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.
Do I Have Lupus?
Your body has an immune system that defends it from germs and foreign bodies. Sometimes, your body’s defense system mistakes some of the cells in your body for germs and begins to fight them. This is called an autoimmune disease, and lupus is just one example.
Lupus is a long-term autoimmune condition with alternating periods of mild to severe symptoms that cause pain and inflammation within your body. The most commonly affected areas include the skin, organs such as the lungs, kidneys, heart, and joints.
The Lupus Foundation stated that about 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with the condition. However, the figure might be higher if you consider cases that have not been reported. Lupus affects all age groups but has been found to have a higher incidence among women between the ages of 15 to 44, individuals with a family history of other autoimmune conditions or lupus, and some ethnic groups, including Hispanic, Native American, African American, and Asian American.
Types of Lupus
This article focuses on systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), as it is the most common type. When someone is talking about lupus, they are usually referring to SLE. However, there are four different types:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) — the most common type, affecting 70% of people with lupus.
- Cutaneous — limited to the skin, causing rashes or sores (lesions). Approximately two-thirds of people with lupus will develop a form of cutaneous lupus.
- Drug-induced — a lupus-like disease caused by certain prescription medications. This type is more common in men.
- Neonatal — not true lupus, but a rare condition that affects the fetus and infant of a mother with lupus.
Symptoms of Lupus
The symptoms associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) include:
- Body weakness
- Loss of hair
- Pain and swelling in the joints
- A characteristic rash that spreads across the nose and cheeks commonly referred to as a “butterfly rash”
- Delayed wound healing
- Raynaud’s phenomenon in which the fingers turn blue or white when exposed to cold
The symptoms may develop slowly, and no two cases are exactly alike. They may be temporary or permanent, and they can range from mild to severe. The signs and symptoms are similar to those of other systemic conditions, so careful assessment is needed to diagnose properly.
The cause of this condition is still unknown, but some factors have been linked to the condition.
Lupus has been noted to occur more in females than males with worsened symptoms during menstruation and pregnancy. These findings have prompted clinicians to link estrogen with the condition.
Although no gene is associated with the condition so far, it has been observed that individuals with this condition tend to have members of their family who also have other autoimmune issues.
These can be from physical or emotional trauma, infections, medications, and radiation.
How to Manage Lupus
Management begins with an appropriate diagnosis. This usually includes your doctor taking a medical history to determine when the symptoms started, their frequency, duration, and severity.
A thorough physical examination is then conducted to identify the signs of the condition, such as:
- Thinning or loss of hair
- Tenderness and joint swelling
- Butterfly or malar rash
- Oral or nasal ulcers
- Pain or difficulty breathing which may indicate lung involvement
- Irregularities in heartbeat or function which could indicate heart involvement
Several screening tests may be done, including a chest x-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), urinalysis, blood tests, and tests for other specific areas that could be affected, such as the abdomen.
As of today, there is still no cure for lupus. The condition can only be managed long-term through:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and antimalarial medications to relieve joint pain and tenderness
- Corticosteroids to stabilize the immune system
- Steroid-based creams for butterfly rashes
- In severe cases, medications that specifically target the immune system are often prescribed
You may also get referred to specialists who will help manage affected parts of your body, such as a cardiologist or rheumatologist. You should also ensure that you modify your lifestyle to reduce stress and environmental triggers and drink lots of water.
Lupus can cause severe pregnancy complications, sometimes resulting in miscarriage, so it is essential to involve your doctor throughout your pregnancy and delivery process. Since the condition affects the immune system in various parts of the body, long-term effects can manifest in several ways, such as:
- Blood clots could get dislodged and block narrow blood vessels leading to loss of function of the affected organ
- Inflamed blood vessels, lungs, and kidneys
- Lung or Kidney failure
- Memory loss
- Alopecia or baldness
- Heart attack
What is the Prognosis?
The prognosis for lupus varies because it affects everyone differently. Nonetheless, it is crucial that you begin managing the condition early. Do not hesitate to let your health care provider know about any new symptoms, pregnancy, or issues that may be bothering you.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a long-term condition, and managing it can sometimes negatively affect mental health. Make sure to seek counseling and support when necessary, and try not to work under stressful conditions or in environments that can be detrimental to your health and well-being.