Me­gan Shep­pard

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

Do you have a ques­tion for Me­gan Shep­pard? Email it to feel­[email protected]­am­ or send a let­ter to: Feel­good, Ir­ish Ex­am­iner, Linn Dubh, As­sump­tion Road, Black­pool, Cork

I’ve de­vel­oped a cyst in my left eye ■ which I’m treat­ing with over-the­counter oint­ment. Is there a nat­u­ral treat­ment you could rec­om­mend? >> Most cysts in the eye area will even­tu­ally go away of their own ac­cord. Typ­i­cally cysts are only con­sid­ered to be an is­sue if they are in­fected, grow­ing larger, or a ma­lig­nant tu­mour. In­flam­ma­tion, dis­com­fort, and aes­thet­ics are usu­ally the main trou­ble with these cysts.

Your over-the-counter prepa­ra­tion will likely be help­ing to pre­vent in­fec­tion, re­duce swelling, and may also help to pre­vent the cyst from grow­ing larger. You should cer­tainly see a spe­cial­ist if the cyst is caus­ing any con­cern or alarm­ing symp­toms.

A warm com­press can of­ten pro­vide re­lief when it comes to cysts and styes in the eye­lids, and it can also help any ma­te­rial or fluid to drain out of the area. If your cyst is con­junc­ti­val (on the mem­brane cov­er­ing the white of the eye­ball), then lu­bri­cat­ing eye drops may pro­vide some re­lief.

Most cysts are a re­sult of on­go­ing in­flam­ma­tion in the body, so it will cer­tainly be ben­e­fi­cial if you elim­i­nate in­flam­ma­tory foods from your diet. This means choos­ing whole, fresh foods over pro­cessed, fried, and re­fined foods.

Foods which are par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial to eye health in­clude dark berries, leafy greens, eggs, nuts and seeds, and brightly coloured fruits and veg­eta­bles (car­rots, cap­sicum/pep­pers, sweet potato).

Ever since I’ve had my first child, I’ve suf­fered from cys­ti­tis. I try to drink as much wa­ter as pos­si­ble dur­ing the day and al­ways wear cot­ton un­der­wear but I still get an episode about four times a year. What would you rec­om­mend? >> Re­cur­rent cys­ti­tis is some­thing of a night­mare. The most com­mon phys­i­o­log­i­cal rea­son for re­peat cys­ti­tis is bac­te­ria en­ter­ing the blad­der via the ure­thra. Blad­der and uri­nary-tract in­fec­tions are far more com­mon in women than men sim­ply be­cause the ure­thra is sig­nif­i­cantly shorter in fe­males than males.

The bac­te­ria usu­ally re­spon­si­ble for cys­ti­tis is E. coli, re­spon­si­ble for 85% of all cases. The herbal rem­edy Uva ursi leaf (also known as bear­berry) is the best nat­u­ral treat­ment where re­cur­rent cys­ti­tis is due to bac­te­rial in­fec­tion. Uva ursi works by re­main­ing in­ert as it trav­els through the body un­til it is hy­drol­ysed in the blad­der, pro­duc­ing hy­dro­quinone which ef­fec­tively dis­in­fects the blad­der. Even bet­ter, this herb works just as well in pre­vent­ing an episode as it does to treat an ex­ist­ing bout of cys­ti­tis.

Cys­ti­tis can also be non-bac­te­rial in ori­gin. In this case, it is of­ten a re­ac­tion to per­fumed soaps, talcs, and body care prod­ucts; it can oc­cur if the ure­thra be­comes ir­ri­tated by sex­ual in­ter­course, or it can be as sim­ple as de­hy­dra­tion. You are al­ready mak­ing sure that you are get­ting plenty of wa­ter, and wear­ing nat­u­ral fi­bre un­der­wear, so that is a great start.

Do make sure that you are us­ing nat­u­ral, non-per­fumed body prod­ucts, avoid us­ing douches and talcs, al­ways empty your blad­der af­ter sex, and con­tinue to drink plenty of wa­ter through­out the day. Uva ursi is avail­able as a tea, tinc­ture, or cap­sules. I pre­fer the tea as it is quite pleas­ant tast­ing, and will con­trib­ute to your daily wa­ter in­take. If you choose a tinc­ture then take 20 drops (1ml), three times daily when you are deal­ing with an in­fec­tion; or 15 drops, twice daily to pre­vent in­fec­tion.

While I un­der­stand your de­sire to use nat­u­ral reme­dies over an­tibi­otics, do keep a close eye on your symp­toms for any signs of in­fec­tion such as blood in your urine, pain in your kid­ney re­gion, nau­sea, vom­it­ing, fever, or chills. If any of these symp­toms show up, please call your doc­tor or go to an af­ter-hours emer­gency room for treat­ment.

Many peo­ple rec­om­mend cran­berry juice when it comes to uri­nary tract in­fec­tions, how­ever, the trou­ble is that unsweet­ened cran­berry juice is very tart and so it is al­most al­ways sweet­ened with sugar, which bac­te­ria thrive on.

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