Bladder Infection also known as urinary tract infection or cystitis, in which irritation occurs anywhere within the urinary tract, from the urethra all the way to the end of the bladder lining. This condition affects over two million people in the United States each year, most of whom are women. It is most common in women who are sexually active and women who have entered menopause. It’s estimated that half of all women in the UK will have a UTI at least once in their life and one out of every 2,000 healthy men will develop one each year.
Urinary tract infection can be recurring, chronic, or relegated to a single episode which, when properly treated, does not return. UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable, but they usually pass within a few days. Children also get UTIs, although this is less common.
You may find that your UTI symptoms are mild and pass within a few days. However, if you are finding your symptoms very uncomfortable or if they last for more than five days, we recommend you visit a licensed practitioner, especially if you develop a high temperature, if your symptoms suddenly get worse, if you are pregnant or if you have diabetes.
Complications of a UTI aren’t common but can be serious and lead to kidney failure or blood poisoning. These complications usually only affect people with a pre-existing health problem, such as diabetes or a weakened immune system (the body’s natural defense against infection).
The urinary tract is where our bodies make, and get rid of, urine. It’s made up of:
- the kidneys: these are two bean-shaped organs that make urine out of waste materials from the blood
- the ureters: tubes that run from the kidney to the bladder
- the bladder: where urine is stored until we go to the toilet
- the urethra: the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the hole where it leaves the body (in men this is at the tip of the penis, in women it’s between the vagina and the clitoris)
Different types of UTI
You can get an infection in the lower (bladder and urethra) or upper (kidney and ureters) part of the urinary tract and health practitioners will often describe them as lower or upper UTIs.
Upper UTIs are potentially more serious than lower UTIs because there is a risk of kidney damage.
An infection of the bladder is called cystitis, and an infection of the urethra is known as urethritis.
Symptoms of bladder infection include pain or burning sensations during urination, an increased need to urinate more frequently throughout the day and during the night, and pain located in the lower back and/or over the pubic region.
If left untreated, bladder infection can become serious and affect the kidneys. When this happens, additional symptoms can include blood in the urine, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, back pain, and pain in the loins.
Note: If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek prompt medical attention.
The symptoms of an infection in your upper urinary tract (kidney and ureters) are different from symptoms of infection in your lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra).
However, in some cases you may notice the symptons of both, as one can spread to the other.
Symptoms of a lower UTI include:
- cloudy urine
- needing to urinate more often during the day or night, or both
- pain or discomfort when urinating
- an urgent need to go to the toilet (holding in your urine becomes more difficult)
- urine that smells unusually unpleasant
- blood in your urine (haematuria)
- pain in your abdomen (tummy)
- a feeling of tenderness around your pelvis
- back pain
- a general sense of feeling unwell
Symptoms of an upper UTI include:
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- uncontrollable shivering
- nausea (feeling sick)
With an upper UTI you may also notice pain in your side, back or groin. The pain can range from moderate to severe, and it is often worse when you’re urinating.
There is a higher risk of complications with an upper UTI, so see your licensed health practitioner if you notice any of the symptoms.
Although many lower UTIs are mild and get better within a few days, speak to your GP if your symptoms are causing you a lot of pain and discomfort or if they last more than five days.
Increased risk of complications
There are some risk factors that increase your risk of more serious complications from a UTI. These include:
- kidney disease
- type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes
- a weakened immune system caused by treatment such as chemotherapy or a health condition such as HIV
- a foreign body in your urinary tract, such as a kidney stone or catheter (a thin tube inserted by a health professional into the urethra to drain the bladder)
- being pregnant
- being over 65 years old
The primary cause of bladder infection is bacteria that are unable to be eliminated from the urinary tract. The problem is not due to bacteria getting in to the urinary tract, but to bacteria not being able to get out.
Menopause can increase the risk of bladder infection developing because, during menopause, levels of the hormone oestrogen decline in the body, making it easier for bacteria to stick to the lining of the urinary tract.
Most urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria that live in the digestive system.
If these bacteria get into the urethra (the tube where urine comes out) they can cause infection.
It’s thought that the bacteria can spread to the urethra via the anus. If toilet paper touches your anus and then your genitals when you go to the toilet, the bacteria can then multiply and move through your urinary tract, causing infection of your:
- urethra (urethritis): the urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the hole where it leaves the body (in men this is at the tip of the penis, in women it’s between the vagina and the clitoris)
- bladder (cystitis): the bladder is where urine is stored until we urinate
- ureters (ureteritis): the ureters are tubes that run from the bladder to the kidneys
- kidneys (pyelonephritis): the kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that remove waste materials from your blood and convert it to urine
Women are more likely than men to have a UTI. This is because in women the urethra is closer to the anus than it is in men, which makes it easier for bacteria to get from the anus to the urethra. In women the urethra is also much shorter than it is in men, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
You are also more likely to develop a UTI if:
- You have a condition that obstructs or blocks your urinary tract, such as kidney stones.
- You have a condition that prevents you from fully emptying your bladder; if urine stays in the bladder for too long it’s easier for bacteria to multiply.
- You have a weakened immune system – due to, for example, chemotherapy or HIV.
- You have a urinary catheter, which is a tube that a doctor or nurse inserts into your bladder to drain away the urine.
If you’re a woman, you are also more likely to get a UTI if:
- You’re sexually active – having sex can irritate the urethra, allowing bacteria to travel through it more easily and into your bladder.
- You use a diaphragm for contraception, as a diaphragm can put pressure on the bladder and prevent it from emptying properly.
- You use condoms that are coated in spermicide, as spermicide can irritate the vagina making it more vulnerable to infection.
- If you are going through the menopause. This can increase the risk of urinary tract infection developing because, during menopause, levels of the hormone oestrogen decline in the body, making it easier for bacteria to stick to the lining of the urinary tract.
If you’re a man, you are also more likely to get a UTI if:
- you have an enlarged prostate gland, as this can put pressure on the bladder and urethra, preventing the bladder from emptying properly
Preventing Bladder Infection
In order to prevent bladder infection, women should do the following:
Avoid urinating after intercourse until necessary. Full urination enables the body to more effectively eliminate bacteria from the urinary tract.
Consider your choice of contraceptive. Women should avoid the use of overly large fitted diaphragms, as these prevent effective voiding of the bladder, especially after intercourse. Contraceptive sponges can cause similar problems. Better birth control options are to wear a cervical cap, or to have your partner wear a condom.
Healthy eating is of primary importance. Increase your intake of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and complex whole grains, as well as organic, free-range meats, poultry, and wild-caught fish.
Avoid all commercial, processed, and nonorganic food, as well as alcohol, coffee, sugars, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, food dyes, milk and dairy products, wheat and wheat products, and refined carbohydrates.
Do not eat saturated, trans-, hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated fats and oils. Instead choose from virgin coconut butter/oil, extra virgin olive oil, high lignin flax seed oil, and unrefined hemp seed, walnut, and sunflower oils.
Foods that are rich in the amino acids phenylalanine, tryptophan, tyrosine, and tyramine should also be avoided, as these amino acids can cause irritation in the urinary tract. Such foods include avocados, bananas, chocolate, citrus fruits, figs, and yogurt. Dried fruits, mushrooms, commercial fruit and vegetable juices, leavened bread, pizza, and pasta should only be eaten sparingly, if at all, since they can aggravate symptoms.
Drink plenty of pure, filtered water throughout the day, as well as 16 ounces of either organic, unsweetened blueberry or cranberry juice, both of which are high in a natural sugar known as mannose, which helps to prevent bacteria from sticking to the cells of the urinary tract.
In addition, have yourself screened for potential food allergies and sensitivities and avoid those foods for which you test positive.
For the complete whole foods eating plan we recommend to heal and eliminate all imbalances and disease, connect to the full article: Whole Foods Diet. In many cases, a raw food eating plan can be extremely beneficial. To learn more, read Raw Food Diet.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day nc.vitaminstrength.com.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here.
- Vitamin C www.livonlabs.com.
- Allicin C – 2 capsules three times a day
- Cranberry extract
Nutritional Supplements: Useful nutrients include vitamin A, beta carotene, zinc, and acidophilus.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually dis-ease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Use the incredibly simple but extremely effective Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to help with pain relief Emotional trauma — The second factor, which is also almost universally present in most all autoimmune diseases, is some kind of predisposing traumatic emotional insult that typically occurs before the age of five or six. And unless that specific insult is addressed in some type of effective treatment modality, then the underlying emotional trigger will not be removed, allowing the destructive process to proceed. Therefore, it’s very important to have an effective tool to address these underlying emotional traumas. www.rogercallahan.com
Urinary Tract Infections and TCM: www.tcmpage.com/hpurinary_infect.html
Urinary Tract Infections and Ayurveda: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2964762/
Herbs that heal urinary tract infection: www.naturalnews.com/035742_herbal_remedies_urinary_tract_infections_bacteria.html
Urinary Tract Infections and Homeopathy: www.truestarhealth.com/Notes/2262002.html
Ayurvedic home remedies for cystitis: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NGX-5a7nZw
Vitamin D fights urinary tract infections: www.naturalnews.com/031194_vitamin_D_urinary_tract_infections.html
Cranberries stop urinary tract infections: www.naturalnews.com/036490_cranberries_urinary_tract_infections.html
Uva Ursi herb reverses urinary tract infection: www.naturalnews.com/027540_uva_ursi_urinary_tract_infections.html
How a simple sugar can stop UTI dead in its tracks: www.naturalnews.com/026759_infection_urinary_tract_sugar.html
The body has its own anti-biotic to fight UTI: www.naturalnews.com/019639_infection_urinary_tract_antibiotic.html
DMSO and bladder infections: www.naturalnews.com/037485_DMSO_inflammation_muscle_pain.html
Further Information (links and books)
Permanently Beat Urinary Tract Infections: Proven Step-by-Step Cure for Urinary Tract Infection and Cystitis. All Natural, Lasting UTI Remedies That Will Prevent Recurring Infections, Caroline D. Greene; Saw Palmetto for Men & Women: Herbal Healing for the Prostate, Urinary Tract, Immune System and More, David Winston.
Uva Ursi – www.gaiaherbs.com (800) 831-7780
Larrea, Eclectic Institute – www.eclecticherb.com (800) 332-4372
Propolis, Bee Hive Botanicals – www.beehivebotanicals.com (800) 233-4483
Unsweetened, unpasteurized cranberry juice – www.lakewoodjuices.com
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – Aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – Organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – Meditation, stress
Judith Hoad [email protected] – Herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – Reiki, Tai Chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – Aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic practitioner.