By Neepa Sevak
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a serious health problem affecting millions of people each year. It is a common infection that usually occurs when bacteria enter the opening of the urethra and multiply in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder (ureters), bladder, and the tube that carries urine from the bladder (urethra). Men, women, and children all can be prone to develop UTIs, but the condition is more common in women and young girls than in men and young boys. Children under the age of 2 are also more prone to develop UTI’s.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections
- Pain or burning when urinating, since the bacteria and infected urine in the urethra cause the inflammation but are flushed out when "fresh" urine flows through the urethra on its way out of the bladder
- The need to urinate more often than usual
- A feeling of urgency when you urinate
- Hematuria – that is blood in the urine
- Chills or fever – this may be the only symptom in infants and children
- Unusual smelling urine
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Back pain
Causes of Urinary Tract Infections
- An escherichia coli bacterium causes about 80% of UTIs in adults. These bacteria are normally present in the colon and may enter the urethral opening from the skin around the anus and genitals. Women may be more prone to UTI because their urethral opening is near the source of bacteria (e.g., anus, vagina) and their urethra is shorter, providing bacteria easier access to the bladder.
- Other bacteria that cause urinary tract infections include Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Mycoplasma hominis. Men and women infected with Chlamydia trachomatis or Mycoplasma hominis can transmit the bacteria to their partner during sexual intercourse, causing UTI.
- Irritation or injury to the vagina or urethra caused by sexual intercourse, douching, using a diaphragm, tampons or feminine deodorants.
- Hormonal changes and repositioning of the urinary tract during pregnancy.
- Thinning of the vagina and urethra after menopause.
- Urinary catheterization (i.e., insertion of a small tube into the bladder through the urethra to drain urine) can also cause UTI by introducing bacteria into the urinary tract especially when long-term catheterization is required.
- In infants, bacteria from soiled diapers can enter the urethra and cause UTI. Bacteria may also penetrate the urethral opening when young girls do not wipe carefully from front to back after a bowel movement.
- Bladder outlet obstructions like kidney stones, benign masses or tumors, Prolapse of the uterus or vagina or prostate enlargement.
- Conditions that cause incomplete bladder emptying like in cases of spinal cord injury.
- Defect of the urinary tract from birth like vasicoureteral reflux.
- Suppressed immune system in conditions like Diabetes, AIDS, and chronic kidney diseases.
- Being uncircumcised.
Homeopathic Approach to UTIs
Homeopathic remedies are very helpful in treating bladder infections, in relieving discomfort and encouraging quick recovery. These remedies may help patients get through an existing or recurrent urinary tract infection without the use of antibiotics. Since urinary tract infection is a result of immune system weakness, which does not defend against foreign bacteria that enters the urinary tract and causes an infection to develop in the urinary tract, bladder & kidney. A homeopathic medicine will enhance resistance to infection by stimulating your immune system so that the illness can be resolved as rapidly and with as little discomfort as possible. Homeopathic medicines work on an entirely different principle; it doesn’t interfere with the natural immune response but works alongside it by enhancing one’s ability to fight an infection. Based on the classical approach of homeopathy a homeopathic practitioner looks at the person holistically, that is mind, body and emotion together and not just at the symptoms of the illness.
Self Care Measures
Along with homeopathic treatment there are some measures that can be taken to keep the urinary tract healthy and prevent recurrent infection:
- Drink plenty of fluids to flush bacteria out of your urinary system.
- Do not hold urine once the urge to urinate has occurred.
- After a bowel movement, wipe from front to back to keep bowel bacteria at a distance.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes so that air can keep the area dry. Avoid tight-fitting jeans and nylon underwear, which trap moisture and can help bacteria grow.
- Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches.
- Rinse soap off well in the shower.
- Urinate after sexual intercourse.
- Adequate vitamin C or ascorbic acid in your diet makes your urine acidic, which discourages the growth of bacteria. Drinking cranberry juice may also produce the same effect.
Homeopathic Medicines for UTI'S
This information is not designed to provide or suggest treatment. Please consult with your homeopathic practitioner for further information or schedule an appointment with a homeopathic practitioner.
Four Most Common Remedies
- Cantharis; most common remedy; key is burning which is intense and quick; may be so bad that they shout; quickly report that there is blood; can see extreme sexual excitement, tremendous anxiety and urge to masturbate beyond reason
- Sarsasparilla; #2 remedy; pain at the end of the urination(95%); pain is intolerable; urging and inflammation; urine flows better when standing; child screams and anticipates pain; sense of chills coming from neck of bladder in general=keynote; air passes with urine=gurgling noise=keynote; pains in kidneys and ureters especially right
- Nux vomica: Much irritability; tenesmus and cramping; key is painful and powerful urging; urine dribbles out then ceases; great urging; very little urine; brief relief from urine; become very irritable=keynote want instant relief; come on from abuse of coffee or tea; must get off or for treatment to work; better warm applications=keynote ie bathtub, urinate in the bathtub helps; tends to be worse before and after urination
- Pulsatilla; if a drop of urine collects in the bladder it must be expelled; pain after urination in the urethra; Pulsatilla will say the whole urethra hurts; burning is milder and onset is slower; alot of urine and is thirstless; little girls with nocturnal enuresis; symptoms come on after suppression of menses; exposure to cold wet; back feels as if cold water running down it with fever and chills; if flip over on back at night, urging to urinate which will awaken her;
Other Remedies to Consider
- Aconite napellus: Urinary retention in mother(more likely to be causticum=physical stress) and in newborn(#1); anxiety, fear, burning with restlessness; must give the remedy quickly
- Apis mellifica; Urine is scanty with thirstlessness; pain is before and at beginning of urination; great burning and scalding; use mostly in kidney conditions; when Apis starts working, will suddenly start urinating alot more
- Belladonna: extremely irritable bladder; after urination strain for more; worse jar=key
- Benzoic Acid; pain between urination; intense odor of urine like a horse; smells like old hay; sediment
- Berberis: Violent shooting pains into bladder; key is radiation in all directions; one of main remedy for kidney infections; only remedy listed for bladder pain on movement;
- Cannabis Indica; similar to Canth; kidneys have burning aching feelings worse with laughter=keynote; ecstasy state; kidneys have burning achy feeling; over time mental and sexual deterioration with a tendency to UTI’s following prolonged usage of pot; children of parents who use alot of pot around the time of conception
- Cannabis sativa; urine starts after a long wait=key; similar to cantharis; urethra gets dark red and swollen; intense sexual excitement
- Capsicum; creamy discharge with burning on urination and after;
- Causticum: Only chronic cases; tendency for burning can cutting during urination; retention after confinement (ie hospital); worse cold; can’t help their urinating #1 remedy for incontinence
- Chimaphilia: #1 remedy for acute prostatitis in males; must spread legs and lean forward to urinate; sensation of sitting on a ball
- Clematis: Urine starts and stops before finally comes in painless stream; think contractions (spasmodic); mostly acute
- Conium: Mostly chronic; urine flows more easily when standing; constitutional state of weakness and lack of expulsive power
- Copaiva: Urethritis with burning; meatus is sore as if wounded; irritable bladder of elderly females; often accompanied by mucous in the stool;catarrh of the bladder=mucous;
- Cubeba: crave nuts=keynote; mucous DC
- Digitalis: prostatitis of older men and bachelors; violent urging with urge to stool; better lying down and relieves the pressure; only remedy for violent urging in prostatitis
- Doryphora: Urethritis in small children brought on by external stimulus; external inflammation of the urethra;
- Dulcamara: Inflam or bladder after taking cold; if chilled will lose urine
- Equisetum: More mucous than Canth and a great amount of urine: urge increases as the quantity decreases; good remedy for enuresis; enuresis from habit(no cause), although rhus tox is more common
- Ferrum Phos: worse standing and better lying; involuntary urination; constant urging with relief from urination
- Medorhinum: Pain when last few drops are voided; chronic urethritis and prostatitis; symptoms after suppression of gonorhea; Reiter’s syndrome with conjunctivitis, urethritis and arthritis
- Mercurius corrosivus: symptoms come on with great violence and intensity; tenesmus; pain is not so great as cantharis; can be a green puruent DC esp at night; no relief with urination; often will be salivation; continued urge to go; tenesmus is constant; see the same thing in ulcerative colitis=constant urging;
- Natrum Muriaticum: chronic cystitis
- Pareira brava: urinate only when on hands and knees and put their head on the floor-mostly in prostatitis; that position moves the stone or prostrate; forked stream; great urging and straining
- Petroselinim(Parsley); good only for kids; sudden irresitable urge to urinate; must be gratified instantly; child jumps up and down with pain; tingling and itching of urethra; all of the provings only relate to the bladder; can use parsley tea for UTI’s 4 tsp parsley to a cup with a drop or two of sandalwood oil; drink 2 cups per day; use this regimen for people on a constitutional with recurrent UTI’s
- Rhus aromatica: Severe pain at beginning or before urination in children;
- Sepia: chronic freq of urination; rise often in the night; sour smelling urine; sudden desire to urinate; nocturnal enuresis in young girls; recurring cystitis, especially if there is bladder pain with menses;
- Stapyisagria: Honeymoon cystitis=psychic impact of marraige; cystitis after emotional shock, suppressed anger or humiliation; very frequent urging that is painful and lasts a long time; burning during and after
- Sulphur: Chronic cystitis, prostatitis and urethrits; scalding pain in the urethra in broken down old men with enlarged prostrates; history of gonorhea
- Terebinthina: Turpentine; similar to Canth; strong kidney remedy; urine burns and is scanty and dark/smokey colored with blood and mucous; SRP=odor of violets
- Thuja: sensation of urinating when they are not; foaming urine; woart on genital and anus; chronic cases ; history of vaccinations or G.C.
- Uva Ursae; slimy urine associated with prolapsed uterus
- Viola tricolorada: odor like cats urine and milky color