Urinary tract infections (UTI) are more common in women than men because a woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s and tends to collect bacteria more easily. Hormonal changes may also change the vaginal lining wich in turn may upset the natural blance of our urethras.
Below are some of the signs and symptoms that may alert you to a possible UTI:
- A burning feeling when you urinate
- A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do
- Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
- Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling urine
- Feeling tired or shaky
- Fever or chills (a sign the infection may have reached your kidneys)
Western medicine will suggest a course of antibiotics, especially when you have a positive urine test. The challenge with antibiotics is that in the long run, they may end up disrupting your intestinal flora which in turn may impact your immunity thus perpetuating a vicious cycle of illbeing.
Herbal medicine offers gentler and effective ways of assisting your body to rebalance its natural state of health. Preventive steps are also very, if not the most, important to follow:
- Make sure that you drink at least 8 glasses of fluids daily.
- Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
- Avoid all caffeine, even decaf, for about two weeks. Caffeine is a bladder irritant. Reintroduce to see if symptoms recur.
If you notice a tendency to get UTI’s after being sexually active, you may want to try the following:
- Drink a glass of water with 1,000 mg of Vitamin C before and after intercourse.
- Urinate before intercourse, and promptly after.
- Clean your genital and anal areas before and after sex.
- Pay attention to wether forms of birth control like a diaphragm or spermicide may be contributing to recurrent UTI’s.
Herbal Medicine and supplements
If you already feel discomfort when you urinate, I suggest that you:
- Try D Mannose, a sugar that will attach to bacteria in your urinary bladder without affecting the overall balance of your intestinal and/or vaginal flora. I recommend that you be careful if you have diabetes, since this supplement is a sugar.
- Try cranberry capsules available at natural food stores. Cranberries contain a substance that prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall, thus decreasing the risk for recurrent infections.
- Take a probiotic regularly to help recolonize your gut with friendly bacteria. Because the anus and the urethra are so close anatomically, encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria in one area will benefit the other. My favorite probiotic is Metagenics Ultra Flora Women’s. Bear in mind that this live bacteria needs to be refrigerated.
- I recommend that you consider a course of Chinese Herbal medicine and Acupuncture . This treatment works very well for recurrent UTI’s.
I hope that this information has given you peace of mind about UTI’s. You are not alone and help is always available for those who ask!
To your Health!
Yamin Chehin, L.Ac