A Soak Could Help You Find Some Relief Urinary tract infections are one of the most common outpatient consultations in the United States. They are one of the most common causes of fever in the young and elderly and can cause urinary incontinence in women. Yearly, around 250,000 cases of kidney infections or pyelonephritis occur among women in the United States. Costs for the diagnosis and management of urinary tract infections in the United States can reach up to a total of $2-3 billion dollars a year. It might seem like a simple infection, but it can be really costly when you think of it from that scale. It is an essential infection to treat because it can lead to serious complications such as sepsis and renal damage if left untreated. That is why a lot of other remedies are being tested to see if they can alleviate symptoms of urinary tract infections. This article will discuss how Epsom salt baths are good for UTIs, what benefits Epsom salt baths have, and how to prepare an Epsom salt bath. What are Urinary Tract Infections? What are the Symptoms? Urinary tract infections are infections of the parts that serve as the passageway of the urine out of our bodies; this includes the kidney, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Urine is a sterile substance that passes out of our bodies; therefore, the introduction of bacteria can lead to a bladder infection, inflammation, and pus formation that can lead to various symptoms. Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include pain and burning sensation while urinating, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, blood in the urine, and abdominal pain. What are Epsom Salts? What Do They Do? Epsom salt or magnesium sulfate is a white, crystalline water-soluble chemical compound that has been used for centuries to treat various illnesses. Epsom salts are commonly used to relieve sore muscles, stiff joints, itching, skin irritation, and sunburn and are used as relief for headaches or foot pain. Its uses in the human body are varied, and it has been found to provide relief for various ailments, which include urinary tract infections. How is an Epsom Salt Bath Good for UTIs? What Benefits do Epsom Salt Baths Have? Epsom salts provide several benefits for treating urinary tract infections. The primary benefit of using Epsom salt baths for bladder infections or urinary tract infections is to relieve pain. Epsom salt baths can help relieve pain and discomfort associated with UTIs. UTIs present with a burning sensation, pain while urinating, and cloudy urine. The warm, calming nature of Epsom salt baths has been shown to help relieve this. [youmaylike] If you soak in an Epsom salt bath, it can be helpful to reduce inflammation as well. Because they are rich in magnesium, they can help cleanse the urinary tract and aid in the healing process. The increased concentration of magnesium sulfate is believed to help change the environment in the urinary tract, which can lead to conditions unfavorable for bacteria to grow. It can help prevent bacteria from growing or multiplying when you soak in an Epsom salt bath and has a disinfectant property. Epsom salt baths can also improve the circulation of blood in the body. It can cause dilation of the blood vessels leading to improved blood flow, which also promotes the passage of cells that help in the body’s immunity. Epsom salt baths provide an overall relaxing and calming experience that can leave you feeling detoxified as well. Are Epsom Salt Baths the Answer to UTIs? Although Epsom salt baths may relieve urinary tract infection symptoms, there is not enough evidence to recommend using Epsom salts over established treatments like antibiotics. Epsom salt baths are currently home remedies that can be adjuncts to treatment but cannot be used to replace the treatment of urinary tract infections with antibiotic medications. In order to treat the infection, you should still take an antibiotic regimen prescribed by your physician. Are Epsom Salt Baths Risk-Free? Do Epsom Salt Baths Have Any Side Effects? Generally, Epsom salt baths are safe and don’t have a lot of serious complications. However, you still need to make sure that Epsom salt baths are safe for you. The most common side effects of Epsom salt baths include allergic reactions. So if you have an allergy to Epsom salt, it is better that you avoid this. It can also aggravate pain or discomfort if you have an open wound or breaks or scratches in the skin. If you have these, stay away from Epsom salt baths to avoid further complications. How Do You Prepare an Epsom Salt Bath? The general way to prepare an Epsom salt bath is to dissolve Epsom salt in warm water. Epsom salt is easy to find and can easily be bought in health and grocery stores. Recommendations include dissolving 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt in a gallon of warm water to create a water-soak bath. It is important not to put too much to avoid irritation and drying of the skin. Let the Epsom salt dissolve in the water, which can take about a few minutes. If you have a bathtub, you can prepare it to submerge and soak in it. However, this can be done as you shower as well. When you have a bladder infection or a urinary tract infection, you can do a water soak for 15-20 minutes to help relieve symptoms. Rinse after every water soak. This can be done daily or on an average of 2-3 times per week. Doing this soak gives ample time in providing relief until the antibiotics start doing their work and control further growth and multiplication of bacteria, completely eliminating symptoms such as pain. If you think you have a urinary tract infection, consult your physician for an evaluation. Further, you should seek medical attention if you are experiencing any serious side effects from using Epsom salt baths. There are no studies that show that using an Epsom salt bath for UTIs will prevent or cure a urinary tract infection, so it is still important to go to the doctor for proper management. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
Chemo Side Effects
Chemotherapy is a treatment used to kill rapidly growing cells in your body, and chemo side effects can occur. The cells in our body have a "self-destruct" mechanism, but sometimes they can lose this ability and continue to grow into what is known as a tumor. These tumors then compete with healthy cells for nutrients and oxygen, thereby destroying the body.
The downside of chemotherapy is that it does not distinguish between fast-growing cells of the body and tumor cells. This lack of distinction between these cells results in the common side effects of chemotherapy treatment. Some rapidly growing cells in the body include cells in the inner lining of the mouth, nails, hair, and even blood cells. These areas are often affected during the treatment process.
Why Would You Undergo Chemotherapy?
Aside from using chemotherapy as the only treatment option to kill cancer cells, it is also used:
- As an adjuvant treatment to kill cancer cells after surgery may have been done.
- To shrink the size of tumors to enable surgery or radiation to eliminate the rest. This is referred to as neoadjuvant treatment.
- It can also be used as a palliative measure to relieve you of the symptoms associated with cancer.
Chemotherapy treatment can be in the form of pills, creams, and injections, administered within the hospital or at home by an oncologist. It is advisable to have a family member drive you when you receive your first course because some people have reported feeling drowsy after receiving treatment.
During the treatment, you will be closely monitored through tests to know the effectiveness of the chemotherapy, and so the doctor can adjust it according to how you respond to it.
Common Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Due to the presence of rapidly dividing cells around the body and chemotherapy’s inability to separate them, the side effects affect multiple organs in the body. The most affected systems include the mouth, bone marrow, digestive tract, hair, and reproductive organs.
Chemotherapy reduces cells that provide immunity and protect you from infections. They also affect the red blood cells, which transport oxygen around your body, and the platelets, which stop you from bleeding out by forming a clot. All these manifest as:
- Body weakness
- Easy bruising
- Pale skin
- Getting sick more frequently
- Blood in stools and vomit
You may also experience side-effects in the mouth and digestive systems. For the mouth, these include reduced saliva production, painful sores in the mouth, on the lips, tongue, and gums, which make eating and swallowing difficult. The loss of healthy cells in your mouth will also cause altered taste sensations and a yellowish covering on the tongue, ultimately leading to weight loss. For the digestive systems, common side-effects include constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. All of these can lead to weight loss and weakness.
Chemotherapy also affects the reproductive system and causes alterations in the hormonal levels of both men and women. Infertility can occur in both men and women from chemotherapy treatment, which could be temporary or permanent. Women experience altered periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, an increased risk of vaginal infections, and early onset of menopause. Men experience reduced sperm count and libido.
Although individuals on chemotherapy treatment experience various symptoms, it does not hinder them from having healthy sex lives. Pregnancy is, however, discouraged in females because the toxicity of the medications could cause congenital disabilities.
The changes to your hair, nails, and skin often cause the most visible symptoms. These include hair loss or Alopecia from the head, eyebrows, lashes, hands, and legs. Thankfully, this effect is reversible after the last dose of chemotherapy. There could also be skin irritation, dryness, and rashes, as well as discoloration and brittleness of the nails.
Other side-effects of chemotherapy medications include swelling or tingling sensation in the limbs, reduced urination, generalized body pain, and weakness.
How To Manage the Side Effects
Preparation is essential, and this includes detailed instructions on the type of medications and dosages you’ll have. You’ll receive several tests on your liver, lung, heart, kidneys, and other organs to ensure that you are healthy enough to begin chemotherapy. Your dentist will also examine your teeth to ensure there are no active infections that could cause complications during the treatment.
Also, make sure to discuss possible side-effects ahead of time with your doctor so you can plan for them. Planning could include:
- Preserving your eggs or sperms in case of infertility.
- Having a head wrap or wig for hair loss.
- Avoiding stressful activities and exposure to germs
- Drinking lots of water to help relieve the digestion problems
- Maintaining good oral and general body hygiene to prevent infections
- Eating healthy meals including fruits and vegetables
- Your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea medication to prevent vomiting