UTI is a very common form of infection, affecting mostly women of all ages, one in five women will experience a UTI infection at one point. 8.3 million visits a year, to doctors in the US.
20% of women having a UTI will have a recurrence, (a second infection), of which 30% will have a third recurrence, of which 80% will have more recurrences.
Common symptoms are burning, pain, itchiness, discomfort, unfinished feeling after urination, frequent urination, night urination, possible cloudy and/ or blood in the urine, some people will experience fever in more advanced stages.
If the infection have spread to the Kidneys, this condition will be called Pyelonephritis, and then we could expect to see more low back and side pain, nausea vomiting, stronger fever and chills, blood in the urine, and more.
E coli is the most common bacteria to cause UTI, other bacteria’s can be the cause as well.
Women are much more susceptible to UTI, because woman’s Urethra is shorter, and the proximity of the anus to vulva. the infection in many cases might be from movement of Bacteria from the anus to the opening of the Urethra. Men do experience UTI as well, but its not as common.
Female gender, sexual activity, in some cases birth control are a risk factor. As well as menopause, enlarge prostate. urinary tract obstruction, (stones, cancer), catheter use, female hygiene product, with scent and deodorants.
The medical treatment for UTI are Antibiotics.
Side effects that might occur with the use of Antibiotics are digestion problems, lowered immune system, and the most common- recurrence of UTI, – for possible prevention of some of the side effects, try taking a combination of beneficial bacteria, (probiotics), sometime called Acidophilus. (make sure it contain Bifidobacteria).
if you are feeling the beginning of a UTI, avoid foods high in sugars and seek advice of a medical practitioner.
Douches/ sitz bath
(Douche is done by inserting fluid into the vagina, can be done with large syringe, or with special Douching device)
Mix into the water one or more of these natural remedies: Grapefruit seed extract liquid drops, colloidal silver. Some women use crushed garlic, also important are making sure the genitals area is clean and dry all day, and use of clean cotton underwear.
A form of sugar that is common in our body, supplementing D-Mannose have shown to prevent the bacteria from being able to attach itself to the wall of the bladder and then it is flushed out with the urine. D-Mannose has shown to be an effective form of treatment in acute and chronic conditions.
Works in a similar way to D-Mannose. Used to be believed to work by enhancing the acidity of the urine, which it does slightly, but now it is understood to act mostly by prevention of adhesion of bacteria to the bladder wall.
Acupuncture is great in alleviating some of the symptoms and with early treatment, can enhance the body to heal itself from the infection,
Herbal remedies are a great form of treatment for UTI, both TCM herbs and western herbs are known to be an effective treatment for UTI,
Kidney and Bladder tonics:
Have a mild diuretic effect, have a general beneficial effect on the urinary tract, with mild antiseptic action.
– Uva ursi, Golden Rod, Horsetail, Corn Silk.
Herbs that promote healing of mucous membranes, which surround and protect the urinary tract.
– Buchu, Marshmallow, Slippery Elm, Aloe Vera.
With anti bacterial action.
Oregon grape, Goldenseal, Juniper, Oregano Oil.
In TCM we use a combination of Acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies. The advantage with using TCM approach is the in-depth diagnosis that is done before the herbs or Acupuncture treatment is administered. TCM diagnosis gives the practitioner a clear insight at the cause and state of the conditions. So the prescribed treatment would be individually tailored, according to the different causes and symptoms of each patient. A common condition in the body that can manifest in UTI is a condition called “Damp Heat”.
Damp is a condition in which the digestion tract is not functioning with symptoms like gas and bloating and loose stool, manifested together with heat, that comes in most cases from a deficiency of fluids in the body, a condition that is called “Yin Deficiency”.
The advantage of TCM and Acupuncture over many other natural modalities is the understanding of different conditions that leads to similar symptoms.
with TCM we can see that UTI is caused by different root causes and is treated differently according to different root causes.
Many single homeopathic remedies can be very helpful, please see a homeopathic practitioner to find the exact one. Combination homeopathic are used with great success.
Interstitial Cystitis (IC)
A general condition that referred to chronic deterioration of the bladder wall, with symptoms that are similar to UTI symptoms,
Symptoms can be, Frequent urination, urgency in urination, pain in lower abdomen area, and more.
In my experience, IC occurs in many cases as an extension of chronic UTI, mostly women with long term UTI, that have been treated with Antibiotic drugs over long period of time, the condition turns into an inflammatory condition possibly with no evidence of bacterial infection presence. A condition of chronic inflammation of the connective tissue and the mucous protective layer of the bladder wall.
Natural medicine approach uses a similar treatments as in UTI. I use more of the demulcent/ soothing herbs like Marshmallow, and Slippery Elm to heal the mucous membrane of the bladder wall, together with mild antiseptic herbs like Uva ursi, Goldenrod Horsetail.
I recommend the use of Vit C and MSM, or Glucosamine sulfate/ Chondroitin sulfate, to help heal the connective tissue in the bladder wall.
Dr. Eyal Lebel is both a Dr.of TCM, Acupuncture, as well as a Master herbalist of “western herbal medicine” in Vancouver, BC.
604 761 9434