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But Mommy, I Have to Go!

Filed Under: Herbs at 9:59 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
CranberriesWe’ve all experienced it. Half way through a two-hour car ride, the little one in the backseat suddenly announces that he has to pee. You’ve just passed the last usable bathroom for miles and turning around is nearly impossible. With a quick prayer that he makes it, you press your foot to the gas and tell him he’ll have to wait. Assuming a neon sign with public restrooms appears before his bladder breaks, you let out a huge sigh of relief and move on, no harm done. Except, that’s where you would be wrong. Waiting to go to the bathroom is believed to be one of the leading causes for urinary tract infections (UTIs), a problem that affects at least 82,000 children each year. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recently created new guidelines for diagnosing and treating UTIs in children. With these, parents and doctors can catch and treat UTIs more quickly, dampening the likelihood of the infection causing a more serious problem.  However, it’s not only children who should be monitored for urinary tract infections.

UTIs are commonly seen in older individuals and women. In fact, one in five women will contract a UTI during her lifetime. And while men are less likely to get UTIs, when they do occur, the infection is often serious and difficult to treat. If untreated, the infection could cause major kidney damage, leading to even more health problems. So, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and what you can do to prevent UTIs.   If you experience burning when you urinate or have frequent, intense urges to go, as well as pain in your back and abdomen, and cloudy, dark, bloody or odd-smelling urine, see a doctor. Those are all key signs of a UTI. You may also experience fever, vomiting or fatigue. To prevent contracting the infection, several precautions can be taken. First just as your child shouldn’t wait, neither should you. When you have to use the restroom, use it. Stay away from extremely tight clothing and non-cotton underwear. Drink plenty of fluids, particularly water, and introduce cranberries into your diet. Cranberries make it difficult not only for bacteria to grow but for it to stick to your bladder wall.  In a recent study, cranberry extract was found to keep UTIs at bay for at least two years. The participants in the study, all women, took cranberry capsules each day. None of them contracted a UTI during the study, and for two years following its completion, eight of the women, who continued taking cranberry, remained UTI free. 

So, how can you get the cranberries you need? There are limitless possibilities. You could take your cue from researchers and try cranberry capsules. Or you could have one eight ounce glass of cranberry juice, ¼ cup of fresh/frozen cranberries, 1/3 cup of sweetened, dried cranberries, or 1/3 cup of cranberry sauce, daily. If you want variety, mix it up. Have a glass of juice one day; sprinkle fresh cranberries onto your cereal the next.  Whatever you choose, you can take pleasure in knowing that you’ve found a tasty way to keep your body clean!

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