For people with Lyme disease, co-infections, and biofilms who have recurring bladder discomfort, frequent urination, and anxiety about going to the bathroom
by Greg Lee
I grew up with lots of guinea pigs. Once, a tiny baby piglet crawled under a big heavy sofa. I tried coaxing him out by calling his name, dangling a long piece of grass in front of him, and bringing one of the other piglets nearby. No matter what I did, he stayed under the sofa. What finally got him out was taking a plastic bag with lettuce inside and making a crinkling sound. All the other guinea pigs squeaked loudly thinking they were about to get fed. He ran out lightning quick to see what the fuss was about.
How is a guinea pig hiding under a sofa like a person with recurring discomfort and inflammation in their bladder?
Similar to a hiding guinea pig, inflammation and discomfort can be very difficult to pull out of the bladder
People with recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) can have symptoms of fatigue, chronic pubic pain, loss of appetite, malaise, pain during urination, copious amounts of urine, urinary incontinence, painful intercourse, urinary urgency, burning sensations in the lower pelvic area with stabbing-like pain, blood in the urine, depression, anxiety, and constipation1. Underlying reasons for recurring bladder discomfort and pain remain elusive. Urine cultures have detected E. Coli2 in some UTI patients. Chlamydia pneumoniae and Lyme disease are also suspected infections which can cause painful bladder symptoms people with interstitial cystitis3. Some patients have struggled for years with persistent bladder discomfort.
Carla’s changed her diet drastically to limit bladder discomfort
Carla avoided foods that triggered symptoms at all costs. When ever she went out to eat, she would avoid eating tomatoes, spicy foods, citrus, sweetened and processed foods. She never drank coffee, sodas, or alcohol. Her friends made fun of her for asking the waiter about the ingredients in her meal. They eventually stopped inviting her out to social events. She would spend hours and hours searching online for the latest research and treatments for reducing bladder discomfort. She read about the inflammatory compounds that get elevated in human and animal studies on bladder pain and interstitial cystitis.
In one study, bladder pain patients had elevated TGF-beta, decorin (a proteoglycan of chondroitin/dermatan sulfate), fibronectin and hyaluronic acid4. In animal interstitial cystitis experiments, IL-1α, IL-1β, and TNF-α were elevated5. Medications have been effective in a limited number of cases.
Only two medications are approved for treating chronic bladder pain
The first is oral pentosan polysulfate. The other treatment is to place dimethyl sulfoxide into the bladder through a catheter. These treatments have been effective in approximately 30 – 60% of patients. It can have unfavorable side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, gastric distress, and hair loss. Other treatments may include procedures, such as hydrodistention, and oral pharmaceutical drugs, such as antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, and immune modulators6. There are multiple factors behind why treatment has a low success rate.
Underlying bladder infections can be hidden which makes detection difficult
One theory for the difficulty in detecting underlying infections in recurring bladder pain is biofillms7. Biofilms are basically a slime that infections can hide under which reduces the likelihood of detection. Biofilms can harbor multiple infections8 which may lead to increased inflammation and pain in the bladder wall. Another reason is drug resistance. E. Coli that are antibiotic resistant9 have been found in urine culture tests. Biofilms can also increase drug resistance as high as one-thousand fold10. Chronic bladder pain patients have also tested positive for Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is found in patients with chronic bladder symptoms
Many patients with chronic bladder pain have also tested positive for Lyme disease and tick co-infections like Bartonella at a medical practice specializing in interstitial cystitis. Also, rare and unusual bacterial and fungal infections have been found by PCR testing in patients after flushing the bladder with an anti-biofilm medication called Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) via catheter. Broad spectrum antimicrobial remedies delivered via catheter have also been much more effective at relieving bladder discomfort when combined with EDTA11. In another study, catheter delivered hydrocortisone and heparin, along with oral bladder sedatives and systemic steroids provided significant relief12.
In addition to catheter delivered medications, what else can help you to relieve painful bladder discomfort?
Here are five strategies for relieving chronic bladder pain
There are five strategies that have helped patients to reduce or eliminate persistent bladder discomfort.
● Reduce toxicity and inflammation which aggravate the bladder lining
● Cut through biofilms and kill pathogens
● Heal damage to the bladder
● Improve diet to reduce / eliminate trigger foods
● Get treatments for reducing pain and discomfort
Reducing Bladder Pain Strategy #1: Reduce toxicity and inflammation
Infections in the bladder can trigger the production of inflammation which can lead to pain and discomfort. Neutralizing these inflammatory compounds can help to reduce the irritation in the bladder. There are several herbs and an essential oil that reduce the inflammatory compounds which can aggravate bladder discomfort. A highly effective delivery method is to micronized the herbs into small particles called liposomes. Liposomes are remedies that are wrapped in a layer of fat called a lipid in order to increase their penetration into the bladder. In addition to liposomes, cinnamon essential oil is diluted with a carrier oil at a very low concentration and applied topically to reduce inflammation.
Salvia root, Chinese name: Dan Shen, has been used for over 1900 years. Traditionally, salvia has been used to replenish the blood, move blood stagnation, and reduce inflammation. Modern research in China reports that this herb improves microcirculation of the blood, protects the liver against fibrosis and cirrhosis, and aids in the healing of bone fractures13. It has been found to inhibit IL-1α, TNF-α14, TGF-β115, and IL-1β in animal studies16.
Raw ginger, Chinese name: Sheng Jiang, is used in a wide variety of herbal formulas for treating toxicity, burns, nausea, coldness in the stomach17, lung phlegm18, pain19, alopecia20, rhematoid arthritis, and inflammation21. This herb inhibits IL-1α and TNF-α in a human study22. Gingerol, one of the main compounds in raw ginger, inhibits TGF-β in a lab study23.
Cassia leaf essential oil and the compound cinnamaldehyde inhibits TNF-α and IL-1β in a lab study24. In addition to herbs and supplements, Frequency Specific Microcurrent can help to neutralize toxins and inflammation.
Frequency Specific Microcurrent uses low level electrical currents to reduce pain (20), neutralize toxins (12), reduce biofilms (28) and lower inflammation (284, 82) which are paired with a second current for targeting the urinary system (48), ureter (60), urinary bladder (37) and the bladder sphincter (178)25. Carla noticed significant relief immediately after her microcurrent sessions. In addition to removing toxins and inflammation, cutting through biofilms to get to infections is next.
Reducing Bladder Pain Strategy #2: Disrupt biofilms and kill hidden bladder infections
Biofilms are like a resealable plastic bag. Germs can go in, out, and back into hiding again. If you dissolve the plastic, you can get to the pathogens. Essential oils have compounds called phenols which are solvents that cut through biofilms. Essential oils can be combined in a 1:1 ratio with a carrier oil. This mixture can be used topically to deliver oils into the biofilms and germs in the bladder and urinary tract. Fortunately, liposomal essential oils can penetrate deeper into biofilms, disrupt biofilm formation, and kill the underlying pathogens. Carla said that her liposomal essential oil remedy tasted like a combination of furniture polish and Christmas.
Cinnamon bark oil and its components, cinnamaldehyde and eugenol, inhibit E. Coli biofilm formation in a lab study26. Cinnamon oil is a broad spectrum anti-microbial which has been effective at inhibiting biofilms and the following pathogens from Acinetobacter baumannii27, Candida parapsilosis28, and Staphylococcus epidermidis29. Due to it’s strong nature, low dose cinnamon oils are safest for preventing tissues irritation.
Clary sage, juniper, lemon and marjoram essential oils inhibited biofilm formation around mixed cultures of E. Coli, and other pathogens30.
Tea tree and melissa essential oils inhibited E. Coli and Staph aureus biofilm formation in a lab study31. In multiple human, lab and animal studies, tea tree is effective at inhibiting pathogens and their biofilms including Candida32, Staphylococcus aureus33, Listeria monocytogenes34, and oral biofilms35.
Rose, geranium, lavender, and rosemary essential oils were effective at inhibiting E. coli communication signals for biofilm production called Quorum Sensing36.
Eugenol from clove essential oil and terpinen from tea tree essential oil were highly effective at inhibiting Proteus mirabilis biofilms in a catheter study37. Clove oil disrupts how Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Aeromonas hydrophila communicate to form biofilms in one lab study38. Clove also inhibited biofilm formation and these pathogens in lab studies on Streptococcus pneumoniae39, Enterococcus faecalis40, and Candida albicans41. Due to it’s strong nature, low dose clove oils are safest for preventing bladder irritation.
Reducing Bladder Pain Strategy #3: Heal damage to the bladder
Multiple pathogens in the bladder can trigger the release of the inflammatory compounds. These compounds can irritate and damage the lining of the bladder. Herbs and their constituent compounds have been helpful for preventing or reducing bladder irritation. These herbs are processed into a liposomal form to increase their penetration in the the bladder.
Berberine is a compound found in coptis rhizome, Chinese name: Huang Lian and phellodendron, Chinese name: Huang Bai. In a rat study, berberine completely prevented cyclophosphamide induced bladder edema and hemorrhage. It also dramatically increased nitric oxide (NO) metabolites in urine and plasma42. Nitric oxide is an antimicrobial compound produced by the immune system to kill infections.
Astragalus extract, Chinese name: Huang Qi protected mice from urinary bladder carcinoma and lowered interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)43.
Maitake mushroom, Chinese name: Zhu Ling reduced recurrence of bladder cancer in a rat and human study. Fifteen out of twenty two patients had no recurrence of bladder cancer44.
Magnolia bark, Chinese name: Hou Po inhibited bladder cancer cells and inflammatory compounds in a lab study45.
Reducing Bladder Pain Strategy #4: Improve diet to reduce bladder symptoms
Reduce or avoid foods that increase bladder discomfort: items containing caffeine, citrus juices, tomato products, items containing vinegar, hot peppers, alcohol46, citrus fruits, tomatoes, vitamin C, artificial sweeteners, coffee, tea, carbonated and alcoholic beverages, and spicy foods. Increase supplements that improve symptoms: calcium glycerophosphate and sodium bicarbonate47.
A combination of parsley and garlic, L-arginine, probiotics, and cranberry tablets reduced bladder pain and discomfort in patients diagnosed with drug resistant E. Coli in their urine test48.
Reducing Bladder Pain Strategy #5: Get treatments to reduce inflammation and discomfort
Visceral manipulation is an osteopathic manual manipulation technique which can help release inflammation and reduce pain in tissues and organs49. When Carla received visceral treatment, she could feel heat and tenderness being released quickly out of her bladder area. Her discomfort would reduce from an 8 to a 3 out of 10.
Acupuncture uses points that help to release heat and discomfort out of the bladder50. A combination of topical essential oils, liposomal herbs and remedies, and treatments can help to significantly reduce the bladder inflammation, discomfort, and symptoms of infection.
Remedies, treatments, and a healthy diet can help to reduce symptoms of bladder discomfort caused by infections hidden under biofilms
Just like finding the right lure to coax a baby guinea pig out of its hiding place, a combination of liposomal herbs, essential oils, supplements, Frequency Specific Microcurrent, acupuncture, visceral manipulation and dietary modifications helped Carla to pull the pain and discomfort out of her bladder. Since some of these remedies and treatments require specialized training, work with a Lyme literate Chinese medicine practitioner to develop a proper, safe, and effective strategy for your condition.
>> Next step: Click here to watch to my presentation “Five Game-Changing Lyme Remedies” on the Best of Chronic Lyme Summit (free for first-time viewers).
P.S. Do you have experiences where treatments or remedies improved your bladder pain, urgency, and anxiety? Tell us about it.
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