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I once had bladder infections three or four times a year. For the last eighteen months, however, I've been using grapefruit seed extract every day. I haven't had an infection since. Is this just good luck?

AB via WholeHealthMD.com



Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is promoted as having antifungal and anti-yeast properties. I have used it for this purpose in my clinical practice with reasonable success. Various companies make GSE in capsule or liquid form. I suspect that your bladder symptoms are the result of irritations to the lining of the bladder or to the urethral tube from the bladder to the outside. This is generally caused by a direct fungal infection in these tissues or by a generalized allergy or hypersensitivity of the urine tract from a yeast or fungus irritation in your gut. On the other hand, recurrent bladder infections can also be caused by bacteria trapped in the urinary system, and this could lead to kidney damage. Men who have any bladder or urinary infections and women who get more than one a year should have a thorough evaluation from their doctor before attempting long-term herbal preventive treatments. In any event, you cannot argue much with your success, even if it might be just good luck. If your doctor has not been able to diagnose a treatable serious cause of your symptoms, taking GSE is a low-risk self-care measure. As a general principle, people should experiment intermittently with reducing the dose of herbal agents after the original problem is resolved. In your case, it would be worth a try to take GSE as a daily preventative only during one or two weeks each month instead of every day. By the way grapefruit seed extract is different chemically and in its clinical usage from grape seed extract, which is an antioxidant.
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