Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infection, also known as cystitis or bladder infection, is a condition 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 defence 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.
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
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
As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here
Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:
- Eliminate Candida: Click here to find out how
- Do the Hydrogen Peroxide Protocol to strengthen the immune system:
- Drink 3oz of Colloidal Silver, three or four times a day for 60 days www.colloidsforlife.com Silver has long been recognised as a powerful natural antibiotic. Colloidal silver is silver that has been removed electronically from its source and then suspended in water. It is used to treat a myriad of diseases.
- Go on a fast to clear your system of toxic waste www.wecarespa.com
Hydrotherapy is the application of water, ice, steam and hot and cold temperatures to maintain and restore health. Treatments include full body immersion, steam baths, saunas, sitz baths, colonic irrigation and the application of hot and/or cold compresses. Hydrotherapy is effective for treating a wide range of conditions and can easily be used in the home as part of a self-care program. Many Naturopathic Physicians, Physical Therapists and Day Spas use Hydrotherapy as part of treatment.
There are several effective at-home hydrotherapy treatments. For urinary tract infections, we highly recommend contrast sitz baths of alternating hot and cold water to relieve symptoms. Hot and cold compresses can also be applied over the lower back and pelvic region. Please seek the advice of your alternative health care practitioner before undergoing these procedures to make sure they are appropriate for you.
*Purified water is essential for any hydrotherapy treatment. Remedies for Treating Chlorinated Bath Water offers clear instructions and recommendations.
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, Whole Foods Diet. In many cases, a raw food eating plan can be extremely beneficial. To learn more, read Raw Food Diet.
If you do the Jeff McCombs Candida Protocol you will already be avoiding all of the foods that impact on your health. However here are the foods to avoid at all costs.
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food or chain restaurants and all processed food.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eat mostly fresh, organic vegetables and fruits.
Useful nutrients include vitamin A, beta carotene, zinc, and acidophilus.
Add half a teaspoon of mannose powder to pure filtered water and drink it every one to two hours to speed recovery.
Other beneficial supplements include:
- Vitamin D (classed as a hormone.) Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for a period of up to 4 weeks.
- Coral Calcium – Coral calcium website
- 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.
- Omega 3s:
Hemp Seed Oil
- Morter Supplements Trace Minerals
- Selenium – an essential trace vitamin
- Zinc – essential for healthy immune function.
- Iodine – good for energy metabolism and repair of tissues.
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 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:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
Elaadi-choorna, taarakeswara ras, Chandraprabhavati, Pravaala-bhasma and Chandanaasava are recognised as some of the important ayurvedic medicines which can effectively treat this condition. Consult your ayurvedic physician before using these medicines. An effective remedy can be made by mixing the powders of cardamom—one part, root of paashaanabheda—half part, purified shilajit—half part, and long pepper—half part. Take this preparation in doses of three to four grams with half a glass of water in which rice has been washed, twice a day. Your ayurvedic practitioner may also recommend applying alternate hot and compresses over the bladder or powder of saltpetre (shorakshar) applied over the bladder and covered with a wet cloth.
Another recommended ayurvedic therapy is to boil 20g of corncob hair (hair of maize) in water and drink the infusion. Alternatively, take half a cup of decoction of equal parts of the fruits gokshura (gokhru) and coriander (dhania) three times a day. Paashaanabheda (bergenia ligulata) root powder will also help. Take a teaspoonful. But consult a licensed practitioner before taking any of the remedies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
We recommend you consult a licensed health practitioner who may suggest acupuncture which can be beneficial. The following TCM remedies are also known for treating the condition: Mu Tong (akebia stem), Che Qian Zi (plantain); Bian Xu (knot grass); Qu Mei (dianthus); Hua Shi (talc); Dai Huang (rhubarb); Zhi Zi (gardenia) and Gan Cao (licorice.)
Take a bath to which one or more of the following essential oils have been added: bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, and sandalwood. Receiving a massage with these oils can also be effective for reducing pain in the lower back and/or around the pubic region.
Useful homeopathic remedies include Apis, Arsenicum, Belladonna, Berberis, Calcarea, Cantharis, Causticum, Conium, Lycopodium, Mercurius, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, and Sepia. For best results, consult with a trained homeopath who can help you select the remedies most appropriate for your specific needs.
An infusion of equal parts bearberry, dandelion leaf, and nettle can be helpful for soothing irritations along the urinary tract. Drink hot, three times a day or as needed. For blood in the urine, drink comfrey root tea. For difficult or burning urination, a mixture of fennel, horsetail, jasmine flowers, and licorice tea is helpful. Buchu, burdock, coriander, cornsilk, echinacea, goldenrod, juniper berries, marshmallow root, and shave grass teas are useful for relieving symptoms of urinary tract infections. Skullcap is recommended for urinary incontinence.
Useful herbs for treating urinary tract infection include fresh parsley (eaten raw or taken as a tea), couch grass, goldenseal, marshmallow leaf, and uva ursi (also known as bearberry). These can be taken as teas or infusions.
D-mannose powder is a very powerful urinary tract cleanser that makes it difficult for bacteria to gain a foothold in the urinary tract.
Juice Therapy: The following juice combinations can help to relieve symptoms: apple and carrot; cranberry; carrot, celery, parsley, and spinach; carrot, beet, and cucumber (for added benefit, add garlic or onion juice); and watermelon juice.
Topical Treatment: Apply half a teaspoon of plain, organic yogurt around the opening of the vagina after intercourse.
Alternative Professional Care:
The following professional care therapies are also effective for treating bladder infection: Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Detoxification Therapy, Energy Medicine, Environmental Medicine, Magnet Therapy, Naturopathic Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine and Oxygen
Cranberries: Cranberries and cranberry juice is recognised at killing the infections that cause urinary tract infections.
Blueberry: Although not as well known as cranberries for treating a UTI, blueberries have also been shown to be an effective remedy for a urinary tract infection. You can eat fresh organic blueberries, make a smoothie from frozen berries or even blend pure blueberry juice with pure cranberry juice to harness the healing power of both of these berries.
Pineapple: Rich in vitamin C and bromelain, pineapple can help you fight off infection while also reducing inflammation. Bromelain has been shown to help resolve urinary tract infections, while vitamin C is a known immunity booster.
Vitamin E-Rich Foods : Foods rich in vitamin E help stimulate your immune system and destroy urinary tract bacteria. This vitamin helps your body repair urinary tract cells damaged by infection. You can obtain vitamin E from food sources such as whole wheat pastas and breads, eggs, olive and vegetable oil, kale, lentils, spinach and watercress.
Calcium- and Magnesium-Rich Foods: Foods rich in calcium and magnesium help reduce the symptoms of urinary tract infections. Calcium helps reduce inflammation of the bladder, kidneys and urethra. Magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium and is necessary for the production of anti-stress hormones that can ease urinary tract pain. Calcium is available in foods such as milk, cheese, broccoli, salmon and spinach. You can obtain magnesium from beef, fish, avocados, brown rice, walnuts, bananas and apples.
Mustard oils for UTI treatment: Mustard oils derived from horseradish root and the nasturtium herb can be used as treatment for UTI, according to a 2006 study published in the Arzneimittel-Forschung journal. The study found that a combination of extracts from horseradish and nasturtium, two plants from the mustard family containing volatile mustard oils as the active ingredients, demonstrated antimicrobial properties, meaning they kill or inhibit the growth of microorganisms like bacteria. Researchers stated that the combination of these two supplements is a rational treatment for UTI and upper respiratory infections.
In a similar study published in the Arzneimittel-Forschung journal that same year, participants took either antibiotics or an herbal drug combining horseradish and nasturtium. The group who took the antibiotics experienced an 87.9 percent decrease in symptoms versus 81.2 percent in patients who took the herbal drug. However, researchers found that the herbal drug had a clear advantage because the participants taking the supplement needed fewer supportive procedures and administration of concurrent medication.
Grapeseed extract: Grapeseed extract is also an effective treatment for UTI and other infections. The supplement promotes activity to fight bacteria that are causes of urinary tract infections. Grapeseed extract also has antifungal and antiviral properties to treat infections caused by fungi or viruses. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends taking 100 milligram capsules or five to 10 drops of liquid grapeseed extract three times a day for treating infections.
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
Natural ayurvedic home remedies for urinary tract: www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SXzFrZ1w70
Urinary tract infection and natural cures: www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4cMOWM5sZQ
Home remedies for urinary tract infection: www.dailymotion.com/video/xag6rg_natural-home-remedies-for-urinary-t_tech
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
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.
Andrea Butje | Aromahead firstname.lastname@example.org – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt email@example.com – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA firstname.lastname@example.org – meditation, stress
judith hoad email@example.com – herbalist.
Kath May firstname.lastname@example.org – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges email@example.com – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika firstname.lastname@example.org – aromatherapy.
Rakesh GAC@AyurvedicLifeStyles.com – Ayurvedic Practitioner.