Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) are common, with over 50% of women experiencing one in their lifetime. They are mostly caused by a bacterial infection, and antibiotics are often prescribed to treat them. But as we all know, antibiotics have their downside, with more strains of bacteria becoming antibiotic resistant. Antibiotics also wipe out the beneficial bacteria in our gut, which gives the commensals (the bad bugs and yeasts) a foot hold to repopulate first and out number the good bugs. All of this has a detrimental effect on our immune system making us prone to another infection, and the cycle goes on.
Fortunately, you can end the cycle of recurring UTI’s. Having successfully treated many cases of chronic urinary tract infections, I encourage my clients to look further than the urogenital system (bladder, urethra etc) for the source of the problem. This is because the health of the urogenital system is affected by other systems in the body, especially the microbiome (gut health) and the immune system. Addressing nutritional deficiencies is also crucial for healing and strengthening the urogenital tissues and to ensure the immune system is in top shape to deal with pathogens. High sugar diets and excessive acid forming foods also contribute to the problem.
Common signs and symptoms:
- Painful urination, with a burning sensation, frequency, and urgency
- Blood or pus in urine
- Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
- Chills, fever (fever may be the only symptom in infants and children)
- Strong-smelling urine
Treatment for UTI’s & Cystitis
I have found herbal medicine to be very effective in treating urinary tract infections and cystitis. Those who are prone to these infections can strengthen their urogenital tissue and combat pathogens with antimicrobial, immune supportive and bladder tonifying herbs. Herbs I use include Buchu, Crataeva, Andrographis, Corn Silk, Golden Seal, Echinacea and Bearberry as well as many others. In cases where antibiotics have to be used, herbal medicine is still indicated to ensure any bacterial biofilms are broken down. This allows the antibiotics to reach bacteria hidden in biofilms and can also reduce antibiotic resistance.
A thorough dietary assessment helps to reveal missing pieces of the nutritional picture. This can include nutritional deficiencies, triggers for dysbiosis (gut flora imbalance) and sources of acidity. These can be corrected with dietary changes and supplementation if necessary. I also recommend pathology testing when more in-depth detail on an individuals nutritional status is needed.