women were randomized into one of the following treatments: GynDelta® (French brand of Cran-Max), dry cranberry extract with 36 mg proanthocyanidins or placebo. Women were instructed to take their treatment six hours after intercourse. Over the study period, only 10.8 percent of the women in the GynDelta group suffered from a UTI compared to 18.9 percent in the cranberry extract group and 43.2 in the placebo group. Thus the researchers concluded that the Cran-Max product was most effective in preventing post-coital UTI.

    The most recent study on Cran-Max involved 137 women with recurrent UTI. The women were randomized to receive either 500 mg of Cran-Max or 100 mg of trimethoprim (an antibiotic) for six months. The researchers found that the time to first recurrence of UTI was not significantly different between the groups. The lead researcher concluded: “Our trial is the first to evaluate cranberry (Cran-Max) in the prevention of recurrent UTIs specifically in older women, and the first head-to-head double-blind comparison of cranberry versus antibiotic prophylaxis. Trimethoprim had a very limited advantage over cranberry extract (Cran-Max) in the prevention of recurrent UTIs in older women and had more adverse effects.”

    This landmark study adds to the growing body of evidence on cranberry for bladder health. More people today are interested in natural methods for prevention of UTI and are trying to avoid antibiotic use due to concerns with side effects and resistance.

    Guidelines for Use
    Cranberry juice is generally well tolerated with no known adverse effects. Those with diabetes or insulin resistance should limit their intake of juice cocktail as it contains a significant amount of sugar. Cranberry juice, consumed in amounts found in foods, is thought to be safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding. There is no evidence of harm to the mother or baby as a result of consuming cranberry. Cranberry should be used cautiously in those taking anti-coagulants such as warfarin because it may enhance the blood-thinning effect of the drug.

    The dosage of cranberry juice has varied in the research. The most significant study on cranberry juice utilized a dosage of 250 ml of pure juice three times daily. The recommended dosage for Cran-Max is 500 mg daily for prevention.

    Future Directions
    Several new studies are underway evaluating the therapeutic effects of cranberry. The National Institutes of Health is funding research on cranberry’s effects on treating urinary tract infections, heart disease, yeast infections and gum disease. Other researchers are investigating its potential against cancer, stroke and viral infections. With mounting research published in mainstream medical journals cranberry is now getting the attention it deserves.


    Cranberry + Probiotics

    Individuals with recurrent UTI should consider taking a probiotic along with their cranberry supplement. Use of antibiotics, whether for UTI or other reasons, causes alterations in normal gastrointestinal and vaginal flora and this often leads to diarrhea and yeast infections. Probiotic supplements can help replenish normal flora and also help inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria, thus providing a supportive role for both the treatment and prevention of UTI. Look for a probiotic that is stable at room temperature, guaranteed potency (bacteria count guaranteed through expiration), dairy free, and made with human strains which allow for ideal implantation in the intestine, such as Kyo-Dophilus®.

    For individuals interested in maintaining and supporting intestinal function and urinary health there is Cran-Logic®. Cran-Logic contains the unique combination of Cran-Max cranberry extract and Kyo- Dophilus probiotics. These proprietary ingredients have been clinically studied and found to be beneficial for urinary tract, intestinal function, and many other aspects of health.

    Cran-Logic is made from 100 percent cranberry fruit solids through a process that intensifies the natural benefits of the whole cranberry, without the use of any solvents, preservatives, sugars, water, flavorings or color.

    Cran-Logic promotes a healthy urinary tract by reducing the risk of bladder and yeast problems. Since bad bacteria that cause urinary tract issues live in the intestines, the cranberry extract in Cran-Logic prevents the growth and adherence of these bad bacteria, while the probiotics maintain healthy intestinal function. Clinical studies have confirmed the value of cranberry and probiotics for bladder and intestinal health.

    Additionally, Cran-Logic replenishes your normal intestinal micro-flora. The balance of flora can be upset due to various therapies, poor diet, exposure to harmful bacteria, travel to foreign countries and even stress.

    Cran-Logic also offers a number of other benefits: It can inhibit the harmful toxins that bad bacteria produce; counter the adverse effects of therapies; produce essential vitamins and enzymes that are vital for health; and improve overall intestinal function.