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Urinary Tract Infection

An infection in the urinary tract has other common names such as cystitis or the simpler bladder infection. What happens during a urinary tract infection (UTI) is that the bladder or the urethra becomes inflamed; this is the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside. As a demographic group, women seem to be the most susceptible to this condition and it is believed that on average at least one in five women suffers from some episode of UTI or another at least once every year of her life. Because of the potential these infections have of resulting in severe kidney infections, prompt and timely treatment is required in most cases and the use of antibiotics may become necessary during this treatment process. A qualified doctor must examine and diagnose the nature of these infections especially when the UTI is of a recurring type, he or she will be in the best position to suggest effective treatments.

In the majority of cases, a bacterial infection is the usual cause of an UTI. In a normal human physiological set up, the excreted urine from the kidneys is sterile and contains no pathogens, this urine sits in the bladder for sometime before it is excreted out, and some bacteria present in the urethra are usually washed out as the urine is excreted from the body. An infection of the tract results when the population of these bacteria is so large that they may simply overpower the body's defenses and the resulting condition is what is normally classified as an UTI; an UTI can thus be defined as an infection of the urinary tract through bacterial action. There can be physical causes for the problem as well, these include the compression of the bladder during pregnancy in women, where the bladder cannot be emptied properly and the urine stagnates in the bladder. Infection of the tract can also occur because of improper hygiene where bacteria simply overwhelm the individual's immune system.

Supplements and herbs

These supplements and herbal remedies must be taken as soon as the first symptom appears, this symptom could be a slight burning sensation while urinating, or even an irritation in the genital area; prompt treatment will prevent the condition from becoming serious. The use of the vitamin C along with cranberry is recommended for the first stage of treatment. The vitamin C helps the person by boosting the immune system performance-it also acidifies urine; thus making the bladder less viable for the populations of harmful bacteria that cause infections. The juice of the cranberry is helpful because of its property of preventing harmful and infectious bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary tract, the juice of the cranberry also aids in the acidification of the urine. The use of uva ursi is suggested as an effective alternative to the use of both the vitamin C and the juice of the cranberry, however, it is advisable that this remedy not be taken for longer than a week and it should not be combined in any form with the other two acidifying substances; moreover its exact mode of action is unknown compared to the other two substances. Herbal teas made from the goldenseal, the Echinacea herb, and teas made from the nettle can be combined with these supplements for optimal benefits; the extra fluid gained through the tea enables the flushing away of excess bacterial populations present in the bladder.

The use of these herbal remedies is suggested for a limited period, for the first 24 to 36 hours only, this is because some types of UTls can deteriorate into serious or severe infections affecting the kidneys, therefore if the traditional supplements have not helped during this initial supplementation period, the patient must approach a qualified doctor at once for further diagnosis and treatment. The physician is very likely to prescribe the use of antibiotics as soon as he or she is able to confirm that infection has occurred in the urinary tract. The use of antibiotics, which while being beneficial to the person in their ability to rid the body of bacteria also play a negative role in their destruction of friendly populations of bacteria which are a normal complement of the digestive and the urinary tract. To repopulate the bladder with these friendly bacteria supplementation with acidophilus is suggested, this supplement can be combined with another bacterial supplement containing another friendly bacterium called bifidus; these supplements will restore the balance of healthy bacteria in the body and help in the recovery from antibiotic action. All these supplements can be utilized while the use of antibiotics is going on; these will not interfere with the action of the antibiotics in anyway.

Homeopathy

During all cases of cystitis and all bladder infections, the following homeopathic remedies can be used and these are usually very helpful during all major cases of urinary tract infection; the remedies can increase the rate of recovery and help suppress the infection in the bladder. Some of the physical symptoms that can suggest the use of these homeopathic remedies include the presence of an aching sensation in the region of the bladder, other physical symptoms such as a frequent urge to urinate, with accompanying burning or stinging sensations also indicate a need for these remedies. The urine of the affected individual is very often discolored and cloudy; it may also have a very offensive odor. The intervention of a qualified doctor will be required if the symptoms of the condition cause a great deal of discomfort and if the symptoms are very persistent. The advise and care offered by a doctor is particularly required if the long lasting symptoms of the infection are accompanied by other physical problems like fever, and the presence of pain in the renal region.

  • Aconite
    Aconite is to be used for the homeopathic treatment of patients suffering from an urinary tract infection in which the symptoms of the condition include the production of little urine, which is excessively hot, there is also a burning or spasmodic sensation in the bladder of the person; these symptoms come along with psychological symptoms such as excessive anxiety in the periods immediately preceding urination and the period following the passing of urine. The remedy can also be used where a person has been unable to urinate properly because of the retention of urine in the bladder due to some physical factor like shivering or because of being cold and chilled to the bones. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Aconitum as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the urinary tract infection afflicting a person.
  • Apis
    Apis is to be used as a homeopathic treatment in individuals suffering from some form of urinary tract infection in which the symptoms include the passage of extremely small quantities of urine, this may still be the case even though the person feels a frequent desire to urinate at all times of the day or the night. There could be a persistent and marked feeling of soreness in the abdominal region along with the presence of stinging and burning sensations in the genitalia when the last drops of urine leave the body. The physical symptoms of the illness can be worsened by heat and touching the affected region makes the symptoms worse. Some relief may be obtained from the persistent and painful sensations through the use of cold applications, on bathing with cool water, and on exposure to the open air. Another symptom in such patients is the lack of thirst. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Apis as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the urinary tract infection.
  • Belladonna
    Belladonna is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from some form of urinary tract infection in which the symptoms of the condition can include the development of a hypersensitive bladder, the other symptoms of the condition can include problems such as the presence of a frequent and persistent desire to urinate; however the actual production of urine may be very little. The physical symptoms can also include the presence of cramping sensations and spasmodic writhing movements around the area of the urinary bladder. The urine comes out in extremely small quantities and it is extremely colored in appearance. Where there are no serious underlying reasons for the infection and in cases where the patient passed only very small amounts of blood in the urine, should this remedy be used; the passage of large amounts of blood in the urine calls for prompt medical attention and treatment. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Belladonna as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the urinary tract infection affecting an individual.
  • Berberis
    Berberis is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals in which the symptoms of the condition can include the development of cystitis along with twinges of cutting pain, there could be a burning sensation radiating out into the urethra as far as its opening. A physical symptom can also be the presence of a burning sensation in the genitals even when no attempt to urinate is being carried out and this sensation could be quite persistently felt by the individual at all times of the day and the night. Another likely sensation is the feeling of a “filled” bladder that occurs even immediately after the person urinates, the uncomfortable sensation is of some urine remaining in the bladder. Walking about can often increase the intensity of the discomfort and the urge to urinate. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Berberis as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the urinary tract infection in the afflicted individual.
  • Cantharis
    Cantharis is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals afflicted with a urinary tract infection in which the symptoms of the condition can include the presence of extreme urges to urinate; these can often come along with cutting pains that appear along during urination, these sensations also persist after urine has been passed. A scalding sensation is also often present and only several drops pass at any given time; the production of urine as a whole is very low in the individual. A constant and persistent desire to urinate can occur even when the person has just finished urination and the sensation resembles a bladder that is still filled with urine. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Cantharis as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the urinary tract infection in the affected individual.
  • Equisetum
    Equisetum is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals afflicted with an infection of the urinary tract in which the symptoms include a feeling of fullness in the bladder, the presence of cystitis comes along with a persistent dull but distressing pain these sensations continue and persist even after urinating. All these uncomfortable physical sensations are most intense in the period immediately after urinating when the bladder is empty, as the bladder fills up over time; these sensations become milder though they may still persist. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Equisetum as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the urinary tract infection.
  • Lycopodium
    Lycopodium is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from some form of infection of the urinary tract in which the symptoms of the disorder can include the passage of large amounts of urine at any urination, the desire of the urinate is also persistent and the person urinates very frequently in the night time. Other physical symptoms can include the need to strain and put effort when urinating during which there is a painful sensation. Before the urine is passed out of the body, there is the presence of an intense pain in the back. The diagnosis and skill of a qualified doctor will be required when other symptom such as fever is present, or when the urine produced has a reddish color, and in cases where urination brings pain the renal region. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Lycopodium as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the person suffering from a urinary tract infection.
  • Nux vomica
    Nux vomica is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from some type of urinary tract infection in which the symptom of the condition include a constant desire to pass urine and the presence of an irritable bladder, the actual amount of urine passed is very little at any given moment. There could be an intense and persistent itching sensation in the urethra when passing urine accompanied by a burning or cramping pain which is felt in the region around the bladder. Psychological symptoms tend to be present; the patient can become irritable and impatient. The person also suffers from persistent feeling of being cold; these physical symptoms can be countered through the use of hot baths and other warm applications topically. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Nux vomica as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the infected urinary tract in the person.
  • Sarsaparilla
    Sarsaparilla is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from infections of the urinary tract and especially in cases where the symptoms are unclear; it is also effective in cases of cystitis. This remedy is also to be chosen for use when other homeopathic remedies have not been effective in clearing the infection away. The physical sensation can include a burning pain at the end of urination and the person also suffers from frequent urges to urinate. A slight dribbling of urine can occur when the person is sitting down and urine can only usually passed when the person is standing upright. The urine also contains some flakes or sediments. Where these sediments are due to the formation of some stones in the internal organs like the kidneys, the use of Sarsapilla is especially recommended, however a qualified doctor must examine the patient. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Sarsapilla as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the infection present in the urinary tract.
  • Sepia
    Sepia is to be used during the homeopathic treatment of an individual suffering from some form of urinary tract infection where the symptoms of the condition can include the urge to urinate frequently which can come on quite suddenly though the urine actually produced is minimal and there is very little involuntary passing of urine, the patient may have a sensation as if the urine is going to burst out involuntarily if he or she does not urinate at once. Other physical sensations can include some pressure in the region immediately above the pubic bone of the individual and a sensation of pressure or tightness applied in the region of the bladder. Psychological symptoms can include persistent feelings of tiredness and fatigue, along with irritability, the extremities of the individual are extremely cold to the touch and there is a loss of sensation in the pelvic region as well as a sagging sensation. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate utilization of Sepia in the homeopathic treatment of individuals afflicted with some form of urinary tract infection.
  • Staphysagria
    Staphysagria is to be used in the homeopathic treatment of individuals and in particular women afflicted with some form of urinary tract infection in which the symptoms of the condition include cystitis like symptoms that can develop in a woman especially following sexual intercourse. Such patients tend to be women having their first sexual experience and these symptoms also occur in women in whom cystitis like symptoms appear after each sexual encounter. There is a persistent sensation that the bladder is empty and there is a feeling of pressure in the area around the bladder especially after urinating. The person may feel that the bladder is not empty. Other physical symptoms equally evident in some patients are the presence of a persistent burning sensation, and a feeling that a drop of urine is rolling through the urethra promoting an urge to urinate. Where the infection of the urinary tract has developed as a result of the utilization of catheters and in cases where cystitis has developed because of prolonged bed rest following an illness, effective use of Staphysagria can be made in each case. The presence of one or more of these symptoms calls for the immediate use of Staphysagria as a homeopathic remedy in the treatment of the infection in the urinary tract.

Additional things you may do

Increase the fluid content of the body by drinking an 8-ounce glass of water hourly throughout the day. The presence of abundant water increases the chances of the bacteria being flushed out of the body, as an increased water uptake leads to a corresponding increase in the production of urine. Do not attempt to retain or hold urine for any length of time especially if the urge to pass urine is great or persistent. Hygiene is an important factor, so strive to keep the genital area and the anal areas dry and clean at all times. In the periods immediately before or following sexual activity the hands must be washed and kept clean to minimize the chances of infection. Change your underwear regularly and use only fabrics that are breathable like natural cotton for clothing. After ejaculating, clean the genital well and then wipe them from the front to the back carefully to maintain dryness. After any time spent exercising or swimming change as soon as possible into dry clothes.

Usual dosage

  • Cranberry, 400 mg two times daily or you can drink 16oz of pure (unsweetened), cranberry juice daily.
  • Echinacea, one cup of Echinacea tea several times daily. Echinacea can be mixed with nettle or goldenseal herbs.
  • Goldenseal, one cup of goldenseal tea several times daily. If you are pregnant, avoid this herb. Goldenseal herb can also be mixed with nettle or Echinacea tea.
  • Nettle, one cup of nettle tea several times daily. Nettle can be mixed with goldenseal or Echinacea herbs.
  • Uva ursi, 500 mg four times daily for a period of one week. Avoid if you are pregnant. Do not use it with cranberry or vitamin C.
  • Vitamin C, 500 mg every two hours. If diarrhea develops, stop using it.
  • Acidophilus, one pill (1 -2 billion live organisms) two times daily.

For kids

See age-appropriate dosages of herbal remedies

To treat urinary tract infection in children, use corn silk and parsley to make an herbal tea. Corn silk is a very good diuretic and will aid in urination, the “silk” in corn is the stringy, silky and brown colored material that peels easily from a ripe ear of corn, and the corn silk is also very soothing to a poorly performing urinary tract. It is available in the form of a tincture and can also be used fresh from an ear of corn. Besides being rich in chlorophyll, fresh parsley is also a great diuretic and can be used with great effect to treat a urinary infection. The dosage of the herbal tea made from a combination of the corn silk and parsley can be given to children about thrice a day in single doses, for a treatment regimen lasting three days. The use of the juice of cranberries can also be made; these have an active ingredient that keeps bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall thereby preventing bacterial infection. On a daily basis during the infection of the urinary tract, children can be given three glasses of pure cranberry juice, or alternately three capsules of cranberry extract which can be availed from health food stores as a product called Cran-Actin. Intestinal bacteria that cause UTI can also be treated through the use of garlic, which is a natural antibiotic and has an extremely efficient bactericidal action. Children can be given one to three capsules each day of the treatment regimen and if they prefer it the use of an odorless capsule form can be made as this form is favored by most children. Fresh garlic can also be used and a single whole clove of fresh garlic daily is a good supplement for children affected with infections in the urinary tract. Urinary disorders have been treated using the uva ursi as a traditional medication by Native Americans for ages. This herb combines an antiseptic and astringent action in a single herb; it can thus prevent recurrences of infection and is also useful against mild forms of UTI. Children can be given a single dose of the herb about three or four times each day during the treatment period lasting a total of three or four days or until symptoms disappear. The optimal treatment methodology is to combine the uva ursi with a soothing substance like the corn silk, because used alone uva ursi can often be irritating to the urinary tract.
For your attention: children below six years of age cannot be given the herb uva ursi because of its ability to irritate the urinary tract. Such children should be given pipsissewa which is potentially less irritating compared to the uva ursi, and is just as effective; it is however rather rare and may be difficult to procure. Children can be given a single dose of the herb three or four times a day during the treatment period. The irritated mucus membranes in the body can be treated using a combination of the Echinacea and goldenseal herbs; these herbs are strong antibiotics. Children can be given a single dose of these herbs thrice a day for a treatment period lasting a total of five days at a stretch.

Other beneficial herbs

Comments

From Jackie - Jul-31-2013
Get a natural doctor to give you acidophilus suppositories. This helps a lot.
From Karen Otto - Aug-02-2011
Another very helpful remedy is the use of D-Mannose powder dissolved in water. I have found it to relieve symptoms almost immediately. I have used aconite with success during onset.
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