Nutrition and Healing
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  • Banish bladder infections

    Q: I followed your tip about using D-mannose for a bladder infection, but it didn’t work. Is there anything else I can try?

    Dr. Wright: D-mannose, the natural, good-tasting simple sugar, whisks away the E. coli bacteria that cause approximately 90 percent of all bladder infections. For the 10 percent for whom it doesn’t work, there is hope. This treatment is also a completely natural one that was actually first described in the 1920s by physicians at the Mayo Clinic.

    Actually, this treatment will eliminate 100 percent of all bladder infections, but it doesn’t taste nearly as good as D-mannose, and in many cases requires a prescription. In addition, although it happens very rarely, it can cause an allergic reaction. So I generally recommend trying D-mannose first and using this remedy as back up if that doesn’t work–and of course, you should always consult with a physician skilled in natural medicine.

    So what is it? Long-time readers of Nutrition & Healing may have guessed already: It’s saturated solution of potassium iodide (SSKI), the natural remedy so versatile that Holly and I never travel without it (although the Transportation Security Agency is certainly making it more difficult to do so).

    We were at a convention in a mountainous region of Wyoming, miles from medical facilities, when a friend who was also attending started looking distressed and asked Holly (who’s an R.N.) if there was anything she could do about a bladder infection she felt coming on. She’d already asked the hotel about cranberry juice, but they didn’t have any in stock. She and her husband were hoping to avoid the long drive to the nearest small hospital in the middle of the night.

    Holly went back to our room and got one of our two small travel-size bottles of SSKI (we always bring two, just for circumstances like this: We don’t want to be without at least one for us!). After making sure she had no iodine allergy, she advised our friend to take 15 drops of SSKI in lots of water (as effective as it is, even well diluted, SSKI doesn’t taste at all good) every three to four hours while she was awake. There’s no need to get up from sleeping to take it, since the iodide stays in the bladder and keeps on killing germs until the bladder is emptied. You can and should take more then. In fact, as Holly advised our friend, you should keep taking it until all your symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours.

    The next day, our friend was looking considerably better, and two days later she told Holly she was cured.

    As I mentioned earlier, physicians from the Mayo Clinic wrote about this therapy decades ago. And their original recommendation is the same one I still use today: 15 drops every three to four hours. It worked then, and it works today. But remember: don’t take iodine or iodide long-term without advice from a physician skilled and knowledgeable in natural medicine, since too much iodine or iodide can suppress the function of the thyroid gland.

    SSKI is the major ingredient in Tri-Quench (Scientific Botanicals), available from the Tahoma Clinic Dispensary, some natural food stores, and compounding pharmacies. It’s also available by prescription through compounding pharmacies as just SSKI.

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