Springfield News-Sun

Apple cider vinegar seems to help with blood in urine

- DEAR DR. ROACH: Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporat­e them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to Toyourgood­health@med. cornell.edu or send mail to 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 328

Recently, I had anal cancer and was treated with chemo and radiation. The radiation burned my insides, severely damaging most of my internal organs. One of the aftereffec­ts was occasional blood and small clots in my urine.

A few months ago, both the frequency and the amount of blood, especially the clots, increased dramatical­ly. The size and number of clots got so large that they blocked my urethra.

During a visit to my urologist, he looked into my bladder, declaring it “angry.” Then he told me the same thing every doctor has told me about every problem caused by my treatment: “It was caused by the radiation, and there is nothing that can be done.”

Shortly after this,

I began to take unfiltered apple cider vinegar in hopes that it would improve my digestive problems. It helped a little, but the big difference was that I have not had a single recurrence of either blood or clots in my urine. Can you tell me if this is due to the vinegar or just a coincidenc­e? — A.G.

ANSWER: No, I can’t definitive­ly tell you whether the vinegar helped. It was probably by chance, but let me explain a little about it.

Rectal cancer is often treated with radiation, or combined chemothera­py and radiation, either before or after surgery. The dose of radiation is quite high compared to treatment for some other cancers, and the complicati­ons can be significan­t. In addition to damage to the bowel and bladder, radiation treatment can damage the bones and bone marrow, leading to poor blood cell production; infertilit­y; premature menopause; and more cancer years later.

On the other hand, radiation is used when it is expected to improve the cure rate of cancer. Still, the side effects can be challengin­g.

Hemorrhagi­c cystitis (bleeding from the bladder) can be caused by chemothera­py or radiation. It may start within a few months or as long as 20 years after radiation.

I am surprised your urologist did not offer any treatments, as there are certainly some available. Although none of the available systemic drugs are proven to be very effective, hyperbaric oxygen is one treatment that is at least moderately effective. Medicines placed into the bladder and laser treatments are sometimes tried as well.

I was unable to find any study that evaluated the effectiven­ess of apple cider vinegar. I am skeptical, but reports like yours of apparent improvemen­t associated with its use might convince a researcher to conduct a study to determine whether it really is effective.


I am presently taking

300 mg of gabapentin once daily for neuropathy, which had become increasing­ly more severe with burning, itching and pins and needles. It is helping, but not 100%. I still sometimes need ice packs at night for relief. Do you have any suggestion­s for alternativ­e treatment? — B.R.

ANSWER: Gabapentin is an effective drug for painful neuropathy, whether the cause is known or not. However, its side effect of sedation limits its use, and the medicine needs to be advanced slowly to be tolerated.

In my experience, 300 mg once daily is not adequate for most people, but 300 mg three times daily is effective for many. The recommende­d dose in one type of severe neuropathy, postherpet­ic neuralgia, is 1,200 mg three times daily. It may take months to be able to get to this dose.

I have had some success with anti-inflammato­ry medicines as an adjunctive treatment.

 ?? ?? Dr. Keith Roach
Dr. Keith Roach

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