Once again, I have to shake my head as I take in the many doctor's appointments we continue to have (one or two or more per week since September). I have to admit, we are not doing such a great job of selling people on the whole "go organic, go natural & don't immunize your kids!" Yeah, that way they can deal with wonderful health issues just like ours!!
Well, I don't think it would be fair to say that it is due to our lifestyle that our kids are facing health issues but it most certainly causes us to stop and think, "what the heck are we doing wrong??"
In Anika's case, it is the reflux of urine from her bladder back to her right kidney. This causes many bladder infections and possible kidney infections. Bladder infections... we can deal with, but kidney infections cause permanent damage so even though our heart's desire is to treat her naturally and as free of antibiotics as possible, we are talking about screwing around with a significant organ and all decisions need to be weighed very heavily.
I always like to seek other people's opinions about these things, chew through each of them, discuss further with Duane and sum up to our own conclusion. And boy can the opinions vary!! Especially when your sources of reference are from one end of the spectrum (go-hard anti-conventional medicine activists to pharmacy-tech assistants!). But I would much prefer to hear the full gamut of opinions than reside stubbornly in one spot.
We also met with a urologist who said we either put her on antibiotics for the next year at which point they will perform another VCUG to see if the backflow has corrected itself or worsened OR choose one of two surgeries for her. One of which is to inject a sticky substance at the base of the ureter to prevent backflow... at which point I asked "but if it prevents backflow, does it affect drainage from the kidney?" The answer was "yes, sometimes it can cause issues with kidney drainage." ARGH!
Bottom line, summing up most of the opinions, one aspect remains consistent... this is her kidney we're talking about and chronic bladder infections absolutely need to be addressed! The "how" aspect is the variance...
Anika's urine is very alkaline meaning it lacks the level of acidity required to kill off bacteria such as style="font-size: normal;">e-coli (which has been the main culprit bacterium for her chronic bladder infections). It's the kidneys that play a key role in maintaining normal acid-base balance primarily through the re-absorption of sodium and the tubular secretion of hydrogen and ammonium ions (waste product of the metabolism). Most of the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections make the urine more alkaline because the bacteria split urea into ammonia and other alkaline waste products. Sadly, when I asked the urologist what the link is between Anika's alkaline urine (discovered by the naturopath) and her chronic bladder infections, both urologists present said "there is no connection.
I was not satisfied with that answer.
So I studied, researched, etc... and stumbled upon a natural sugar called D-Mannose. It is a simple sugar found especially in the bladder. Safe for children, proven just as effective as antibiotic (and in some cases, better) and even safe for pregnant, nursing moms and diabetics! I read up on several sites including a pharmacist's blog post which I was rather impressed with. I was very intrigued by the mechanism of action (click on the link to read up... pretty cool, really) and ordered a bottle for Anika.
We also learned about the benefits of cranberries and ordered ActiFruit Cranberry Chews by Enzymatic Therapy which Anika LOVES! (They really are quite tasty... what? I had to double check, you know!). Cranberries lower urine ph (make it more acidic), has anti-microbial properties AND inhibits adherence of p-fimbriated (mannose-resistant) E. coli to the uroepithelium (the bladder walls). You can even read up on a neat pilot study on it.
All of this to say that we are making this last "natural" attempt before turning to the long-term antibiotics. If this does not work, we simply are not going to take any more chances. It has now been nearly a month and Anika has had NO BLADDER INFECTIONS!! She had a fever last week and we feared this was another UTI but her urine sample came back completely clear!
We are ever hopeful that this will be effective but ready to fill those prescriptions should Anika be faced with anymore UTI's.
For all of you out there, be healthy, be loved, be cared for. May your own bodies be healed by the choices you make, nourished by the foods you take in, loved by the respect you have for it! Regardless of random hair growth, effects of gravity, and more "beauty marks" than a connect-the-dots compilation booklet... it is an incredible ecosystem and it sustains your life! Be good to yourselves and may this find you giving thanks for the health you do know. Much love (as always) and God bless, everyone!