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.
CP and CPPS: What is It?
Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome is a condition that affects the urinary or genital organs. The disease is an inflammation of the prostate and irritation of the nerves around it characterized by chronic pain and discomfort intervals.
The disease is poorly understood and presently has no cure. It causes erectile dysfunction, urinary and bowel problems that undermine a man’s quality of life and often lead to depression.
Symptoms and Causes of Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome
Chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome is the most common form of prostatitis. Some symptoms include:
- Pelvic pain
- Sexual dysfunction, including painful ejaculations
- Difficulty or pain passing urine, voiding challenges, or burning sensation while urinating
- Irregular intervals of pain in the bladder, testicles, and penis and up to the anus
For a person to get a CPPS diagnosis, the pelvic pain must have persisted for at least six months. While the exact cause of CPPS is unknown, doctors think either a recurring infection or inflammation of the prostate due to physical trauma may be the cause of it. The initial infection or physical trauma to the pelvic goes undetected, causing nerve damage to the genitourinary (urinary and genital organs) area. With time, the damage spreads to the bladder, ligaments, and pelvic floor muscles. If treatment is not given immediately, it results in pain sensitivity in the pelvic area.
Some risk factors of CPPS include occasions for bacteria entering your body, such as:
- A catheter or an equivalent device that’s placed in the urethra to help drain urine.
- Urinary tract disorders such as urinary tract infections (UTI) or interstitial cystitis, among others.
A CPPS diagnosis entails using a scoring matrix to eliminate other diseases and checking against any prevalent comorbidities. The tool used to score the symptom is called the International Prostate Symptom Score.
Another tool called the UNPOINT is increasingly becoming popular in the diagnosis of CPPS. The tool classifies the symptoms according to:
After the scoring, the doctor or examiner will then undertake physical examinations to assess the abdomen and external genitalia. The examiner may also perform a digital rectal examination. The digital exam will show if the prostate is tender on palpation. It also enables the doctor to examine the pelvic floor muscles and their ability to contract or relax.
Lastly, the medical examiner may want to rule out other pain-causing pathogens. The examiner may carry out additional tests such as:
- Urine dipstick test or an early morning urine specimen
- Urethral swab and culture if urethritis becomes a concern
- Uroflowmetry to calculate the flow rate of your urine
- Retrograde urethrography and a bladder scan to determine the ease at which urine flows from the bladder
- Cystoscopy to examine the lining of the bladder and exclude other causes such as a stricture
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) to help rule out the possibility of pus in the prostate
- A blood test to measure prostate-specific antigen PSA levels to rule out prostate cancer
Afterward, the examiner will check for evidence of sexual abuse and will test for depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as comorbidity. He or she may also subject you to a self-assessment questionnaire to better understand your pain levels and mental health.
Treatment Options for CPPS
CPPS is treated using antibiotics, anti-inflammation medication, or alpha-blockers.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections that may be the underlying cause of CPPS. However, there is some controversy around using antibiotics because doctors prescribe them even when patients do not test positive for bacterial infection.
The doctors who prescribe antibiotics without a negative test believe bacteria may be present in the prostrate's glands or stroma without entering the urinary tract.
However, antibiotics can only be used for a limited time, usually four weeks, especially for newly diagnosed patients. The antibiotics used in this case are those with non-inflammation properties.
Aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen reduce the pain men experience when dealing with chronic prostatitis or chronic pelvic pain syndrome. However, NSAIDs are not effective by themselves and are used together with alpha-blockers.
Doctors use alpha-blockers to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) prescribed for CPPS because it relaxes the urinary tract muscles, allowing the free passing of urine. However, research shows that men newly diagnosed with CPPS are more likely to respond positively to alpha-blockers. The effectiveness of alpha-blockers diminishes after a six-month treatment course.