I was having dinner with my sister recently, and she mentioned that the doctor diagnosed her with a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs are the most common form of cystitis, which is the medical term to describe bacterial bladder infections. I told my sister that there are many natural remedies to treat UTIs, including homeopathy.
Natural treatment is very important for bladder infections because the most common UTI treatment is antibiotics. And, the primary bacteria responsible for UTIs, E. coli, is increasingly becoming antibiotic-resistant. Antibiotic treatment also leaves the bladder vulnerable for further infections in the future, and this is why multiple UTIs are very common. On top of that, American women go their doctors six to nine million times every year, which makes UTIs the second most common infection of the body.
Signs and Symptoms of Cystitis
Your urinary tract is the body’s drainage system for the removal of extra water and waste; and it includes the bladder, urethra, two ureters, and two kidneys. The bladder is the storage system for the urine, and it empties through the urethra. UTIs are the result of extremely small organisms, often bacteria, that live in the bowels.
The bacteria then enters the urinary tract before quickly being removed from the body. However, sometimes, certain bacteria will attach to the urinary tract lining, despite the body’s natural defense mechanisms. For instance, urination will flush bacteria from the body; the ureters and the bladder prevent urine overload, and the prostate gland in men produces secretions to help slow bacterial growth.
As a result, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain while urinating
- A burning sensation in the urethra or bladder when urinating
- Muscle aches and abdominal or low back pain
- A frequent urge of urination, but instead, there are only small amounts
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weakness and tiredness
- Urine that is cloudy or strong-smelling
- Urine that appears bring pink or red (this is a sign of blood)
- Pelvic pain in women
Delirium is a UTI symptom in the elderly. Bacteria can also infect the kidneys, which is an upper urinary tract infection called pyelonephritis. Pyelonephritis will often occur when there is a urinary tract blockage, like an enlarged prostate or a kidney stone.
Causes and Risk Factors of Cystitis
Again, bacteria that enters the urinary tract is largely responsible for a bladder infection. However, there are various factors that increase the risk of UTI symptoms.
1. Being a Woman
Women have greater susceptibility to UTIs because they have shorter urethras, which allows bacteria to reach the bladder more quickly. Men are less likely to develop UTIs. But once they do have one, they likely will have another one because the bacteria hides deep inside prostate tissue.
2. Sexual Intercourse
Among young women, having sex and using spermicidal contraceptives are predominant UTI risk factors.
3. Birth Control
Condoms and spermicides may irritate the skin and increase bacterial growth, invading surrounding tissues. Diaphragms may slow urinary flow and change vaginal flora.
UTIs are common in two to 13% of pregnant women. The hormonal changes in pregnant women are thought to shift urinary tract position, which increases the risk of UTIs.
Research shows that UTIs caused from urinary catheters are among the most common infections in health care facility patients. Biofilm will develop on catheters, and this allows for the development of bacteria and future infections.
Postmenopausal women are also at risk of UTIs. Estrogen deficiency plays a role in bacteria development that causes bladder infections.
7. Suppressed Immunity
Because the body’s defense against bacteria is impaired, a suppressed immune system will increase UTI risk.
Studies suggest that UTIs are more common and severe in diabetic patients due to poor metabolic control, impaired immunity, and incomplete bladder emptying.
How Homeopathy Treats Cystitis Symptoms
The antibiotic trimethoprim is often the first treatment choice for UTIs. However, antibiotic resistance is common in patients that have taken antibiotics during the previous six months. Studies of the human microbiome also demonstrate that antibiotics can significantly impact the microbiota of the gut and vaginal cavity. Vaginal candida infections are also common in up to 22% of women treated for UTIs.
Researchers believe that antibiotics are only necessary for UTIs that fail to resolve within three days. There are also plenty of natural ways to treat bladder infections, including drinking plenty of fluids or water throughout the day to help flush bacteria from the body.
Cystitis homeopathic remedies are also very effective for bladder infections. Homeopaths recognize that recurrent UTIs are the result of deep-seated patterns of susceptibility, and therefore, a constitutional remedy is the best option for treatment. In acute infections, the 30c strength can be taken hourly, or even more often. Once symptoms begin to go away, you can gradually lessen treatment to three times daily. Also, if the condition clears up quickly, continue to take one dose daily for two to three days to prevent recurrence of the bladder infection.
If after several hours symptoms still recur, the chosen remedy may have to be changed to a more appropriate one. In chronic bladder infections, take your chosen homeopathic remedy once daily for one to two weeks for permanent results. For the best remedy, consult a trained homeopath.
The following are some of the more common cystitis homeopathic remedies are likely to be recommended.
1. Cantharis (Spanish Fly)
Cantharis is the most common UTI remedy used when there is a frequent and strong need to urinate, along with passing small amounts of urine. There is also a burning sensation during urination and a tender abdomen. Other symptoms include an increased sex drive, irritability, and restlessness. Warmth and rest improve symptoms; however, things worsen from coffee, touch, and before and after urination.
2. Equisetum (Horsetail)
Common symptoms when Equisetum is required include nightly urination with burning pain in the urethra that worsens at the end or after urinating. There is also a large amount of pale urine or dark urine with mucus. The person also feels constantly distended with an aching, tender bladder. Lying down improves symptoms, while pressure, sitting, or after urination makes things worse.
3. Mercurius Corrosivus (Mercury)
Mercurius corrosivus is a common remedy for the uncontrollable urge to urinate, or dark urine that comes in small amounts. Burning pain will be worse when the person is not urinating. Burning at the beginning or end of urination may indicate a severe bladder infection. Symptoms improve while lying on your back, and they worsen at night or from warmth.
Sarsaparilla is necessary for severe urethra pain at the end of urination. The urethra pain will also radiate up into the abdomen area, and it is also hard for the person to urinate unless they are standing. Urination will flow easily at night, possibly when the person experiences bedwetting. When sitting, urine will dribble. Scanty, slimy, or bloody urine are also common features of someone requiring sarsaparilla.
5. Staphysagria (Larkspur)
Staphysagria is necessary when there is an urge to urinate, but it remains difficult to do so. The person will urinate in a thin stream with drops, and it feels like a drop of urine is rolling along the urethra. This feeling worsens from riding or walking, and it improves from urinating. The sufferer will also experience burning during urination, with a continued urge to urinate and pain afterward. Bladder pain after intercourse is also common.
6. Petroselinum (Parsley)
Petroselinum is often beneficial for sudden and painful urination. The person will even shiver and jump up and down from the pain. There is also a frequent desire to urinate and pressure, along with a milky or mucus discharge. The person also desires to put something in the urethra to soothe itching and a crawling feeling.
7. Nux Vomica (Quaker’s Buttons)
Nux vomica is helpful when there is a constant urge to urinate, but only with small amounts. Burning or pain during urination is also common. The person feels irritable and chilly; however, symptoms improve from a warm bath.
8. Apis Mellifica (Honeybee)
Apis mellifica is a good remedy for sharp, stinging pains that improve with a cold compress or cool drinks. A warm bath or nighttime will worsen symptoms. The person also often passes small amounts of urine, and the abdomen is also sensitive to the slightest touch.
9. Berberis (Barberry)
Berberis is necessary for pains during or after urination. There will also be cutting or shooting pains from the bladder to the urethra, or from the urethra to the thighs, pelvis, or back. The pain will worsen from motion. Also, kidney or ureter pain will worsen from jarring motion or pressure.
10. Aconite (Monkshood)
Aconite is great for the first two hours of a bladder infection. During the earliest stages of infection, the person has difficulty passing urine. Then, burning during urination develops with general feelings of anxiety and fear. A fever will also come on quite quickly.
Other Natural Treatments for Cystitis
Other cystitis homeopathic remedies include belladonna, Pulsatilla, Digitalis purpurea, terebinth, Pareira brava, Apocynum cannabinum, Causticum, and sepia. In addition to homeopathy, other natural cystitis remedies will help prevent and treat bladder infections.
1. Cranberry Juice
Extensive research suggests that cranberry juice may reduce the incidence of UTIs over a 12-month period, especially in women with frequent UTIs. Other studies have found that cranberry juice may not be effective in all cases. However, cranberry juice is very safe and is, therefore, worth using part of a UTI protocol. Cranberry juice can also reduce strong urinary odor, which is a UTI problem common in the elderly.
Probiotics contain good bacteria that prevent harmful bacteria overgrowth. It is especially useful to take probiotics when you are simultaneously taking antibiotics. Take them at a separate time of the day, and continue daily use of probiotics for a minimum of two months. It is best to take a high-potency probiotic supplement with at least four billion organisms.
Garlic is known for its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Research published in Microbes and Infections in 1999 indicates that garlic extract promotes antibacterial activity against E. coli—the bacteria most common with UTIs.
4. Essential Oils
Due to their antibacterial properties, essential oils can improve cystitis symptoms. The most common UTI-fighting essential oils include tea tree oil, oregano, myrrh, clove, lavender, chamomile, and bergamot essential oils.
5. Herbal Remedies
Certain herbs are excellent for bladder infections, including uva ursi, horsetail, goldenseal, and Echinacea. The arbutin in uva ursi converts to a chemical called hydroquinone, which helps destroy bacteria. Together goldenseal and Echinacea enhance immune function and combat infection. Horsetail has a long history of treating UTIs in general.
Bladder infections like UTIs are common in women, and can lead to troublesome symptoms, including pain or burning while urinating, the frequent need to urinate, and abdominal or lower back pain.
There are general lifestyle recommendations to prevent and treat recurrent UTIs, including:
- Drinking plenty of water or fluid to flush bacteria from the body.
- Wiping from front to back (for women) to ensure that bacteria doesn’t infect the urethra.
- Urinating whenever the urge arises to ensure that bacteria will not grow in the urine that is in bladder too long.
- Wearing loose-fitting underwear and clothing to ensure air keeps the urethra dry.
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