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Urinary Tract Infection & Homeopathy


Homeopathic Journal :: Volume: 2, Issue: 6, Apr 2009 (General Theme)   -   from Homeorizon.com
Author : Dr. B.S. Suvarna, B.A., D.I. (HOM.), M.I.H., Ph.D. (ITALY, GOLD MEDALIST), PGDPC (psychotherapy&counseling)
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Article Updated: Apr 14, 2009


Urinary tract infections are a serious health problem affecting millions of people each year. Infections of the urinary tract are the second most common type of infection in the body. Women are especially prone to UTIs for reasons that are not yet well understood. One woman in five develops a UTI during her lifetime. UTIs in men are not as common as in women but can be very serious when they do occur.

What is UTI?

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection that can happen anywhere along the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the:

  • Bladder
  • Kidneys
  • Ureters -- the tubes that take urine from each kidney to the bladder
  • Urethra -- the tube that empties urine from the bladder to the outside

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) have different names, depending on where the infection is located.

Cystitis, a common condition, is an infection of the bladder. It is usually caused by bacteria entering the urethra and then the bladder. This leads to inflammation and infection in the lower urinary tract.

Pyelonephritis is an infection of one or both kidneys and the surrounding area.

Causes of UTI

Most infections arise from one type of bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. coli), which normally lives in the colon. Microorganisms called Chlamydia and Mycoplasma may also cause UTIs in both men and women, but these infections tend to remain limited to the urethra and reproductive system. Unlike E. coli, Chlamydia and Mycoplasma may be sexually transmitted, and infections require treatment of both partners.

In many cases, bacteria first travel to the urethra. When bacteria multiply, an infection can occur. An infection limited to the urethra is called urethritis. If bacteria move to the bladder and multiply, a bladder infection, called cystitis, results. If the infection is not treated promptly, bacteria may then travel further up the ureters to multiply and infect the kidneys. A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.

Incidence

In general women are more prone to UTI than men. Some factors which increase the risk are:

  • Congenital abnormality.
  • Obstruction to path of urine (kidney stones, enlarged prostate)
  • Frequent use of catheter
  • Immuno compromised patients,
  • Patients with Diabetes mellitus
  • Use of OCPs
  • Unhygienic habits.

Symptoms:
Frequent strong urge to urinate that cannot be delayed which is followed by a sharp pain or burning sensation in the urethra when the urine is released. Most often very little urine is released and the urine that is released may be tinged with blood. The urge to urinate recurs quickly and soreness may occur in the lower abdomen, back, or sides. Malaise, feverish feeling. Often women feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone, and some men experience a fullness in the rectum.
The urine may look milky or cloudy, even reddish if blood is present.
Normally, a UTI does not cause fever if it is in the bladder or urethra. When bacteria enters the ureters and spread to the kidneys, symptoms such as back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting may occur, as well as the previous symptoms of lower urinary tract infection.

Diagnosis:
A routine urine examination or culture can confirm the diagnosis.

Prevention:
As women are more prone to urinary infections a few additional steps can avoid the discomfort to a greater extent:

  1. Drink plenty of water every day.
  2. Do not delay urination when it is necessary.
  3. Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria around the anus from entering the vagina or urethra.
  4. Take showers instead of tub baths.
  5. Wear cotton undergarments, let the air circulate around the perineal area by avoiding tight trousers and wearing open –crotch tights.
  6. Cleanse the genital area before sexual intercourse.
  7. Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches, which may irritate the urethra.
  8. Drinking cranberry juice is a fairly well known and natural way to both help prevent urinary tract infections, as well as help speed the recovery process when UTI develops. Just drinking two 4 ounce glasses of cranberry juice daily is often enough to both prevent UTI and speed recovery when an infection does develop.
  9. Another nutritional route that may help prevent UTI is Vitamin C supplements taken on a regular basis. Vitamin C increases the acidity level of urine which in turn helps decrease the number of harmful bacteria that may be present in your urinary tract system.

DURING AN ATTACK

  1. Drink a large glass of water or a cup of mild chamomile tea , three or four times a day.
  2. Pass urine in a warm bath if very painful.
  3. Stop consuming alcohol , coffee and tobacco use hot water bottles to alleviate lower abdominal pain.
  4. Change the acidity of your urine by adding a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to a glass of water and drinking the solution 3 or 4 times a day. Apply clean yoghurt to the vagina, this helps to relieve distress as well as to recolonize the vagina with the right bacteria.
  5. Drink cranberry powder dissolved in water frequently  (one tea spoon in a cup of water )

BETWEEN ATTACKS

  1. Change your under wear if it is too tight and avoid tights.
  2. Maintain a high standard of hygiene after using the lavatory.
  3. Always empty your bladder before and after intercourse.
  4. Change from tampons to sanitary towels.
  5. Use a lubricating jelly during intercourse, if the vagina is very dry and experiment with different positions as the pressure on the bladder and vulva will vary.
  6. Reduce the acid content, sugar and white flour products from your diet. Drink vegetable juices –carrot and raw apple mixed are particularly good.
  7. Specific herbal remedies include couch-grass, which aids the excretion of urine and heals the lining of bladder and buchu which acts as an antiseptic  and restores the damage lining. Echinacea is a good herb to restore resistance to infection. In an acute attack, drinking large amounts of yarrow infusion will help and Barley water  (obtainable from food stores ) is a traditional remedy for its soothing duretic effect                 

HOMEOPATHIC THERAPEUTICS

First aid treatment during an attack includes –"Cantharis" (every 2 hours) once . Others are –"Staphysagria" for cystitis following intercourse and –Sarasaparilla" for pain on urinating (once in 2 hours).

A more long term remedy would require a homoeopathic consultation "Ferrum phos" in the early stages followed by "Kali phos"

ACUTE STAGE

Almost all women will have sudden attacks of acute urinary infections from time to time while recurrent attacks of cystitis should always be investigated. Some of the frequently used homeopathic medicines are: 

Frequent urination with burning, stinging pain in the bladder. lack of thirst , a tendency to swollen hands and feet –"Apis mellifica".

Sudden onset of symptoms, severe, incacitating burning pain , that is worst while urine is being passed , the urine is often blood stained –"Cantharis".

Onset is less intense , but there may be blood in the urine at an early stage –"Mercurius corrosives".

Pain is worst at end of urination, burning urination and a frequent urge to urinate occurs –"Sarasaparilla"

Symptoms start after sexual intercourse or after a catheter has been passed into the bladder , a feeling that a drop of urine remains in the urethra even after urination –"Staphysagria

CHRONIC INFECTIONS

Many women suffer from milder recurrent (chronic ) bladder problems , including an urge to urinate , discomfort during urination , bladder pain and incontinence . if you have symptoms of chronic UTI , you should check with your doctor , in case you need a course of antibiotics , before trying the homoeopathic medicines suggested .

Painful urging , burning pain after urination and the bladder does not feel empty , urge to pass urine in the night ----"Lycopodium"

Bladder pain that is worse after urinating or if urination is delayed. copious urine occurs even when not thirsty . Involuntary urination happens, especially in pregnancy , worse when coughing –"Pulsatilla"

A leak of urine occurs when laughing, sneezing or coughing, there is frequent urinating and sudden urging , pain in the lower abdomen if urination is delayed –"Sepia"


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