Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Best Vitamins for Men

Hydronephrosis (swelling and urine retention) in one kidney occurs in about one in 100 people. There’s also some evidence that about two percent of all prenatal ultrasound examinations reveal some degree of hydronephrosis, making it “one of the most commonly detected abnormalities in pregnancy.” (1)
Things that put you at risk for hydronephrosis include: having kidney stones, scarring in your urinary system due to past surgeries or infections, frequent UTIs, history of bladder or colon cancer or increased pressure in your pelvis due to pregnancy. Anatomical defects can also cause this condition in babies or unborn fetuses.

In most cases, with treatment hydronephrosis will resolve and the kidneys will resume their normal function. Sometimes the condition even clears up on its own, although not always. It’s important for severe hydronephrosis to always be treated promptly in order to reduce the risk for potential complications — like permanent kidney damage or kidney failure. Treatments for hydronephrosis typically include use of antibiotics or pain-relieving medications … or sometimes surgery.

What are some natural ways you can improve recovery from hydronephrosis and support kidney health? Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, dulling pain with a warm compress and preventing UTIs and kidney stones are all beneficial for managing hydronephrosis symptoms.
What Is Hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis refers to excess fluid that builds inside a kidney (swelling) due to a backup of urine. (2) The condition can affect one kidney or sometimes both; unilateral hydronephrosis describes one kidney being affected, while bilateral hydronephrosis describes both being affected. It’s most common for hydronephrosis to cause dysfunction of one kidney, which fortunately means that the other kidney can do the work for both. Sometimes reverse flow of urine also occurs, which is called reflux.

The kidneys are small, bean-shaped, fist-sized organs that sit in the middle of your back below your rib cage. The kidneys connect to the urinary tract, including the two ureters, bladder and urethra. Their role in the body includes draining waste, excess fluids and urine from the body.

Both adults and children, even infants and unborn fetuses, can develop hydronephrosis if urine is not able to leave the body properly. Hydronephrosis is more often seen in males than females, but both sexes can be affected.

How do you know if something is wrong with your kidneys? Hydronephrosis doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms, which means it can sometimes be ignored or overlooked until it becomes a more significant problem. Pain over the kidneys, tenderness in the back and abdomen and changes in urination are some signs there may be a problem with your kidneys.
Signs & Symptoms of Hydronephrosis

When they do occur, what are the symptoms of a blocked kidney? (3) The most common hydronephrosis symptoms include:

    Pain near the kidneys, which are located against the back muscles in the upper abdominal area. Pain may be felt on the side of the body and the back (this is sometimes called flank pain)
    Pain when urinating
    Urgent or frequent need to urinate
    Blood in the urine
    Abdominal or groin pain
    Nausea and vomiting
    Increased abdominal mass and swelling
    Urinary tract infection
    In infants, increased fussiness, crying and “failure to thrive”

Symptoms depend on whether hydronephrosis is mild, moderate or severe. Moderate or severe hydronephrosis that is not treated can sometimes become very serious and lead to complications including permanent kidney damage or even kidney failure (although failure is rare).

Can hydronephrosis cause high blood pressure? It doesn’t happen very frequently, but sometimes hydronephrosis can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure), especially in the elderly. Researchers believe this happens due to factors like vasoconstriction (constriction of blood vessels) and salt and water overload. (4)

Hydronephrosis is different than the condition called nephrosis (or nephrotic syndrome), which is a type of kidney disease characterized by edema and the loss of protein from the blood into the urine. In adults, the most common cause of nephrosis is diabetes, while other causes can include amyloidosis, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, preeclampsia, systemic lupus and HIV. (5) Both hydronephrosis and nephrosis can cause swelling of the kidneys, but nephrosis is different because it also involves too much protein being excreted into the urine, resulting in symptoms like malnutrition, muscle wasting and others. Nephrotic syndrome can also increase your risk of infections and blood clots.
Hydronephrosis Causes & Risk Factors

What causes hydronephrosis? Most often hydronephrosis occurs because there’s a blockage in the tubes that drain urine from the kidneys (called the ureters). The ureters normally take urine from the kidneys and bring them to the bladder so the urine can be removed from the body.

Sometimes there will be a partial blockage in the urinary tract where the kidneys and ureter meet (called the ureteropelvic junction), or there can be a blockage where the ureter meets the bladder (called the ureterovesical junction). Blockages trap urine in the kidney, causing it to build up and stretch. When the ureter becomes dilated, this is called hydroureter.

Vesicoureteral reflux happens when urine flows backward through the ureter from the bladder up into the kidney. Vesicoureteral reflux is graded according to the degree of reflux: in mild cases, urine backs up only to the ureter (grade I or 1) and in severe, kidney swelling (hydronephrosis) and twisting of the ureter occur (grade V or 5). (6)

What can cause inflammation of the kidneys and kidney dysfunction? Hydronephrosis is not a disease itself, but rather a side effect caused by other diseases, injuries, infections or conditions. Causes of urine backing up in the kidneys or ureters can include: (7)

    An anatomical defect, or congenital blockage (a defect that is present at birth)
    Scarring of the ureter caused by prior infections, surgeries or radiation treatments
    Kidney stones
    A tumor in the abdomen or pelvis, which can sometimes be cancerous. For example, hydronephrosis can occur in patients with bladder cancer. It may be caused by tumor at the ureteral orifice or other ureteral tumors that cause compression of the ureter (8). Cervical, colon or prostate cancer tumors can also lead to hydronephrosis
    Enlarged prostate
    Problems with nerves that lead to the bladder
    Blood clots
    Inflammation and infection of (or near) the kidneys
    In women, blockage from an enlarged uterus during pregnancy
    Uterocele, or the lower part of the ureter protruding into the bladder
    Not being circumcised. Researchers now hypothesize that boys with an early diagnosis of hydronephrosis who undergo newborn circumcision will have reduced rates of UTI. A recent study that appeared in the journal Pediatrics and was released by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that circumcision was associated with a reduced risk of UTI for those with isolated hydronephrosis, vesicoureteral reflux and ureteropelvic junction obstruction. (9)

Is hydronephrosis genetic? It can be. Normally hydronephrosis is not genetic and is not hereditary. However, it’s possible for hydronephrosis to occur due to a genetic defect that causes obstruction of the ureter. Hereditary hydronephrosis is considered an autosomal dominant trait that causes unilateral or bilateral pelvi-ureteric junction (PUJ) obstruction. (10) Certain genetic conditions can cause the kidneys to develop cysts, increasing the chance of a blockage occurring.
Diagnosis & Conventional Treatment for Hydronephrosis

How is hydronephrosis diagnosed? Your doctor or a urologist (who specializes in conditions that affect the urinary system) can make a diagnosis of hydronephrosis by performing a physical examination and a number of tests.

Tests might include: blood test, urine test to check for signs of infection or a blockage, ultrasound imaging exam to view the kidneys, voiding cystourethrogram/X-ray exam to observe the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra and potentially other tests such as computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or MAG3 scan to evaluate how the kidneys are functioning. An ultrasound can detect structural abnormalities that may lead to hydronephrosis in infants or unborn fetuses. This test can also be used to reveal swollen kidneys in an unborn baby and primary vesicoureteral reflux (the backward flow of urine).

Sometimes mild hydronephrosis will resolve on its own and not require any treatment. But if the condition has become more moderate or severe, then treatment is needed to get rid of any blockage and restore function of the affected kidney(s). Treatment for hydronephrosis will typically involve:

    Sometimes a “wait-and-see approach” is utilized, which is when nothing is done while the condition is monitored for a period of time. This is recommended for mild to moderate hydronephrosis, but not if the condition is severe.
    Sometimes antibiotics will also be given to help prevent spreading or worsening of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Antibiotics can keep the infection from moving to the kidneys. This is especially important in people who have only one kidney or who have immune system disorders, such as diabetes or HIV.
    Analgesics or over-the-counter medications may be used to relieve pain.
    Surgery may be recommended to eliminate a blockage, but usually this is only needed in severe cases. A procedure can also be performed for vesicoureteral reflux to repair the defect in the valve between the bladder and ureter, preventing urine from flowing the wrong direction. Surgery options include: open surgery that is performed under general anesthesia and involves an incision in the lower abdomen, robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery that uses a smaller incision to repair the valve between the ureter and the bladder or endoscopic surgery, which involves a tube (cystoscope) being inserted through the urethra and a bulking agent being injected to strengthen the valve’s ability to close. (11)
    If kidney failure occurs, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be needed.

5 Natural Ways to Help Manage Hydronephrosis Symptoms & Prevent Them
1. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water and fluids helps to dilute urine and flush out bacteria from the urinary system. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, such as by having a glass every hour or so while you’re awake. If your baby or child is affected by hydronephrosis, encourage them to drink more fluids by making them freshly squeezed juice, ice pops or chilled herbal tea; however, you and your child should avoid juices and soft drinks containing citrus and caffeine since these can irritate the bladder and make pain worse.
2. Reduce Pain Associated with Swelling

If you’re dealing with pain around your abdomen or back, try applying a warm compress, such as a heating pad or warm, damp towel. You can prepare a warm towel or blanket by placing one in the dryer for a few minutes. Gently apply the towel over the abdomen for about 15 minutes, several times daily, or whenever needed. Just make sure the towel/compress is not very hot so it doesn’t burn the skin.
3. Avoid Holding In, Constipation and Straining

Try to urinate about every two hours, or more as needed. Don’t hold in urine, which can make discomfort worse.

Constipation can also make pain and swelling in the abdomen worse, so take steps to prevent it by:

    Eating enough fiber, such as from high fiber foods like: a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds, soaked legumes/beans, avocado and coconut.
    Drinking enough fluids
    Staying active as much as possible, such as by doing gentle exercises like walking or stretching
    Getting enough sleep and managing stress
    Taking a magnesium supplement if needed before bed, in order to help loosen stool and relax muscles in the pelvis (to be safe, check with your doctor first before beginning any new supplement)
    Consuming chia and flax seeds soaked in water, which absorb fluid to form a gel-like consistency that helps lubricate stools
    Using aloe vera gel or pysillium husk

4. Help Prevent Kidney Stones

You’re at a greater risk of developing kidney stones if you take diuretics (which can lead to dehydration), have a history of chronic urinary tract infections, gout, hyperthyroidism and trouble digesting minerals normally or are very inactive.

You’re less likely to develop kidney stones if you eat a healthy diet that is alkalizing and low in oxalates. (12) Here are some of the top foods for supporting kidney health and helping prevent kidney stones:

    Fresh vegetables and fruit — Some research shows that people who follow a mostly plant-based diet, low in dairy products and meat, tend to have fewer kidney stones. Good choices include: bananas, leafy greens of all kinds (and fresh-squeezed veggie juice), sprouted legumes, sprouted grains, fish and small amounts of pasture-raised poultry.
    Vitamin E-rich foods — Berries, olive oil, almonds, avocado and butternut squash
    Alkaline foods — Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, green smoothies, sea veggies and fresh vegetables
    Magnesium and potassium-rich foods — Leafy green veggies, cruciferous veggies, melon, bananas, cocoa and avocado for example
    Sprouted grains (as opposed to refined grain products) — Sprouting grains reduces their antinutrient content, making their nutrients more digestible.

Make sure to reduce consumption of processed and refined foods. Limit or avoid: sugary foods and sweetened drinks, unsprouted grains or refined grains, foods naturally high in oxalic acid (these include: spinach, rhubarb, tomatoes, collards, eggplant, beets, celery, summer squash, grapefruit/grapefruit juice, sweet potatoes, peanuts, almonds, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and parsley), processed meats and cold cuts, too much vitamin C and zinc, caffeine and alcohol.

It’s also important to stay hydrated. Supplements that can help reduce kidney problems include magnesium, B vitamins, cranberry extract, aloe vera juice/gel and essential oils such as lemon, orange, lime or helichrysum essential oil. Additionally, if your doctor feels you’re at a high risk of complications due to kidney stones, he or she might recommend you take medications that can help prevent them.
5. Reduce Your Risk for Severe UTIs

Below are tips that may help prevent UTIs, or keep them from worsening and spreading:

    Practice safe sex. Limit the number of partners you have, use protection and urinate shortly after.
    Visit your doctor regularly for annual check ups, including pap smears or urine tests. Always report any UTI symptoms promptly, like pain or burning sensations.
    Take a probiotic supplement daily and eat probiotic-rich foods.
    Drink plenty of fluids.
    Urinate often, which helps to flush out bacteria that may have entered the urethra.
    Wipe properly, from front to back, especially after a bowel movement. This ensures that bacteria doesn’t get into the urethra.
    Wear loose-fitting clothing and underwear to keep the urethra dry and allow for air flow. Avoid wearing tight jeans or material like nylon that can trap air and bacteria.
    Drink fresh cranberry juice.
    Consume garlic regularly, or take garlic capsules.
    Use clove, myrrh and oregano essential oils to help improve UTI symptoms.

Hydronephrosis Precautions

If you or your child are being treated for hydronephrosis, including if you’re taking antibiotics or other medications, it’s important to be monitored regularly and to visit your doctor for physical exams and urine tests. This can help to detect infections in their early stages and prevent complications from occurring.

Your doctor will likely want to perform bladder and kidney exams periodically to determine if the condition is improving or if vesicoureteral reflux if worsening. Make sure you understand how often you or your child should be examined in order to prevent kidney damage and other serious problems from developing.
Key Points About Hydronephrosis

    Hydronephrosis refers to excess fluid that builds inside a kidney (swelling) due to a backup of urine. This usually affects only one kidney, but can sometimes affect both.
    Pain over the kidneys, tenderness in the back and abdomen, changes in urination, UTIs, fever and bloody urine are some signs that there may be a problem with your kidneys.
    Risk factors for hydronephrosis include: being male, family history/genetic factors, kidney stones, history of cancer that affects the urinary system, blood clots, enlarged prostate and others.
    Conventional treatments for hydronephrosis include “watching and waiting” (mild cases), antibiotics, pain-reducing medications and sometimes surgery.
    To help take care of your kidneys and manage hydronephrosis symptoms, natural remedies include: staying hydrated, eating a nutrient-dense diet, urinating frequently, preventing constipation and preventing UTIs and kidney stones by practicing safe sex, taking beneficial supplements and more.
In an ideal world, we would all eat very low-processed, organic and nutrient-dense diets filled with all sorts of foods that provide us with the vitamins we need. But this isn’t always possible or realistic for many men, leaving a lot of room for common nutrient deficiencies and health problems as a consequence. Many people assume vitamin or mineral deficiencies are mostly a third-world problem in the 21st century, but in fact research tells us that even in developed nations, the best vitamins for men aren’t consumed enough.

A high percentage of men today eating a typical “western diet” experience at least one type of vitamin or nutrient deficiency, mostly due to eating a poor diet that’s low in vitamin-rich foods like veggies and fruit. In 2009, a report by NBC News stated that “studies show 77 percent of men don’t take in enough magnesium, that many of us are deficient in vitamin D, and that the vitamin B12 in our diets may be undermined by a common heartburn medication. And we haven’t even mentioned our problems with potassium and iodine yet.” (1)

Make no mistake, men are just as susceptible as women are to experiencing low vitamin and mineral levels. Resolving deficiencies and consuming more nutrients help improve many aspects of a man’s overall health: better muscle strength and gains, a faster metabolism and fat loss, more energy, better sleep, improved sexual performance, and protection against health problems like a heat attack, colon or prostate cancer. That’s why it’s important to get as much of the best vitamins for men as possible in your diet, just as it’s crucial for the opposite sex to obtain the best vitamins for women, many of which overlap due to these damaging deficiencies.
The Best Vitamins for Men

Ideally, vitamin supplements wouldn’t be necessary. However, high-speed western lifestyles often prohibit a diet rich in every nutrient men need for optimal health.

When searching for a multivitamin, I highly recommend choosing a fermented option. Fermentation is a form of pre-digestion that makes nutrients easier to absorb, meaning you’ll get more nutritional bang in each dose than a non-fermented option. I personally take a multivitamin rich in superfoods like ashwagandha, saw palmetto, ginger, ginseng and others.

Based on statistics about which vitamins a high percentage of men might be missing, here are some of the most important and best vitamins for men to make sure you or your loved one gets enough of:

1. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in both adult men and women. It’s estimated that a whopping 45 percent to 75 percent of all adults in the U.S. experience at least some degree of vitamin D deficiency, especially those who live in cold climates and spend most of their time indoors. (2)

Men need vitamin D3 to produce enough testosterone, maintain strong bones, protect brain health, prevent mood disorders like depression, and help control cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Vitamin D3 is also capable of helping lower inflammation, which is why some studies have found that men deficient in D might be up to 80 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who aren’t deficient. (3)

Vitamin D3 can be obtained from eating certain foods like eggs, some dairy products and even certain mushrooms, but we get the majority of our vitamin D from directly being exposed to the sun, without wearing much or any sunscreen. By spending 15–20 minutes outside most days of the week without sunscreen on, you help vitamin D become synthesized when it comes into contact with your skin, plus you detox your body with the sun. (4) During the colder months of the year, or if you just aren’t able to regularly get outdoors, consider taking a supplement to cover your bases.

2. Vitamin B12

Many men and women tend to be low in vitamin B12, although for somewhat different reasons. Studies show that most men usually consume the daily B12 they need (from eating things like beef, poultry and eggs), but they often have trouble with proper absorption of vitamin B12 due to medication use, especially older men taking several prescriptions at once. Medications like acid-blocking drugs and those used to manage blood pressure or diabetes can interfere with how B12 is metabolized in the body — which is a problem considering vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to fatigue and central nervous system problems.

A report from Harvard Medical School stated that estimates show around 3 percent to 4 percent of all adults are severely low in B12, but about 20 percent have a borderline deficiency that’s still risky. (5) B12 can be obtained from eating most animal proteins, especially lamb, beef and salmon. If you avoid eating most or all animal products or are taking any medications regularly, it’s also a good idea to get your levels tested and consider taking an additional B12 supplement daily to cover your needs.

3. Antioxidant Vitamins (Vitamins A, C and E)

Eating a diet rich in high-antioxidant foods like fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens like spinach, kale or collard greens, is the best way to get protective antioxidants like vitamin C and A. These fat-soluble vitamins cannot be made by the body, so they must come from our diets. Their biggest benefit is fighting free radical damage (also called oxidative stress), which speeds up the aging process and puts men at a greater risk for problems like cancer, cognitive decline, vision loss and heart disease. (6)

As men get older, consuming antioxidant vitamins helps protect healthy cells, prevent cell mutations and tumor growth, and spare muscle wasting/sarcopenia, artery damage and tissue loss. Dry, irritated skin and poor vision (including night blindness or sensitivity to light) could be a sign that you’re low in vitamin A or vitamin E, while vitamin C deficiency might show up as a weakened immune system, frequently getting sick, swollen gums and nosebleeds.

Making sure to “eat a rainbow” worth of different colorful vitamin C foods, veggies and fruits — plus nuts and seeds like almonds and sunflower seeds for extra vitamin E benefits — goes a long way in lowering your risk for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, skin damage and diabetes.

4. Vitamin K

Vitamin K is important for building and maintaining strong bones, blood clotting, and preventing heart disease — currently the No. 1 cause of death among adult men living in the U.S. and many other western nations. (7) Why might a man be low in this vitamin? Vitamin K deficiency is more common in men who don’t regularly consume veggies or dairy products, those who have been taking antibiotics or medications for an extended period of time, and men suffering from intestinal problems, such as IBS or inflammatory bowel disease, which interfere with absorption.

Vitamin K1 is found in many green vegetables, while vitamin K2 is found in things like dairy products. The best way to prevent vitamin K deficiency is to eat plenty of different veggies, including green leafy vegetables, broccoli, collards and cabbage, plus some wild-caught fish and cage-free eggs too.

The best multivitamin for men will contain these vitamins. In addition to these important, best vitamins for men listed above, all men should make an effort to consume these essential minerals and fatty acids too:

5. Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential electrolyte mineral involved in over 300 different chemical processes. It plays a part in regulating calcium, potassium and sodium levels, helping prevent conditions like high blood pressure, muscle spasms, headaches and heart disease. Levels of magnesium in the modern food supply have been going down due to soil depletion, which is one reason people might be getting less. (8) When a man is under a lot of stress, works out often or has a form of a digestive disorder that blocks absorption, he’s more likely to experience low magnesium levels.

Signs of magnesium deficiency are far-reaching and common: muscle twitches, anxiety, trouble going to the bathroom, and difficulty getting good sleep, for example. Make sure to get enough by consuming magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy green veggies, cruciferous veggies, sea vegetables/algae, beans, nuts and seeds. It’s also a good idea to supplement with extra magnesium since studies show many older people are prone to experiencing reduced magnesium intestinal absorption, reduced magnesium bone stores and excess urinary loss of magnesium.

6. Omega-3 Fish Oils

Research has shown there are many benefits associated with eating more wild-caught fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, tuna and halibut. Omega-3 fish oil supplements can also be useful for tipping the scale in favor of a healthier ratio of fatty acids within your diet. Most people eating a “western diet” consume plenty omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory and found in many packaged foods and vegetables oils, but not nearly enough omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and found in certain fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.

Ideally, all men (and women too) would consume a ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s that’s between about 2:1 to 4:1 (so roughly double the amount of omega-6s than 3s). (9) However, some men might be consuming up to 10 times more omega-6s than this! The two need to balance each other out in order to keep inflammation levels down and protect the heart, brain and immune systems. Eating wild-caught fish several times per week, or taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement equal to about 1,000 milligrams daily, is the best way to ensure you get enough.

7. Potassium

Low potassium raises the risk for cardiovascular problems, especially high blood pressure, which affects about one in every three adult men. It’s also been linked with poor bone health, a sluggish metabolism, fatigue (since it helps your cells use glucose for energy), poor digestion and muscle spasms. Many adults in the U.S. and other developed nations suffer from low potassium. In fact, research done by the USDA shows that a significant percentage of adults don’t even get half of the recommended amount of potassium they need!

Potassium deficiency is most common in men who take medications or diuretics in order to treat high blood pressure, diabetes or coronary heart disease, plus in those taking laxatives often for constipation, men with a history of kidney or adrenal disorders, alcoholics, and men who exercise for more than one to two hours a day.

You can help meet your potassium needs by eating foods like beans, avocado, sweet potato, bananas, salmon and grass-fed beef. If you’re dehydrated, have a fever or have diarrhea, chances are you’re falling low and should make an effort to get more than usual.

More than 2 million new cases of the sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in 2016, according to a new report, 2016 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (1) This is the highest number of cases reported for these diseases, and the CDC is warning communities that unless changes are made, the numbers might continue rising.
CDC Findings about STDs

The report focuses on the three sexually transmitted diseases for which there are federally funded control programs: chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. The majority of the new reported cases, or nearly 1.6 million, were of chlamydia, an increase of 4.7 percent when compared with 2015. Gonorrhea accounted for 480,000 cases, an increase of 18.5 percent from 2015. Nearly 28,000 new cases of syphilis, the most dangerous of the three, were reported in 2016, an increase of 17.6 percent from 2015.

Because doctors are required by law to report only these diseases and HIV, when you factor in other diseases that are transmitted sexually, like herpes, the CDC estimates that the actual number of STD cases in the U.S. is 20 million. Half of those cases are among young people ages 15 to 24 years old.

The CDC attributes the uptick in STD rates to a decrease in STD public health program funding; in 2012, more than half of state and local STD programs had their budgets cut, leading to reductions in clinic hours and screening. The resurgence of syphilis, in particular, points to a deteriorating public health infrastructure and lack of access to health care.

Additionally, a lack of facts-based sexual education among young people and limited resources when they do receive education, means that young people are contracting the diseases, unaware of how to protect themselves, what symptoms to look for, and when and how to get tested.

While chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can all be treated with antibiotics, these STDs often go undetected. If left untreated, they can cause serious health problems including, in the case of syphilis, death.
Conventional and Natural Treatments for STDs

A doctor can test you for all three of these STDs. After treatment, another test should be done to ensure the infection is completely gone.

This is the most common STD. Unfortunately, chlamydia often doesn’t exhibit symptoms or, when it does, they’re not recognized as a problem. Symptoms for women can include painful urination, vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, painful intercourse or bleeding after sex. In men, they include painful urination, testicular swelling, cloudy discharge from the penis or redness and swelling at the opening of the urethra. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause serious, lasting damage to the reproductive system.

Conventional treatments for chlamydia include a round of antibiotics, usually for 5 to 10 days. You must complete the entire course of antibiotics to eliminate the disease. Chlamydia can also be passed to your partner during this time, so if you have been diagnosed with chlamydia, you’ll want to refrain from sexual intercourse, but also have your partner get tested.

Unfortunately, the antibiotics most commonly prescribed for chlamydia treatment ­— doxycycline, erythromycin, azithromycin and levofloxacin — can bring about unpleasant side effects. You might consider supplementing your conventional chlamydia treatment with some natural alternatives. Goldenseal is a natural antibiotic that can help fight infections. Echinacea can help fight a chlamydia infection, as can raw garlic. Oregano oil fights infections, while taking probiotics like kefir or goat’s milk will help strengthen your immune system against the infection.

If you opt to treat a chlamydia infection only with natural treatments, it will likely take longer than a course of antibiotics. Before engaging in sexual activity again, make sure to get tested to ensure you’ve beaten the infection.

In 2009, STD rates of gonorrhea were at an historic low, but those days are long gone. Complicating matters even more is that it’s becoming more difficult to treat a gonorrhea infection, as the infection has become resistant to many of the treatments, another victim of antibiotic resistance.

Today, the only treatment recommended by the CDC to treat gonorrhea is a dual therapy treatment of ceftriaxone and azithromycin. Symptoms for both men and women are similar and include painful urination and discharge. Gonorrhea can also spread to other parts of the body, including the eyes and throat.

Alternative and natural treatments for gonorrhea are especially critical, considering the limited resources now available to treat it. Berberine, goldseal, apple cider vinegar, echinacea, Epsom salts, l-arginine, probiotics, raw honey and black tea can all help with gonorrhea symptoms and fighting the infection.

Not so long ago, it was believed that the U.S. would eradicate syphilis entirely. Instead, STD rates of syphilis are on the rise once again, and physicians fear that as public health funds are further reduced, these rates will continue climbing. Worryingly, rates of syphilis among babies are rising as well. That means that mothers were left untreated during their pregnancy — even though only a simple test is required — and passed the disease along to their unborn child.

Like chlamydia and gonorrhea, syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, however, syphilis can lead to death, often years after the initial infection. Syphilis goes undetected because its symptoms — sores, fevers, rashes, sore throat, muscle aches and overall fatigue ­— are usually mistaken for something else.

Penicillin is the preferred treatment option for syphilis. Your dosage and course of antibiotics will depend on what stage of the STD you have. If you’re allergic to penicillin, you’ll likely be prescribed doxycycline or azithromycin.

Because syphilis is such a serious disease, natural treatments for it are meant to be used in conjunction with your prescribed conventional treatment to manage symptoms and side effects from your medication, not to replace it. I recommend eating probiotics, vitamin B12, collagen, mugwort and ginger. Exercise, Epsom salts baths, massage therapy and a DIY aloe and lavender rash cream can also help ease symptoms.

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