Many people across the U.S. are suffering from urologic conditions and diseases. The term “urologic diseases” describes a wide range of conditions, all related to the purifying and carrying of urine out of the body.  About 33 million men, women, and children are affected by these conditions and struggle trying to cope with them (1). Although dietary supplements should never be used to treat any such condition, there are a variety of supplements that susceptible individuals can take to help control bladder flare ups and promote their urological health long term.

Most Common Urologic DiseasesWhile no retailer should attempt to diagnose a customer, it is important to place urologic health into context and understand the many potential conditions. Customers should always seek medical attention if experiencing symptoms and consult with a physician before starting a supplement regimen.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).Urinary tract infections are caused by microbes such as bacteria overcoming the body's defenses in the urinary tract. They can affect the kidneys, bladder and the tubes that run between them (2). They are one of the most common types of infections and account for around 8.1 million visits to doctors each year (2).  Roughly 40% of females and 12% of males will have a UTI that causes noticeable symptoms at some point in their lives (3). Symptoms include: pain or a burning sensation when a person urinates, pain in the lower belly, urinating frequently and in small amounts, cloudy urine, fever or chills, and nausea and vomiting (4). If a UTI goes untreated, reoccurring infections can happen and can spread and cause permanent damage to the kidney, and SEPSIS; the result of a massive immune response to bacterial infection that gets into the blood. Severe neglect often leads to organ failure or injury (5).

Interstitial cystitis (IC).According to the American Urology Association, interstitial cystitis is a bladder pain syndrome that causes a pain and pressure in the bladder and pelvic area (6). It generally causes one to feel the urge to pee and is a condition that is commonly mistaken for a UTI, but there is actually no infection. IC is often referred to as the “nervous bladder syndrome.” Around 3 to 8 million women in the United States may have IC. That is about 3 to 6% of all women in the US. For men, roughly 1 to 4 million have IC as well, however, this number is likely lower than the true rate. This is because IC in men may often be mistaken for another disorder, such as chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (7). Symptoms for IC include feeling the need to urinate right away, feeling the need to urinate often, pressure on the pelvis, and pain while having intercourse (7).

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is an enlarged prostate, which causes men to have difficulty urinating. The prostate gland is underneath the bladder. Although the gland starts out small and is about the size of a walnut, it tends to enlarge as a man gets older. When it gets bigger, it can block the flow of urine through the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the penis. This then causes problems with urination. If a person does not get treatment for it, BPH can cause bladder, urinary tract, or kidney problems (8). BPH symptoms are familiar to a large population of men during middle age and beyond, and when untreated they tend to worsen with age. Approximately half of men in their 50s and as many as 90% of men in their 70s and 80s have enlarged prostates (9). There are over 14 million Americans suffering from the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Taming the MicrobiomeCranberry extract is a widely known remedy for reducing the risk of urinary tract infections and urinary problems in people. Sherry Torkis, a pharmacist and author of over a dozen books on natural health and healing, says “Unlike antibiotics, which kill bacteria, cranberry works by changing the bacterial structure and preventing adhesion to tissues so it works effectively for prevention without the risk of developing antibiotic resistance.” E. coli is one of the main causes of UTI’s in people. An active ingredient called A-type proanthocyanidins is known to be the ingredient in cranberries that helps prevent the bond of bacteria, mostly E. coli, to the bladder wall.

Lactobacilliare known as the “good bacteria.” Supplementing one’s microbiome withLactobacillican be an effective tool to help promote a healthy vaginal flora (10). Without an optimal level of vaginalLactobacilli, corrupt bacteria likeE.colican grow and live in the body, which will then lead to infections. The probiotic strainsLactobacillus RhamnosusGR-1 andLactobacillus ReuteriRC-14, for example, are known contributors to helping women’s health by reducing the risks of infections from bacteria like yeast to the vagina as well as the risk of bladder infections overall. They adhere to bladder, vaginal and intestinal cells, displacing and preventing the linkage of intestinal and urogenital pathogens (11).

Cranberry extracts and probiotics can also work in concert with one another. One extract in particular, standardized to 7% proanthocyadins, tested in an in vitro study alongside a probiotic formulation ofLactobacillusandBifidobacterium, was shown to interfere with the invasion ofE.coliby interacting with its surface, essentially wrapping around it. This prevents the bacteria from travelling to the urethra where infections can occur and allows beneficial bacteria to repopulate the microbiomes (12).

Herbal OptionsThree key herbal ingredients that can be beneficial to those with urological conditions, particularly BPH, are saw palmetto, pygeum bark, and stinging nettle (13). Saw palmetto is small palm tree native to the Southeastern United States whose fruit is extracted for use in dietary supplements. Saw palmetto is believed to be particularly effective for those with BPH because it can shrink the inner lining that puts pressure on the tubes that carry the urine. Many researchers believe that the herb helps reduce the amount of enzymes that promote the development of prostate cells, and that saw palmetto seems to have an anti- inflammatory effect on the prostate, thus helping control frequent urination and controlling random spurts of urination.

A study conducted in 2001 took a group of men ages 45 and older that had an International Prostate Symptom Score of 8 or greater and placed them in a one month long placebo run-in period. After the one month was over, 85 men were taken and chosen to receive saw palmetto or placebo for six months. Patients were evaluated using the International Prostate Symptom Score, a sexual function questionnaire, and by measurement of the urinary flow rate (14). Researchers found that the average symptom score shrank from 16.7 to 12.3 in the saw palmetto group compared with 15.8 to 13.6 in the placebo group and that the overall “quality-of-life score” improved to a greater degree in the saw palmetto group. “Saw palmetto led to a statistically significant improvement in urinary symptoms in men with lower urinary tract symptoms compared with placebo,” the authors stated (14).

Pygeum bark is another important extract that has been extensively used in Europe. Studies have been mixed regarding whether or not  pygeum bark actually helps ease symptoms of BPH, but a study that was reported in the Complementary Therapies in Medicine says that when pygeum bark is mixed with other types of remedies, that it helped reduce the urge to urinate frequently and lowered the number of trips to the bathroom during the day (10).

Stinging nettle is a nettle leaf flowering plant that is used to ease common problems in adults such as arthritis, eczema and joint pain. One of its main uses today is the treatment of urinary problems. It is commonly used for the treatment of the enlarged prostate. Although there are not many studies done that prove that the stinging nettle helps improve symptoms of BPH, researchers have found that when a person combines the herb with other natural remedies, specifically saw palmetto, that it may be helpful in relieving symptoms such as post urination dripping and the continual urge to urinate (14).WF

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  8. Cirino, Erica. "Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)." Healthline. Healthline Media, 06 June 2016. Web.
  9. "Conditions Treated." UCLA Health. UCLA Urology. Web. Available: <>
  10. Coulson, Samantha, Amanda Rao, Shoshannah L. Beck, Elizabeth Steels, Helen Gramotev, and Luis Vitetta. "A phase II randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the efficacy and safety of ProstateEZE Max: A herbal medicine preparation for the management of symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy." Complementary Therapies in Medicine3 (2013): 172-79. Web.
  11. Read, Dr. Gregor. "Probiotics for Women's Health: The Story of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus Reuteri RC-14 ." Jarrow FORMULAS. Web.
  13. Weathers, James. "Top Enlarged Prostate Remedies of 2016." Prostate Remedy. 24 May 2017. Web. Available: <>.
  14. Gerber, Glenn S., Dimitri Kuznetsov, Bernard C. Johnson, and Jay D. Burstein. "Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of saw palmetto in men with lower urinary tract symptoms." Gold Journal6 (2001): 960-63. Web.
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