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Independent health store advice on urinary tract infections

Looking for advice on natural health and wellbeing? Your local independent health store can offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This month we speak to Kate Segal, nutritional therapist and owner at Inside Out Health, Reigate, Surrey.

We would always suggest to our customers for anything that is recurring that they have a check-up with their GP. This is particularly important for urinary tract infections (UTIs) if they have symptoms such as fever, lower back pain and blood in their urine. Another reason to check with your GP is so that they can check if the issue is a bacterial infection. Also, on odd occasions it can be due to structural issues such as a tilted pelvis.

If you have suffered from recurrent UTIs then these recurrent infections weaken the immune system and can make the bladder lining more susceptible to further infections, which is a vicious cycle. If antibiotics have already been given, this will affect your levels of good bacteria which is a key part of your immune system, therefore leaving you more susceptible to infection. We often see this cycle of taking antibiotics, followed by another UTI, followed by more antibiotics.

Dietary advice

In terms of dietary advice, we would recommend drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of still water or herbal teas per day to keep urine diluted and to increase urine flow. Urine can become concentrated from not enough water or too many fizzy drinks and this can be problematic as it makes it easier for the bacteria to get a grip on the bladder. Avoid sugars as they feed the growth of unwanted bacteria and this negatively effects the pH of urine, making you more susceptible to infections. Reduce coffee, tea, alcohol, processed foods and too much red meat as this also negatively effects the pH of urine.

Support the immune system as a low immune system makes you more susceptible to infections. We would recommend eating garlic and a wide range of fruits and vegetables and nuts and seeds to support your immune system, such as pumpkin seeds for zinc and kiwi fruit, berries and peppers for vitamin C.

Suitable supplements

Alongside dietary changes we will often suggest supplements that we have had positive feedback from customers such as the Uva Ursi herbal tincture from A. Vogel. If you are prone to urinary tract infections then cranberry herbal tincture or D-mannose – the sugar in cranberry – can be helpful as it is thought to help prevent the E.coli from sticking to the lining of the wall of the bladder. Cranberry or D-mannose can be taken long term.

The above-mentioned options have been effective, but in each case we would usually recommend that customers also take a probiotic. We have several brands that make specific probiotics which provide the good bacteria naturally found in the genitourinary tract, for example OptiBac ‘For Women’ which has been clinically trialled.

We do also suggest lifestyle changes. Take care when inserting tampons to prevent damage to the nearby tissue or use pads instead of tampons. When going to the toilet always wipe from front to back. Empty your bladder fully and don’t delay the urge to urinate, and also empty your bladder after sex. Be aware with the menopause that the membranes lining the bladder and vagina may become thinner, therefore making you more susceptible to infection.

Inside Out Health

Inside Out Health is based at 33 Church Street, Reigate, Surrey. Owner Kate Segal has had the shop for six and half years in total – two and a half years at the first location and four years at the current premises. She initially worked at the store as a member of staff and took over the ownership, working hard to grow the business and eventually moving to bigger premises as the store became busier and more successful.

Most of the six staff members are nutritional therapists and there is always a nutritional therapist on the shop floor. The shop offers nutritional therapy consultations with evening appointments available too. Kate says: “Our plan is to move next summer to have a larger store with more clearly defined departments: supplements, foods, skincare and household. We want to provide opportunities to offer refills, reduce plastic use and offer more workshop space and consultation rooms. We have been offering consultations and workshops, working with local corporates – offering wellbeing events and growing our social media and plan to do this more and in a bigger, more workable space from next summer. We have been lucky to have GPs and consultants send customers to us and would also like to work on growing this connection more in the coming years.”

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