Urinary Tract infections are categorized as a bacterial infection of the urethra, bladder or kidney. This infection is usually from a bacteria in the intestinal tract such as E.coli and can infect both males or females.
What are the symptoms of Urinary Tract infection?
- Strong and frequent urges to urinate
- Painful or burning sensation when urinating
- Strong smelling or Foul smelling urine odor
- Back pain
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Fever and fatigue
- Chills and aches
How do we get a Urinary Tract infection?
The two most common ways to get a urinary tract infection are not wiping properly and during sex (coitus). Men have gotten a bad wrap for having the dirty penis causing the UTIs but typically in either scenario the infection of the urethra comes from transmitting bacteria in the ones own intestinal tract to the urethra. Our own bacteria is causing the infection. When our own intestinal E.coli or other bacteria go up the urethra, we get an infection. Women are more likely to get UTIs than men due to the relative short nature of our urethra, but men also get UTIs and unfortunately for men if there isn’t some sort of contact infection, it can often be an indicator for prostatitis or other male health issues.
How do you diagnose a urinary tract infection?
Doctor’s direct a patient to do an in-office urinary dipstick test and if this is positive they may decide to send it out for a culture or they may not. Treatment is usually given based on a lab culture, if a doctor thinks that the white blood cell count in the urine is high enough. Blood in the sample usually indicates the infection is in the bladder and possibly to the kidney. The doctor may perform what is called a kidney punch test to determine if the infection has spread that high and if sensitivity is present to that point or not.
How are Urinary Tract infections Treated?
Western Medicine will usually treat using antibiotics but as many know, antibiotic use can alter the flora in your gut and reduce the body’s natural immunity. There are alternative methods of treating mild UTIs that are just as effective and have fewer side effects than antibiotics.
In Chinese Medicine, we view a UTI as a damp heat accumulation in the Kidney and Urinary Bladder channels. There are several acupuncture points along these channels that specifically benefit urinary function. We would also use points on these and other channels to clear excess heat from the body.
If a patient has a full urinary tract infection they are treated with a course of antibiotics, our office will add D-mannose and Saccharomyces Boulardii to help prevent side-effects of the antibiotics and to prevent adherence of the bacteria while the antibiotics work. Cranberry pill or cranberry juice unsweetened are also excellent choices to help getting over an infection.
If you are someone who has chronic infections, it may be wise to do a stool sample to determine your good and bad bacteria that are present and balance them so future infections are not as easily contracted. Drinking cranberry juice somewhat regularly also can help prevent UTI’s. Practicing good habits, such as wiping front to back and urinating after sex can both be helpful. Changing toilets to the oval shaped bowel so that when men sit their penis doesn’t have contact with the toilet rim during bowel movements.
Chinese Herbal Remedies:
- Ba Zheng Tang: This is a classic Chinese formula that clears damp heat from the urinary organs.
- Long Dan Xie Gan Tang: This formula also clears damp heat from the kidneys and bladder but targets liver channel symptoms as well such as headache and dizziness.
- Chuan Xin Lian: This formula is antibacterial and antiviral and is great for decreasing inflammation and clearing toxic heat.
What are the best Herbs for Preventing Urinary Tract infections?
- Uva Ursi
- Oregon Grape
- Corn silk
What are the best Home Remedies?
- Drink natural cranberry juice (not the sugary kind)
- Take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day
- Up consumption of healthy fats to balance hormones (cod liver oil, butter, chia)
- Vitamin C
- Acidophilus based probiotics
- Crushed garlic as a natural antibiotic