Ah yes, another diagnosis. My poor DS (dear son – I feel the need to explain what DS is after a reader thought I meant Down Syndrom). That scary week long fever that liked to spike to 104.4 was a urinary tract infection of staph. DS was on oral antibiotics for 10 days to clear the infection and then our pediatrician advised we keep him on the antibiotic until we got further testing done and saw the pediatric urologist. That meant that DS was on antibiotics for 20 days.
According to the ultrasound (kidneys looked normal) and voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) DS’ reflux is grade 1. They saw no evidence of damage to his kidneys so his is a mild case. We don’t know why he has reflux. There is no obvious defect in his anatomy, and his reflux was unique to the radiologist present for the VCUG, in that she had never before seen reflux happen only when voiding (that’s the medical word for peeing for all those who have never taken medical terminology). It’s probably due to DS’ past habit of holding his urine for 5 hours plus. What could I do for that? I encourage him to go on the potty nicely every time his sister goes…. Our pediatrician and the pediatric urologist told me that DS needed to change his habits and void more frequently.
This is really funny. Unless I threaten him with shoving a tube up his penis to take the pee out, how does one “make” a 3 year old pee? This is the little boy that has total control of his bladder but wants to wear diapers. I had to get this under control because the course of treatment for my little boy with grade 1 reflux but poor bowel and bladder habits is a year of low dose oral antibiotics and retesting after that year (pending no further bladder infections). My gut reaction was totally against oral antibiotics for any lengthy period of time. I can handle short term use of a medication but I know there are other methods of prevention that are safer. If his reflux were anything other than grade 1, I would rather him have surgery to correct any issue than to be on long term antibiotics. I do know how vital the kidneys are to us. DS’ kidneys are not under constant pressure and are showing no signs of damage or even infection. With all of these circumstances being as they are, I’m allowed a little room to choose a treatment that we are comfortable with. I am not comfortable with giving my son the below list of ingredients every day for a year just incase he may get another infection. Mind you, these meds will do nothing to aid his reflux, they will only probably prevent infection.
“Each teaspoonful (5 mL) of SEPTRA (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole) Suspension contains 40 mg trimethoprim and 200 mg sulfamethoxazole and the inactive ingredients alcohol 0.26%, methylparaben 0.1% and sodium benzoate 0.1% (added as preservatives), carboxymethylcellulose sodium, citric acid, FD&C Red No. 40 and Yellow No. 6, flavor, glycerin, microcrystalline cellulose, polysorbate 80, saccharin sodium, and sorbitol. Each teaspoonful (5 mL) of SEPTRA (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole) Grape Suspension contains 40 mg trimethoprim and 200 mg sulfamethoxazole and the inactive ingredients alcohol 0.26%, methylparaben 0.1%, and sodium benzoate 0.1% (added as preservatives), carboxymethylcellulose sodium, citric acid, FD&C Red No. 40 and Blue No. 1, flavor, glycerin, microcrystalline cellulose, polysorbate 80, saccharin sodium, and sorbitol. Both tablet and suspension forms are for oral administration.”
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you know that I try to avoid putting manufactured chemicals in our bodies. We go with the organic choice most often, avoid preservatives, dyes, BPA, etc. This med has plenty of preservatives, dyes, artificial flavorings, parabens, and sugars. This is why I’m looking for alternatives.
I haven’t talked much about my new found love of essential oils on MommaWords yet because I really want to get more experience under my belt before I share with you. I also wanted to share what our treatment plan looks like so I’m sharing a bit now and will share more with more experience. We have decided not to use the oral antibiotics. I talked to the pediatric urologist and he feels that this decision is perfectly reasonable since DS’ reflux is grade 1. I’m sure this decision would have been much more difficult if it were a 2 or 3. I am giving cranberry extract (with no additives) mixed in a tiny bit of yogurt orally once a day, probiotics once a day, along with a blend of Lemongrass and Melaluca essential oils (diluted in coconut oil) three times a day to DS’ lower abdomen and spine.
I’m sure that if you didn’t already think I was a totally crunchy hippy by now, that this has sent you over the edge. I thought aromatherapy sounded like a bunch of psycho-fluffy-babble until I learned that these oils have tons of healing properties. They have studied Lemongrass and lemon verbena and found that they reduced H. pylori (the bacteria that can cause GERD) at very low concentrations. They also found that H. pylori didn’t develop a resistance to lemongrass after 10 passages while it did develop resistance to clarithromycin (an antibiotic) under the same circumstances. (Ohno et al., 2003)
So, this whole essential oil business isn’t just fluff. I won’t make this post all about them but know that I have experience with their healing properties and as a nurse, I’ve seen them work better than prescribed medications in several instances. When a natural product comes along that can heal better than a prescription, without side effects, I’m all over it. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a need for prescriptions, just that you don’t always need them. I believe that this case of UTI prevention is one of those circumstances.
We are also bribing DS. This last weekend DS said he wanted to wear big boy underwear when I gave him the choice between them and his diaper. I jumped on this opportunity. He has been in underwear at our house ever since this. He still wears trainers when we go out and a diaper at night but he is doing so good! What’s the bribe? I told the twins that when they are both fully potty trained, we were going to get a fish tank and they could pick out the fish they wanted to go in their tank. Now, when I ask DS if he needs to go potty, and he says no, I reply “Are you sure? We have to work really hard at getting our fish tank! Do you want to come sit and try to go peepee?” If he gets distracted while on the potty I ask him about what kind of fish he is going to get. It’s been pretty awesome. I don’t like manipulating them but it feels like more of a goal and sweet prize. I needed something to get him to go more often for his health and we found it!
Here’s hoping that DS won’t have any more UTIs and when we go back for testing next year, he will have outgrown his vesicoureteral reflux!