URINARY INCONTINENCE

Natural Support For This Embarrassing Problem

Inability to completely control the flow of urine is a common complaint, effecting up to twenty million Americans. Symptoms may range from a mild inability to hold urine when coughing or laughing to inability to hold urine at any time. The condition occurs in both men and women, although women and elderly people are more commonly afflicted.
Causes of urinary incontinence include weak pelvic floor muscle tone, weak urethral (bladder) muscle tone, medication side-effects, nerve damage, food allergy, urinary tract irritation (from drugs, foods, bacteria, viruses, fungi), imbalanced pH, and increased intestinal permeability. Some of the drugs used to treat incontinence have dangerous side-effects and should be avoided if at all possible. Self-help measures prove highly valuable.

Diet And Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Finish daily water intake by 5 p.m. (This helps decrease nighttime urination). DO NOT, however, decrease daily water intake. Drink 64 ounces of pure water daily. Dehydration predisposes to urinary tract infections.
  • Eliminate known food allergens (which can irritate the urinary tract and cause increased frequency).
  • Check with your physician or pharmacist about any medications you are taking. Some can cause incontinence.
  • Achieve and maintain a normal weight. Excess weight pushes down on the bladder and compromises muscular ability.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, all of which increase urination.
  • Practice KEGEL exercises: tighten muscles to stop the flow while urinating. Feel the muscles at work? Tense these muscles during the day, hold as tightly as possible for a count of 10, relax. Repeat up to 20 times per day. (Do these when you are NOT urinating. The first time is done just to “feel” which muscles are at work). You can do this in a car, in line at the grocery store, etc. You will notice improvement beginning in 3 weeks.

Primary Support

  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Optimal (not minimal) doses of antioxidants (A,C,E,beta carotene, selenium), are particularly important in treating urinary incontinence.
  • Saw Palmetto: 1 cap, 2 times per day between meals. [Target dose: 240mg per day]. Although best known for male prostate gland enlargement, this herb is useful in both men and women to tone the urinary bladder sphincter muscle. It also has a positive effect on male and female libido.

Tests

  • Consider having a male or female a href=”http://207.7.84.118/product/compplus-hormone-profile-with-2-16-eq/”>hormone profile performed. Decreased sex hormones are associated with a laxity of the bladder sphincter muscles. Natural hormone replacement therapy can be very helpful in this condition.

Dr. Myatt’s Comment

The above-listed measures, especially weight loss (if overweight), Kegel exercises, saw palmetto and hormone balancing really do work to correct urinary incontinence, even in very old people. Start those Kegel’s without delay or excuses and you can get rid of the adult diapers!

Water


What You Should Know (But Have Not been Told) About Your Drinking Water

  • Water is essential for good health
  • your drinking and bathing water may be contaminated
  • water contaminants are linked to a wide variety of illnesses
  • how you can protect yourself from impure water

Every Body Needs Water

57-70% of adult human body weight is water. Every cell in the body is dependent on water for survival and optimal function. Consider a few of the many important functions of body water:

  • maintenance of normal skin tone (dehydrated skin appears wrinkled
  • maintenance of normal bowel function (lack of water is a common cause of constipation
  • maintenance of normal urinary tract function (lack of water can lead to urinary tract infection, urinary frequency, kidney stones and bladder cancer)
  • maintenance of normal muscle tone
  • maintenance of normal fluid balance (dehydration leads to water retention; sufficient water acts as a diuretic)
  • maintenance of normal digestion (many nutrients are transported via the body’s water)
  • elimination of toxins (lungs, kidneys, skin and intestinal tract all depend on water for eliminative functions)
  • joints require sufficient water to make the “jello” (glycosaminoglycands) that provide cushioning

Aquasana Shower Filters

Your Best Bet for Safe Drinking Water

Your best bet for safe, clean drinking water is install an under-sink or countertop water purifier. The reverse-osmosis type is very reliable. If you don’t want to invest the money to do that, a simple pitcher with a charcoal filter is better than most bottled water. You can see how different systems stack up with this brand comparison chart.

And don’t forget your shower-water! When you’re hot (and your skin’s pores are wide-open), you can absorb toxins from the water. Shower filters are inexpensive and reliable.

For maximum protection, whole house water filters are the ultimate safeguard against water-borne toxins and impurities. These are not inexpensive but they offer great peace of mind.

A Good Water Filter is a Cheap Investment in Your Health

A reliable, highly-effective under-sink water filter is an excellent health investment, especially when you consider how important water is to health. The human body is about 60% water. That means we can have 60% of our total body weight contaminated with a variety of toxins if we drink lousy water.

The highest-rated water filters cost about the same as the cheap junk.

Aquasana Water Purifiers makes some of the highest-rated filters at the best prices.

Water Testing

Regular (annual) testing of your family’s drinking water is a wise investment in good health – especially if you are drinking municipal water that has been “treated”, flouridated and chlorinated! Well-water is also subject to contamination from a variety of sources and must be tested annually to ensure your family’s safety.

PARASITES


Natural Solutions To Deal With Parasitic Infections

Symptoms of acute parasite infection are usually obvious, but “sub-acute” (low grade infection) of parasites can cause or contribute to many health problems and the diagnosis is often missed in conventional medicine (for reasons which I describe below). Symptoms of sub-acute parasitic infection can include:

  • chronic GI symptoms (IBS, diarrhea, intestinal cramps, constipation)
  • chronic digestive complaints (belching, heartburn, malabsorption)
  • headaches
  • weight loss (unintended)
  • autoimmune disease
  • multiple food intolerances
  • chronic fatigue
  • fever, chills (especially if no other cause is found)

Parasites are, in the broadest sense, any organism that lives on or in another organism and detracts from the health and vigor of the host. An organism that lives on or in another organism but does NOT detract from the health and vigor of the host is referred to as a commensal. If the organisms benefit from their relationship with each other, they are known as symbiots and their relationship is called symbiosis.

Obviously, many relationships between organisms and humans can be considered parasitic: virus/human, bacteria/human, worm/human, even human/human! Medically speaking, the term parasite is most commonly understood to mean the relationship between a human host and a protozoa or worm. These relationships are almost always destructive to the host. In addition, certain bacteria, fungi, protozoa and amoebas have dual relationships with the host and can be either parasitic or commensal.

Because of their parasitic potential, parasite/commensals will be considered in addition to true parasite. Some examples of each include:

True Parasites

Protozoan: E. histolytica, Giardia lamblia, Plasmodium (4 species), Leshmania, Toxoplasmosis, Cryptosporidia

Worms: Enterobiasis (pinworm), Trichuriasis (whipworm), Ascariasis, Necator americanus (hookworm), Strongyloidiasis (threadworm), Trichinella, Wucheria bancroftii

Parasite/Commensals

Protozoan: Blastocystis hominis, Dientamoeba fragilis

Amoeba: Endolimax nana, E. histolytica, E. coli, Iodamoeba butschlie

Fungi: Candida albicans, candida spp.

Bacteria: Klebsiella pneumonia

Symptoms of Acute Parasitic Infection

History and symptoms have largely been regarded as the guiding factors for diagnosis of parasites. These symptoms vary according to the species of organism, what part of the body is infected, and the severity of the infestation.

Systemic symptoms of fever, chills, skin lesions, hemolytic anemia or jaundice, especially following out-of-country travel, often suggest the diagnosis. Overt GI symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, flatulence, epigastric pain, intermittent nausea and malodorous stools may indicate intestinal infection.

Holistic Consideration of Parasites

When history and/or symptoms are overt, a diagnosis of parasites may be readily suspected. Sub-acute infections resulting in low-grade GI symptoms are encountered routinely in general family practice but are frequently unrecognized as such. This problem of under-diagnosis is likely due to several factors:

  1. Lack of history of exposure. It is not necessary to travel out of the country to acquire a parasite. Many organisms present themselves in food. A history of world travel used to be a major factor guiding physicians to diagnosis. Today, however, it must be appreciated that any non-exotic parasite can be acquired locally.
  2. Sub-acute nature of symptoms: Acute parasitic infections, with attendant severity of GI or systemic symptoms, is often easier to diagnose than sub-acute infection. Sub-acute infection can be either caused by a true parasite or by a parasite/commensal and can trigger a variety of local complaints that are not typically thought of in conjunction with parasite, but should be.
  3. Inadequacy of laboratory evaluation. The first “weak link” in the diagnostic chain, especially in sub-acute infections, is often the physician. The second weak link can be the medical lab, the method of collection, or both.

Many medical labs are equipped to identify overt parasitism, especially when the specimen yield is high. When the percent yield is low, the organism is often missed. Further, exotic species are more often recognized than non-exotic species and parasitic/commensal organisms, which may be overlooked or under-reported. For example: Candida albicans, is rarely reported on a conventional stool assay because it is considered a commensal and therefore not thought of as infectious. However, an overgrowth of this organism is known to behave in parasitic fashion to the host.

What To Do If You Suspect Parasites

First, don’t “play doctor” unless you ARE one! See a physician about your complaint and get a “work-up” by conventional medical standards. This will probably include blood and perhaps urine analysis and physical diagnosis. IF nothing can be identified to explain your complaint AND you have symptoms on the list above, then it is time to have some additional testing performed by an alternative medicine physician to evaluate for a sub-acute parasitic infection. You need a physician consult for this.

Based on your symptoms, the appropriate tests FROM THE RIGHT LAB will be ordered. (Remember, many labs miss the diagnosis when the number of parasites present in the sample are small). I use laboratories that specialize in looking for low-grade parasitic infections, so if something is there, they will find it. Also, increasing the number of specimens has been proven to dramatically increase the likelihood of finding an offending organism. This is because parasites in the GI tract “shed” only periodically and are often missed by a single stool sample.

The most common tests needed to discover parasites include the Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis, Candida testing and a Gastric Acid Self-Test. Again, knowing which tests to order is a matter of clinical judgment that few laymen are prepared to make.

If you believe, based on your chronic symptoms and from what you have just learned, that you may have parasites as a cause of your problems, please give me a call for consultation. I can help you learn if parasites are a cause of your “undiagnosed” complaint.

Exact treatments will differ depending on the organism and location. There are some basic recommendations that apply to all parasitic infections, however.

Primary Support

  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Parasites “sap” nutrients from the body and weaken the immune system. Especially important nutrients include vitamin A and B12, but any nutrient can be deficient based on the nutritional patterns of the parasite.
  • Fiber Formula: (helps transport killed organisms out of the body): 6 caps, 2 times per day between meals.
  • Chlorophyll: (water soluable; intestinal detoxifier): 1 cap, 2 times per day with meals.
  • Immune Support: 1 cap, 2 times per day with meals
  • SupremaDophilus: 1 cap before bed. Helps replace “friendly” gut bacteria.
  • Parasite Tincture: as directed by physician.
  • Berberine has been shown to have anti-protazoan effects

Additional Support

  • Colloidal Silver: 1-1/2 tsp. two times per day (for 140 pound body weight; adjust up or down as needed). Use 5ppm silver for 14 days.

    NOTE: Sub-acute parasitic infections are usually better treated by alternative medicine than by conventional drugs. The reason is that anti-parasitic medicines are toxic to the host as well as the parasite, and low-grade infections must be treated for a much longer duration of time to be sure that all organisms are killed.

Urinary Tract Health


Your Guide to a Healthy “Water Works”

The urinary tract — including the kidneys, bladder and urethra — don’t get as much “press” as other bodily systems. Since the urinary tract is responsible for much of the body’s waste removal, in addition to the role it plays in blood pressure regulation, keeping a healthy urinary tract is important for good health.

Many drugs cause damage to the kidneys, even those used to treat kidney infections! For this reason, I always prefer to use natural remedies as a first line of defense in keeping the urinary tract healthy.

Urinary Tract
 Nutrients and Herbs
Urinary-Tract
Health Concerns

B.A.M.
Bromelain
Cranberry
Echinacea/Goldenseal
Vitamin C Bladder Infection (Cystitis)
Kidney Stones
Prostate Enlargement

Urinary Tract Infection

 

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s)


Natural Ways to Overcome UTI’s

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are a common and uncomfortable condition that affects some 50 percent of all women and girls (and a lesser number of men and boys) over the course of a lifetime. UTIs account for 10 million doctor visits annually. Some people appear to be more susceptible than others. For example, women who experience one UTI are more likely to have recurrences from time to time.

Urinary tract infections can range from annoying to life-threatening. When confined to the bladder, most UTI’s are merely uncomfortable but can sometimes be downright painful. If bacteria ascends to the kidneys, serious kidney damage and even kidney failure can result.

Urinary Tract Terminology

When an infection involves only the urethra, the condition is called “urethritis.” When the bladder is involved, the condition is called “cystitis.” When the infection back all the way up to the kidneys, it is called “nephritis” or “pyelonephritis.”

Causes of UTI’s

Ninety percent (90%) of all UTI’s are caused by E. coli bacteria. E. coli is the most common “friendly” bacteria in the colon (large intestine). As long as it stays in the gut, things are fine. When e.coli bacteria make their way into the urinary tract, they can cause an infection. The remaining 10% of UTI’s are caused by other types of microbes including Chlamydia, Mycoplasma, Neisseria gonorrhoreae, and others. These type of “bugs” are typically spread by sexual contact and can cause the more serious types of infection.

Most bacteria that find a way into the urinary tract (as can occur during sexual intercourse) are simply washed out with the urine. E. coli can “grab” onto cells that line the urinary track by binding to a sugar-like molecule found on normal urinary tract cells.

Conventional Medical Treatment of UTI’s

Conventional medicine uses antibiotics to treat UTI’s, period. Antibiotics can be highly effective at knocking down a UTI, but there are numerous drawbacks.

Antibiotics not only kill bacteria in the urinary tract, but they can kill a lot of “friendly bacteria” in the gut as well. Destruction of protective GI bacteria can lead to yeast infections or worse, can allow “unfriendly” strains of bacteria to colonize the gut.

Disturbing the normal gut flora often leads to a secondary vaginal yeast infection. Many women who take antibiotics for UTI simply come to expect that they will have a vaginal yeast infection (requiring a second medication of an anti-fungal) for treatment.

Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics. Not only can the antibiotic stop working (or become less effective) for treating the UTI, but antibiotics can become less effective for treating infections elsewhere in the body. Remember, overuse of antibiotics is the most common cause of “Super Bugs”— bacteria that do not respond to any known antibiotic.

Antibiotics can sometimes cause life-threatening allergic reactions. Other reactions to antibiotics include diarrhea or constipation, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. An estimated 25% of people who receive an antibiotic will develop a secondary gut infection of an organism called C. difficile.

Alternative Treatments for UTI

Most cases of UTI can be successfully treated without antibiotics. Because of the many drawbacks of antibiotics, I always prefer to try natural options first. Results are usually seen within 24 hours, so it is easy to tell if the natural treatment is working.

D-mannose is a sugar molecule and close cousin of glucose. Many alternative physicians have found that it can cure 90 percent of all UTIs within 1 to 2 days. Because D-mannose works by preventing bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract and not by direct antibiotic action, it does not have any of the potential for negative side-effects like antibiotics so.

D-mannose tastes good (because it is related to the sugar molecule, although it does not raise blood sugar levels). It is so safe that it can be used by pregnant women and young children. It is also one of the few “medicines” that children actually enjoy taking!

Although D-mannose is virtually unknown to conventional medical doctors, many research reports have proven its mode of action and effectiveness against E. coli, the microorganism that causes 90% of all UTIs. Moreover, nearly 15 years of clinical experience has also shown that it is just almost as effective at curing UTIs as antibiotic drugs but without any of the negative side-effects.

Potassium Citrate Powder


Potassium Citrate100% Pure Food Grade Tri-Potassium Citrate Powder (Anhydrous Tripotassium Citrate)

Potassium is an alkalinizing mineral that is typically deficient in the American diet.
The primary source of dietary potassium is from fruits and vegetables.

Mild metabolic acidosis (MMA) results from low intakes of alkaline fruits and vegetables and
high intakes of grain and protein foods. This MMA can cause the gradual leaching of minerals from bone,leading to osteoporosis. MMA and/or lack of urinary citrate is also a metabolic factor in the formationof kidney stones.

Potassium citrate serves as a source of both potassium and citrate and has been found useful for:

  • increasing bone mineral density and improving bone architecture (1-4)
  • decreasing the formation of kidney stones by up to 93% (3-11)
  • alkalinizing the body and reversing mild metabolic acidosis (7)

Potassium Citrate Powder is used to treat kidney damage and specifically, metabolic acidosis which is where the blood is more acidic than normal. Potassium Citrate Powder may be used to help pass kidney and bladder stones through the body easily and less painfully, as it causes the stones to break down while passing through the body.

Some people take Potassium Citrate Powder just to reduce the amount of acid in the urine or increase the pH levels- that is, to “alkalinize.”

Suggested Use: Take as directed by your health care professional. DO NOT take more than recommended.

Doses in the studies range from 1 mEq/kg daily in children (10) up to 80 mEq (3120milligrams) daily total for adults. (7-8)
Eight grams (8g) of potassium citrate contains approximately 3,000mg potassium. This amount can be found in 1 and 1/4 tsp.

It is best taken in divided doses; that is, divided into two or three doses daily.

To use: Carefully measure and mix the desired amount of potassium citrate in a glass of warm water, mix well, and drink. Can be mixed with sugar-free flavored beverages – we recommend ZipFizz for a healthy “sports drink.”

References:

1.)  Jehle S, Hulter HN, Krapf R. Effect of Potassium Citrate on Bone Density,
Microarchitecture, and Fracture Risk in Healthy Older Adults without Osteoporosis:
A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov 15. [Epub ahead
of print]
2.) Harrington M, Cashman KD. High salt intake appears to increase bone resorption
in postmenopausal women but high potassium intake ameliorates this adverse effect.
Nutr Rev. 2003 May;61(5 Pt 1):179-83.
3.) Jehle S, Zanetti A, Muser J, Hulter HN, Krapf R. Partial neutralization of the
acidogenic Western diet with potassium citrate increases bone mass in
postmenopausal women with osteopenia. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006
Nov;17(11):3213-22. Epub 2006 Oct 11.
4.) Vescini F, Buffa A, La Manna G, Ciavatti A, Rizzoli E, Bottura A, Stefoni S,
Caudarella R. Long-term potassium citrate therapy and bone mineral density in
idiopathic calcium stone formers. J Endocrinol Invest. 2005 Mar;28(3):218-22.
5.) Lojanapiwat B, Tanthanuch M, Pripathanont C, Ratchanon S, Srinualnad S,
Taweemonkongsap T, Kanyok S, Lammongkolkul S. Alkaline citrate reduces stone
recurrence and regrowth after shockwave lithotripsy and percutaneous
nephrolithotomy. Int Braz J Urol. 2011 Sep-Oct;37(5):611-6.
6.) Pak CY, Peterson RD, Poindexter J. Prevention of spinal bone loss by potassium
citrate in cases of calcium urolithiasis. J Urol. 2002 Jul;168(1):31-4.
7.) Pak CY, Fuller C. Idiopathic hypocitraturic calcium-oxalate nephrolithiasis
successfully treated with potassium citrate. Ann Intern Med. 1986 Jan;104(1):33-7.
8.) Preminger GM, Sakhaee K, Skurla C, Pak CY. Prevention of recurrent calcium
stone formation with potassium citrate therapy in patients with distal renal tubular
acidosis. J Urol. 1985 Jul;134(1):20-3.
9.) Robinson MR, Leitao VA, Haleblian GE, Scales CD Jr, Chandrashekar A, Pierre
SA, Preminger GM. Impact of long-term potassium citrate therapy on urinary profiles
and recurrent stone formation. J Urol. 2009 Mar;181(3):1145-50. Epub 2009 Jan 18.
10.) Sarica K, Erturhan S, Yurtseven C, Yagci F. Effect of potassium citrate therapy
on stone recurrence and regrowth after extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy in
children. J Endourol. 2006 Nov;20(11):875-9.
11.) Soygür T, Akbay A, Küpeli S. Effect of potassium citrate therapy on stone
recurrence and residual fragments after shockwave lithotripsy in lower caliceal
calcium oxalate urolithiasis: a randomized controlled trial. J Endourol. 2002
Apr;16(3):149-52.

 

PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a tragedy because it affects so many young women who desperately want to have babies of their own – and it affects their partners and other family members as well.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a condition in which a woman’s ovaries and, in some cases the adrenal glands, produce more androgens (a type of hormone) than normal.  High levels of these hormones interfere with the development and release of eggs as part of ovulation.  As a result, fluid-filled sacs or cysts can develop on the ovaries.

Because women with PCOS do not release eggs during ovulation, PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.

How does PCOS affect fertility?

A woman’s ovaries have follicles, which are tiny, fluid-filled sacs that hold the eggs. When an egg is mature, the follicle breaks open to release the egg so it can travel to the uterus for fertilization.

In women with PCOS, immature follicles bunch together to form large cysts or lumps. The eggs mature within the bunched follicles, but the follicles don’t break open to release them.

Normal and PolyCystic Ovaries

Image courtesy U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As a result, women with PCOS often have menstrual irregularities, such as amenorrhea (they don’t get menstrual periods) or oligomenorrhea (they only have periods now and then). Because the eggs are not released, most women with PCOS have trouble getting pregnant.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

In addition to infertility, women with PCOS may also have:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Hirsutism, or excess hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, thumbs, or toes
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • Acne, oily skin, or dandruff
  • Patches of thickened and dark brown or black skin

Also, women who are obese are more likely to have PCOS.

Although it is hard for women with PCOS to get pregnant, some do get pregnant, naturally or using assistive reproductive technology.  Women with PCOS are at higher risk for miscarriage if they do become pregnant.

Women with PCOS are also at higher risk for associated conditions, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome—sometimes called a precursor to diabetes, this syndrome indicates that the body has trouble regulating its insulin
  • Cardiovascular disease—including heart disease and high blood pressure

What is the treatment for PCOS?

Conventional medicine says here is no cure for PCOS, but holistic doctors like Dr. Myatt believe that many of the symptoms can often be managed, improved greatly, or even eliminated with carefully targeted natural therapies.

It is important to have PCOS diagnosed and treated early to help prevent associated problems.

Conventional medicine will offer medications that may help control the symptoms, such as birth control pills to regulate menstruation, reduce androgen levels, and clear acne. Other medications can reduce cosmetic problems, such as hair growth, and control blood pressure and cholesterol. Many of these medicines have significant, serious, even dangerous side effects.

Naturopathic physicians like Dr. Myatt can offer more natural solutions including metabolic modification diets, hormone testing and balancing, strategies for the reduction of inflammatory factors, and more.

Lifestyle changes such as corrective diet and regular exercise will aid weight loss and help reduce blood sugar levels and regulate insulin levels more effectively.  Weight loss can help lessen many of the health conditions associated with PCOS and can make symptoms be less severe or even disappear.

Surgical treatment may also be offered as an option, but it is not recommended as the first course of treatment.

Recent research has also examined the effects of the anti-diabetes drug metformin on fertility in women with PCOS. Dr. Myatt can help her patients to understand the mechanisms of this option.

Extensive recent human research also shows that myo-Inositol, a part of the B-complex family, helps to support healthy ovulatory activity, ovarian function, and reproductive system function

How is PCOS diagnosed?

Your health care provider will take a medical history and do a pelvic exam to feel for cysts on your ovaries.  He or she may also do a vaginal ultrasound and recommend blood tests to measure hormone levels.

When examining hormone levels, remember that your conventional doctor will almost always order a blood test. (and it is likely that a blood test is the only hormone test your disease insurance will pay for) This blood test, while technically accurate, is only a “snapshot” – an accurate picture of your hormone levels only at the moment the test was performed.

Sex hormones are made and secreted in “waves” over a 24 hour period and a blood test cannot show the averages of those waves or highs and lows.

A more accurate test is an examination of saliva – this will provide a look at hormone levels over the past few hours. It still runs the risk of catching a “peak” or “trough” of a hormone level and thus providing an erroneous result. Dr. Myatt finds this to be a useful test when performed and interpreted correctly and offers it as an economical alternative to more expensive (and more accurate) 24 hour urine testing – find more information here.

The “Gold Standard” of hormone testing is considered to be the 24 hour urine collection. While it may be a bit time-consuming and awkward for someone who is busy and “on-the-go” it will provide the most accurate possible look at overall hormone health as it will show your body’s hormone production over a full 24 hour period.

Dr. Myatt finds that the 24 hour  COMPREHENSIVE PLUS HORMONE PROFILE is the most accurate and useful of the hormone tests when performed and interpreted correctly. Interpretation of the results of this test, which includes and examination not only of the major sex hormones but of their intermediates and metabolites as well, is time consuming and complicated – this may be one reason most conventional doctors are reluctant to perform it. Dr. Myatt spends a great deal of time analysing the results of this test for her patients and she offers Brief Phone Consultations to non-patients.

Other tests may include measuring levels of insulin, glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides. Vitamin D levels, and Iodine levels.

Iodine Testing is especially important to PCOS since so many Americans are Iodine deficient and Iodine Deficiency is a major contributor to cystic conditions of all sorts – especially the breasts, ovaries, and thyroid.  Learn more about Iodine testing here – Dr. Myatt offers two accurate Iodine tests.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


Natural Strategies for Cranky Bowel

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a motility disorder of the upper and lower GI tract. Symptoms include some combination of constipation, diarrhea, or alternating constipation and diarrhea, flatulence, colic (gas pains) relieved by bowel movement, abdominal distention after eating, or mucous in stools.

The cause of IBS is unclear, since no anatomical lesion is consistently found.

Contributing factors may include food allergy, altered bowel flora, intestinal parasites or yeast overgrowth, lack of dietary fiber, and lack of digestive factors (enzymes, hydrochloric acid (HCL), bile salts). Highly refined Western diets are implicated. Psychological factors often play a role.

DIET AND LIFESTYLE RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Include fiber-rich foods in the diet (vegetables, fruits, and whole grains).
  • Chew food thoroughly. Do not eat when rushed or under strain.
  • Evaluate for food allergies and avoid aggravating foods.
  • Avoid GI-irritant foods: caffeine and caffeine-containing substances, chocolate, alcohol, white sugar, white flour, fatty foods.
  • Drink 64 ounces of pure water daily. Dehydration contributes to constipation and altered bowel flora which can trigger the cycle of IBS.
  • Regular exercise, especially walking, helps normalize bowel function.
  • Practice relaxation techniques if stress seems to aggravate or initiate the condition.

PRIMARY SUPPORT

  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Optimal (not minimal) doses of vitamins A, C, E, beta carotene, folic acid, B12, and zinc are particularly important for correcting IBS.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids:
    Flax seed meal, 2 teaspoons per day with food
    OR
    Flax seed capsules
    : 2-4 caps, 3 times per day (target dose range: 6-12 caps per day)
    OR
    Flax seed oil
    : 1 tablespoon per day
    OR
    Max EPA
    (Omega-3 rich fish oil): 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals (target dose: 3-6 caps per day).
  • Fiber: Maxi Fiber, 1-2 teaspoons, 3 times per day before or between meals, OR Fiber Formula: 3-6 caps 2-3 times per day between meals. Be SURE to take a full 8 ounces of water with each dose. Start with smaller doses and gradually work up, since sudden increases in fiber can cause aggravation.
  • Similase: 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Take an additional 1 cap with snacks.
  • SupremaDophilus (high potency probiotics): 1 capsule once a day before bed.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

For acute symptoms:

  • Mentharil (enteric coated peppermint): 1-2 caps, 2-3 times per day between meals. Peppermint acts as an anti- spasmodic BUT it must be “enteric coated” so that it is not absorbed before reaching the lower bowel.

For diarrhea:

  • Activated charcoal: 6 caps with water. If symptoms persist beyond one hour, take a second dose of 6 charcoal caps.

DR. MYATT’S COMMENT

It may take some time and exploration to find the causative factors in IBS, but patients tell me it’s well worth the effort. Refer to the complete bowel retraining program, Healthy Colon Priority Protocol on page 9 in your Holistic Health Handbook. If self-help measures fail to bring relief, I am available for telephone consultations.

 

 

Gallbladder “Attacks” and Gallstones

How to End the Pain and Save Your Gallbladder

Nearly half a million gallbladder surgeries — removal, or cholecystectomy to be precise — are performed each year in the US. Many of the people who give up their gallbladders to such surgery appear to be fine, and the pain of their gallbladder attacks are over. Oddly enough, for many others, gallbladder “attacks” continue even in the absence of a gallbladder – in fact, one authoritative source indicates that Post Cholecystectomy Syndrome (PCS) affects at least 10 to 15% of people who have had their gallbladders removed!

Are the people who have given up their gallbladders really “fine”? And why do others continue to have pain in spite of removal of their gallbladder?

Conventional medical doctors make no attempt to help people “save” their gallbladders when stomach or other symptoms is believed due to gallbladder attacks. In fact, many gallbladders are removed even when scans do not show anything wrong with the gallbladder. Because there is no attempt to preserve this organ in conventional medicine, and because many people feel better after surgical removal of their GB, people mistakenly believe that the gallbladder isn’t important and that living without it makes no difference. Unfortunately, this viewpoint is incorrect and can be downright unhealthy.

Contrary to common belief, the gallbladder isn’t just a “vestigial organ” with little or no importance. One of the primary jobs of the gallbladder is to control the flow of bile which in turn is needed to absorb fats, oils and fat-soluble nutrients. Once the gallbladder is removed, these functions cannot happen normally, at least not without additional “outside help” from supplementation.

Although steps can be taken to prevent nutrient deficiencies if you have already had your gallbladder removed, let’s talk about another important question. How can you get rid of gallbladder “attacks” and keep your gallbladder in the first place? After all, “prevention” is always easier than cure.

The Real Cause of Gallbladder Pain

Gallbladder pain is usually blamed on gallstones, although stones are rarely the cause of intermittent GB discomfort.

Stones of a particular size that get stuck in the bile duct are indeed incredibly painful. If they are not passed quickly, gangrene of the duct and gallbladder can set in with life-threatening complications. This is the only true “surgical emergency” of gallbladder stones.

However, most stones are too large to obstruct the gall duct. Other people have “sand,” which is fine particulate that is too small to obstruct the gall duct. So where does the pain come from?

The real cause — and cure — of gallbladder pain was discovered back in 1968 by a physician named James C. Breneman. Dr. Breneman was chairman of the Food Allergy Committee of the American College of Allergists, or ACA (now called the American College of Allergy and Immunology, or ACAI). Dr. Breneman discovered that attacks of gallbladder pain are caused by food allergies.

In 1968, he put 69 people who suffered from recurrent gallbladder attacks on an elimination diet to determine their food allergies. Six of the subjects already had their gallbladders removed but were still having gallbladder “attacks,” a phenomenon known as “post-cholecystectomy syndrome.” Dr. Breneman found that all 69 people — 100 percent! — were totally symptom-free of gallbladder pain when they avoided their individual food sensitivities, and all 69 had a recurrence of their symptoms when they ate the foods they reintroduced the foods they were allergic to back into their diets.

The most common allergenic foods were found to be eggs (92.8%), pork (63.8%), onions (52.2%), chicken and turkey (34.8%), milk (24.6%), coffee (21.7% ), and oranges (18.8%). Corn, beans, nuts, apples, tomatoes, peas, cabbage, spices, peanuts, fish, and rye accounted for between 1 to 14.5% of gallbladder attacks. 14 of the 69 study participants (over 20 percent) also had gallbladder attacks caused by medications.

How Allergies Cause Gallbladder Attacks Illustration of the biliary system, showing the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and the duodenum with the appendant ducts.

The body’s reaction to allergic substances is to cause swelling (remember how your nose swells if you have seasonal allergies?). When food and medication allergies cause swelling of the gallbladder ducts, bile flow is obstructed. The symptoms of allergy-caused obstruction are the same as a stone being stuck in the duct. (Hence the blame being laid on a “stone” when in fact, swelling of the tissue caused by a food or medicine reaction is the real culprit).

The Cure for Gallbladder Pain

The real treatment for most GB pain isn’t to remove this important organ, but to perform an elimination / challenge diet or food allergy testing and find the offending foods and medications.

The Dangers of Gallbladder Removal

What Can Happen Without a Gallbladder?

Vitamin A Deficiency symptoms include changes in vision (night blindness, dry eyes, macular degeneration), decreased immunity and skin diseases.

Vitamin D Deficiency symptoms include cancer, osteoporosis, dental disease and decreased immune function.

Vitamin K Deficiencies are associated with osteoporosis and atherosclerosis

Vitamin E Deficiency is associated with cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases and a long list of other health problems.

Essential Fatty Acids regulate everything from cardiac function to immunity and inflammation.

The gallbladder stores and then releases bile
in response to fats contained in a meal. Bile is necessary to assist the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins.

When the gallbladder is removed, vitamins A, E, D, K, and essential fatty acids are not absorbed properly. Unfortunately, the symptoms of declining fat-soluble vitamins and essential fats come on slowly and most often, unnoticeably. Health problems can be many and varied, associated with a deficiency of any or all of these fat-soluble vitamins.

Who would guess that removal of the gallbladder, especially without replacement of bile salts (which is NEVER suggested in conventional medicine), could contribute to the premature development of so many and varied health problems, all related to fat soluble nutrient assimilation?

Other Nutrients for Gallbladder Health

Low stomach acid can cause or contribute to the development of gallstones. Correcting a stomach acid deficiency is of primary importance when addressing gallbladder health.

Here is more information about the many symptoms and diseases associated with low stomach acid.

And here is a simple self-test kit to help you determine if you need supplemental betaine hydrochloride:

Magnesium deficiency is extremely common among people who suffer from gallbladder pain and stones (even when the stones are not the actual cause of the pain). And if magnesium deficiency relates to the development of stones, the news gets even worse for those who don’t supplement: 60% of post-GB removal patients suffer from magnesium deficiency and 40% from calcium/magnesium deficiency.

A high-quality daily multiple vitamin/mineral supplement such as Maxi Multi contains a full daily recommended dose of magnesium and calcium. For those taking “one-per day” multiples or no extra supplementation at all, additional magnesium supplementation is highly recommended.

References

  1. Jensen, Steen W.  “Postcholecystectomy Syndrome” Jan 16, 2008 http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/192761-overview
  2. “Fast Stats: Inpatient Surgery, 2002,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov), accessed 8/25/04
  3. Breneman JC “Allergy Elimination as the Most Effective Gallbladder Diet.” Annals of Allergy 1968; 26; 83-89
  4. Breneman, James C. Basics of Food Allergy. Springfield (IL): CC Thomas (pub), 1978.
  5. Tsai CJ, Leitzmann MF, Willett WC, Giovannucci EL. Long-term effect of magnesium consumption on the risk of symptomatic gallstone disease among men. Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Feb;103(2):375-82. Epub 2007 Dec 12.
  6. Szántay J, Varga D, Porr PJ. Post-cholecystectomy syndrome and magnesium deficit.Acta Physiol Hung. 1992;80(1-4):391-8.

Candidiasis (Chronic)

Natural Strategies Yeast Overgrowth

Everyone carries the common yeast Candida albicans in their intestinal tract. Other strains of Candida may also inhabit the colon. Yeasts are normal but apparently non-essential residents of the large intestine. Sometimes, these co-inhabitants of the intestinal tract can grow out of control.

An overgrowth of yeast can cause many problems. The yeasts release waste products that, when absorbed into the blood stream, are toxic to many body systems. These byproducts can be recognized by the immune system and create and immune reaction.

Candida overgrowth results from conditions inherent to modern life: use of antibiotics and other drugs, a Standard American Diet (S.A.D. – especially sugar and simple carbohydrates), a lack of digestive enzymes, and stress. Overuse or misuse of antibiotics is another common cause of Candida overgrowth.

The Elusive Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Candidiasis is often overlooked in conventional medicine. Many doctors say they “Don’t believe in Candidiasis,” even though there is ample scientific evidence to document the condition. It is difficult to say exactly why this condition is ignored by conventional medicine in spite of the vast scientific evidence, but I offer you my theories for such conventional medical ignorance:

  • The symptoms of Candidiasis are widespread and can mimic many other diseases. There is no definitive lab test that confirms the disease. This makes correct diagnosis difficult.
  • Some “holistic” practitioners diagnose everything as Candidiasis, thereby missing other important diagnoses. This has given the problem of Candidiasis a “pop diagnosis” reputation among many physicians. As a result, non-holistic doctors are then reluctant to recognize true cases of Candidiasis.
  • One of the primary causes of Candidiasis is the overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills and other drugs. To acknowledge Candidiasis as a disease is to also acknowledge a problem often caused by drugs!

Symptoms of Candidiasis

Toxins absorbed from Candida can affect any tissue. Those systems most commonly affected include the gastrointestinal (GI), genito-urinary (GU), nervous, and immune systems. A person suffering from Candidiasis may have any of these symptoms:

  • In the intestinal tract: bloating, excessive feeling of fullness, diarrhea, constipation, alternating diarrhea and constipation, “rolling gas,” abdominal cramping, heartburn, indigestion, gas or belching, mucous in the stool, hemorrhoids.
  • In the female genital tract: recurrent yeast vaginitis, persistent vaginal itching or burning, persistent vaginal discharge, endometriosis, PMS.
  • In the male genital tract: prostatitis, impotence, loss of sexual desire.
  • In the urinary tract: urgency or urinary frequency, recurrent urinary tract “infections” but bacteria are NOT found to be the cause.
  • In the nervous system: numbness, burning, or tingling, spots in front of the eyes, erratic vision, incoordination, irritability or jitteriness, dizziness or loss of balance, failing vision, ear pain or deafness.
  • In the immune system: rashes, post nasal drip, sore or dry throat, wheezing or shortness of breath, recurrent infections, burning or tearing of eyes, cough.
  • In the skin and mucous membranes: recurrent skin fungal infections, nail-bed fungus, “jock itch,” thrush (yeast overgrowth in the mouth and esophagus), psoriasis, rashes of unknown origin.
  • In general: fatigue, mental “cloudiness,” joint aches and pains, obesity, depression, memory loss.

How Is Candida diagnosed?

Symptoms of Candida overgrowth suggest the diagnosis. In addition, other causes of a complaint must be “ruled out.” For example, if a patient complains of extreme fatigue, we would first determine that this complaint was NOT caused by other factors, such as anemia, low thyroid function, or viral infection. When other known causes of fatigue have been ruled out, especially if the patient has additional symptoms or history that suggest Candida overgrowth, further testing for Candidiasis is warranted. Treatment can be started “presumptively,” (meaning before we are sure of Candida overgrowth).

Personal history also suggests the diagnosis. Antibiotic use without bacterial replacement therapy, birth control pills, cortisone therapy, and a history of dietary imbalance (especially sugar, simple carbohydrate or alcohol use or cravings) are also indicators.

A Candida stool test can aid in the diagnosis and guide treatment. Since yeast is a normal inhabitant in everyone’s intestinal tract, some amount of yeast can almost always be recovered in a stool sample. Only when recovered amounts are abnormally high is the diagnosis clear. Because Candida can “invade” directly into the tissue of the GI tract, it is possible to have a Candidal overgrowth but a “normal” amount of yeast in the stool. Since a lack of normal bowel bacteria OR an increase in abnormal bowel bacteria often accompanies yeast overgrowth, a Gastro-intestinal health profile with parasitology is often more useful for diagnosis than the Candida stool test alone.

A Candida Antibodies Test is also available. This test uses a drop of blood to evaluate for an immune system reaction to Candida. It assesses IgG, IgA, IgM immunoglobulins to yeast as well as Candida antigen. A positive finding indicates past or present Candida infection and may allow Candida yeast reactions to be found when stool and vaginal specimens are negative or inconclusive.

Careful consideration of a patient’s symptoms, “ruling out” other known causes of the complaint, evaluation of dietary and drug history, and use of laboratory tests are the way that Candidiasis is accurately diagnosed. Diagnosis can be challenging because Candidiasis shares symptoms with many other conditions. For this reason, it is recommended that you consult an holistic physician for correct diagnosis and treatment.

What is the Treatment?

Cessation of the causative factors is most important. Whether it be a particular drug, a high sugar/refined carbohydrate diet, or an excess response to external events (more commonly known as “stress”), these triggers must be corrected. An anti-yeast substance with concomitant bacterial replacement therapy, corrective diet, stress reduction and immune system boosting are all crucial to the success of the treatment. Your holistic physician will be able to help you determine your best course of action in treating this modern-day “plague.”

Yeast “Die-Off”: Avoiding the Herxheimer Reaction

Yeast cells that are quickly killed by treatment cause a “die-off” reaction known as the Herxheimer reaction. Die-off is caused by the release of large amounts of toxins from dying Candida cells. These toxins pass through the gut wall and enter the bloodstream where they can trigger immune reactions. Die-off reactions can last from a few days to several weeks but usually clear up in less than a week.

In order to avoid die-off reactions, I recommend high doses of activated charcoal and plenty of fluids. The charcoal adsorbs the killed yeast cells and their toxic waste products and carries them out of the body in the stool before they are absorbed into the bloodstream and can create a Herxheimer reaction.

Diet And Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Avoid ALL foods that are high in simple carbohydrates (sugar, corn syrup, honey, molasses, fruit juice, dried fruit, other sugars or foods containing them), yeasts (all raised, yeasted dough: bread, crackers, bagels), ferments and molds (mushrooms, alcohol, vinegar, peanuts, cantaloupe), milk products except yogurt (milk is high in the sugar lactose), high carbohydrate vegetables (potatoes, corn, parsnip). Eat “Super Foods” plentifully, especially fresh garlic.
  • Avoid all known food allergens (see Food Allergies).
  • Avoid antibiotics, birth control pills, steroids, immune suppressing drugs unless absolutely medically necessary. (Do NOT stop medications without physician guidance).

Primary Support

  • Maxi Multi: A deficiency of any vitamin, mineral or trace mineral can weaken this immunity and predispose to Candida overgrowth. For this reason, a high potency multiple vitamin/mineral/trace mineral formula is a critical first step in treating Candida. Be SURE that only yeast-free, hypoallergenic supplements are used. Maxi Multi is yeast and additive-free and hypoallergenic. Dose: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals.
  • Similase: digestive enzymes reduce bowel inflammation, improve digestion which in turn nourishes normal gut flora (good bacteria) and decreases yeast die-off reaction. Dose: 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals.
  • Berberine: Highly effective against candida. Dose: one capsule two times daily for up to fourteen (14) days with water at mealtimes
  • Activated Charcoal: charcoal binds toxins released as yeast dies. This prevents them from being reabsorbed into circulation and carries them out in the stool. Charcoal is especially good for preventing the “Herxheimer Reaction” (yeast die-off, see above).
    Charcoal capsules: Dose: 12 capsules 2 times per day, once between breakfast and lunch and once at bedtime with a full glass of water.
  • Suprema-Dophilus (Ultra high-potency probiotic): Replacement of normal “good bacteria” helps crowd out yeast and prevent their recurrence. Note that many probiotic formulas are not enteric coated and therefore do not survive stomach acid before making their way to the colon. SupremaDophilus is enteric coated to insure proper delivery to the colon. Dose: 1 cap before bed.
  • 35 Billion ProBiotic is “Supremadophilus on Steroids” – Sometimes, bigger really is better. Our new super-high-potency Supremadophilus has 35 billion viable probiotics compared to 5 billion in Supremadophilus. Recommended during and after antibiotic treatment and for those times when a more vigorous gut bacterial replacement is indicated. Dose: one capsule per day at bedtime or as directed.
  • Immune Support: Dose: 2 caps, 2 times per day with meals

TopicalTreatments

  • Tea Tree oil: Essential oil of tea tree can be used on skin and nails for fungal infections. Tea tree oil may be used in water as a douche for yeast vaginitis.

Tests

  • Candida stool test. A culture can be done by a specialized lab to determine which anti-yeast herbs or drugs will be more effective.
  • CANDIDA ANTIBODIES: Low-level overgrowth of Candida yeast species can cause a wide variety of health problems, but yeast may not be found in a stool specimen. This is because the yeast may have invaded elsewhere in the body, such as in the urinary tract, sinus passages, vagina or elsewhere.
    This test uses a drop of blood to evaluate for an immune system reaction to Candida. It assesses IgG, IgA, IgM immunoglobulins to yeast as well as Candida antigen. A positive finding indicates past or present Candida infection and may allow Candida yeast reactions to be found when stool and vaginal specimens are negative or inconclusive.
  • Gastro-intestinal health profile with parasitology is often more useful for diagnosis than the Candida stool test alone because it also examines normal and abnormal gut bacteria and parasites.