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Bladder Infection, UTI, Cystitis… They All Spell P-A-I-N

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm 1 Comment

Our urinary system plays a key role in maintaining homeostasis in the body. The urinary system includes, in the order that urine flows, the Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder and finally, the Urethra. The Urethra is the lowest point in the urinary system of which urine is then expelled from the body. Because the Urethra is closest to the outside world, it also provides an opportunity for pathogens to enter the system and spread to the bladder and kidneys. This is possible for both men and women but women are more susceptible to infection for a couple of reasons.

1) A woman’s Urethra is about 1 ½” long while a man’s Urethra is almost 8” long.
2) A woman’s Urethral opening is located more closely to the vaginal opening and the rectum.

Bladder infections, also known as Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) or Cystitis, can be caused by many factors.

1) Bacteria that live in the bowel, mainly E. coli, can enter the urethral opening due to improper hygiene techniques.
2) Sexual intercourse, even oral and manual, can push bacteria into the opening. Some women experience “Honey moon Cystitis” where they contract infection every time they have sex.
3) A woman with various sexual partners may be more susceptible than a woman in a monogamous relationship mostly due to an increased level of exposure to bacteria and to sexually transmitted disease like Chlamydia which has become an increasingly common source of infection.
4) When urine is not emptied from the bladder completely it can stagnate and host infection. Factors that prevent the bladder from emptying completely include holding urine in for too long which stretches and weakens the bladder muscles, wearing a diaphragm and pregnancy.
5) Catheter use in hospitals can also cause infection.

When bacteria enter the urethra and spread to the bladder they attach to the walls and begin to multiply. When the bacteria attach to the bladder walls it causes inflammation and can cause blood to leak into the bladder.

For those women who have had a bladder infection, the symptoms are unmistakable. The most common symptom is a frequent and almost uncontrollable need to urinate followed by urine that burns and may be cloudy or even tinged with blood. The person may also feel a sore and uncomfortable sensation in the abdomen, back and sides. If the infection spreads to the kidneys then the individual may experience back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting in addition to the above mentioned symptoms.

There are simple and natural ways to help prevent a Bladder Infection.

1. Urinating after intercourse can help to flush bacteria from the area.

2. Avoid wiping from back to front after using the restroom.

3. Avoid holding your urine in for long periods of time.

4. The Bacteria need an environment with a certain PH to thrive so maintaining an alkaline diet can be helpful. Taking Apple Cider Vinegar (the cloudy one that contains the “Mother”) can help to maintain alkaline urine while Umaboshi Plum concentrate can be taken to help acidify the urine.

5. Drinking plenty of pure water daily will help to flush the system.

6. B Vitamins help to maintain the muscles in the urogenital tract so taking a B Vitamin supplement can be helpful.

7. Taking high doses of Vitamin C (10,000 to 15,000 mg/day) can help to boost immunity and fight infection.

8. The herbs Uva ursi and Goldenseal are both natural antibiotics that work well against the E. coli bacteria. Marshmallow (the herb, not the puffy junk food) helps to soothe the lining of the bladder and should be included in the herbal remedies.

9. Cranberry is helpful because it coats the bladder lining and prevents the bacteria from being able to attach to the bladder walls. Cranberry has been shown to be effective at both preventing and relieving cystitis. You can either take cranberry pills daily or drink cranberry juice but be sure to drink juice without added sugar because sugar can worsen the infection. The pills are often the most tolerable way to take cranberry as the unsweetened juice can be quite bitter. Blueberries are also helpful for the same reasons.

10. Drinking ½ teaspoon of baking soda in eight ounces of water when the UTI is first noticed can also be helpful.

11. Parsley, garlic, nasturtium and rose hips all have ingredients that can help to stave off infection so including them in your diet is a simple preventative measure.

12. You can also boil Hibiscus flowers “flor de jamaica” in water for few minutes, let the liquid cool and then drink it. Hibiscus flowers are a diuretic and can be helpful in prevention. They are also mucilaginous which helps to coat and soothe the urinary system. They also contain many proanthocyanidins which have antioxidant, fever-reducing, pain-relieving (analgesic) and anti-spasmodic properties which can all help to relieve the symptoms of cystitis.

13. There are a few Homeopathic remedies which can help with different symptoms of cystitis. Cantharis is helpful when the urine scalds and is passed drop by drop, Urtica urens helps when there is stinging and itching while urinating, Staphisagria for cystitis after intercourse and Sarsaparilla for burning after urinating.

14. Essential oils can also be used including:

• Cajuput oil: 1-drop on honey three times a day
• Eucalyptus globulus essential oil: 1-drop on honey three times a day, half an hour before each meal
• Juniper communis: 1-drop on honey after every meal, and rub the lower abdomen with olive oil mixed with 10% of juniper essential oil. If the infection has already spread to the kdneys then you should avoid use of Juniper though as it could further irritate the kidneys.
• Lavender angustifolia: 1-drop on honey half an hour after each meal
• Pine sylvestris: 1-drop on honey after each meal

You can also add essential oils of Juniper berry, sandalwood, chamomile, pine, tea tree or bergamot to your bath water during an infection to help clear it up.

Some people are sensitive to different essential oils though so make sure you have no allergies or sensitivities to an oil by performing a skin patch test before bathing in it. Some oil are also not recommended during pregnancy so make sure you do some research on the oils before using any specific one.

Prevention is key but if you find yourself with a UTI and none of these remedies help then your doctor can likely prescribe you some antibiotics. It is important not to wait too long if you do not feel the symptoms improving as the infection can spread to the kidneys causing many more complications. Hopefully though, with the right preventative measures as outlined above, you won’t have to resort to your doctor and his prescription pad.

- For Educational Purposes Only
- Not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition
-These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA
- These statements are my opinions and conclusion from the knowledge I have thus far

04/10/09 Updated to include Hibiscus Remedy
04/17/09 Updated to include Homeopathic Remedies and further explanation of Hibiscus

References:

1. Thibodeau & Patton, Structure and Function of the Body, 13th Edition, 2008, pg. 450-451
2. http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/bladderhealth/a/UTI.htm
Accessed: 04/07/09, Author: Tracee Cornforth
3. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-bladder-infections-basic-inform
Accessed: 04/07/09, Author: Marcel Horowitz, MD
4. Herb 201 Module 5 ACHS Course Material
5. http://www.livestrong.com/article/12494-bladder-infections/
Accessed: 04/08/09
6. http://health.howstuffworks.com/treating-a-bladder-infection-with-aromatherapy.h
Accessed: 04/08/09
7. http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/remedy/Urinary-Tract-Infection-(UTI).html
Accessed: 04/08/09
8. http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/15/48.cfm
Accessed: 04/08/09

Our urinary system plays a key role in maintaining homeostasis in the body. The urinary system includes, in the order that urine flows, the Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder and finally, the Urethra. The Urethra is the lowest point in the urinary system of which urine is then expelled from the body. Because the Urethra is closest to the outside world, it also provides an opportunity for pathogens to enter the system and spread to the bladder and kidneys. This is possible for both men and women but women are more susceptible to infection for a couple of reasons.

1) A woman’s Urethra is about 1 ½” long while a man’s Urethra is almost 8” long.
2) A woman’s Urethral opening is located more closely to the vaginal opening and the rectum.

Bladder infections, also known as Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) or Cystitis, can be caused by many factors.

1) Bacteria that live in the bowel, mainly E. coli, can enter the urethral opening due to improper hygiene techniques.
2) Sexual intercourse, even oral and manual, can push bacteria into the opening. Some women experience “Honey moon Cystitis” where they contract infection every time they have sex.
3) A woman with various sexual partners may be more susceptible than a woman in a monogamous relationship mostly due to an increased level of exposure to bacteria and to sexually transmitted disease like Chlamydia which has become an increasingly common source of infection.
4) When urine is not emptied from the bladder completely it can stagnate and host infection. Factors that prevent the bladder from emptying completely include holding urine in for too long which stretches and weakens the bladder muscles, wearing a diaphragm and pregnancy.
5) Catheter use in hospitals can also cause infection.

When bacteria enter the urethra and spread to the bladder they attach to the walls and begin to multiply. When the bacteria attach to the bladder walls it causes inflammation and can cause blood to leak into the bladder.

For those women who have had a bladder infection, the symptoms are unmistakable. The most common symptom is a frequent and almost uncontrollable need to urinate followed by urine that burns and may be cloudy or even tinged with blood. The person may also feel a sore and uncomfortable sensation in the abdomen, back and sides. If the infection spreads to the kidneys then the individual may experience back pain, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting in addition to the above mentioned symptoms.

There are simple and natural ways to help prevent a Bladder Infection.

1. Urinating after intercourse can help to flush bacteria from the area.

2. Avoid wiping from back to front after using the restroom.

3. Avoid holding your urine in for long periods of time.

4. The Bacteria need an environment with a certain PH to thrive so maintaining an alkaline diet can be helpful. Taking Apple Cider Vinegar (the cloudy one that contains the “Mother”) can help to maintain alkaline urine while Umaboshi Plum concentrate can be taken to help acidify the urine.

5. Drinking plenty of pure water daily will help to flush the system.

6. B Vitamins help to maintain the muscles in the urogenital tract so taking a B Vitamin supplement can be helpful.

7. Taking high doses of Vitamin C (10,000 to 15,000 mg/day) can help to boost immunity and fight infection.

8. The herbs Uva ursi and Goldenseal are both natural antibiotics that work well against the E. coli bacteria. Marshmallow (the herb, not the puffy junk food) helps to soothe the lining of the bladder and should be included in the herbal remedies.

9. Cranberry is helpful because it coats the bladder lining and prevents the bacteria from being able to attach to the bladder walls. Cranberry has been shown to be effective at both preventing and relieving cystitis. You can either take cranberry pills daily or drink cranberry juice but be sure to drink juice without added sugar because sugar can worsen the infection. The pills are often the most tolerable way to take cranberry as the unsweetened juice can be quite bitter. Blueberries are also helpful for the same reasons.

10. Drinking ½ teaspoon of baking soda in eight ounces of water when the UTI is first noticed can also be helpful.

11. Parsley, garlic, nasturtium and rose hips all have ingredients that can help to stave off infection so including them in your diet is a simple preventative measure.

12. You can also boil Hibiscus flowers “flor de jamaica” in water for few minutes, let the liquid cool and then drink it. Hibiscus flowers are a diuretic and can be helpful in prevention. They are also mucilaginous which helps to coat and soothe the urinary system. They also contain many proanthocyanidins which have antioxidant, fever-reducing, pain-relieving (analgesic) and anti-spasmodic properties which can all help to relieve the symptoms of cystitis.

13. There are a few Homeopathic remedies which can help with different symptoms of cystitis. Cantharis is helpful when the urine scalds and is passed drop by drop, Urtica urens helps when there is stinging and itching while urinating, Staphisagria for cystitis after intercourse and Sarsaparilla for burning after urinating.

14. Essential oils can also be used including:

• Cajuput oil: 1-drop on honey three times a day
• Eucalyptus globulus essential oil: 1-drop on honey three times a day, half an hour before each meal
• Juniper communis: 1-drop on honey after every meal, and rub the lower abdomen with olive oil mixed with 10% of juniper essential oil. If the infection has already spread to the kdneys then you should avoid use of Juniper though as it could further irritate the kidneys.
• Lavender angustifolia: 1-drop on honey half an hour after each meal
• Pine sylvestris: 1-drop on honey after each meal

You can also add essential oils of Juniper berry, sandalwood, chamomile, pine, tea tree or bergamot to your bath water during an infection to help clear it up.

Some people are sensitive to different essential oils though so make sure you have no allergies or sensitivities to an oil by performing a skin patch test before bathing in it. Some oil are also not recommended during pregnancy so make sure you do some research on the oils before using any specific one.

Prevention is key but if you find yourself with a UTI and none of these remedies help then your doctor can likely prescribe you some antibiotics. It is important not to wait too long if you do not feel the symptoms improving as the infection can spread to the kidneys causing many more complications. Hopefully though, with the right preventative measures as outlined above, you won’t have to resort to your doctor and his prescription pad.

- For Educational Purposes Only
- Not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition
-These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA
- These statements are my opinions and conclusion from the knowledge I have thus far

04/10/09 Updated to include Hibiscus Remedy
04/17/09 Updated to include Homeopathic Remedies and further explanation of Hibiscus

References:

1. Thibodeau & Patton, Structure and Function of the Body, 13th Edition, 2008, pg. 450-451
2. http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/bladderhealth/a/UTI.htm
Accessed: 04/07/09, Author: Tracee Cornforth
3. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-bladder-infections-basic-inform
Accessed: 04/07/09, Author: Marcel Horowitz, MD
4. Herb 201 Module 5 ACHS Course Material
5. http://www.livestrong.com/article/12494-bladder-infections/
Accessed: 04/08/09
6. http://health.howstuffworks.com/treating-a-bladder-infection-with-aromatherapy.h
Accessed: 04/08/09
7. http://www.home-remedies-for-you.com/remedy/Urinary-Tract-Infection-(UTI).html
Accessed: 04/08/09
8. http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/15/48.cfm
Accessed: 04/08/09

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Untreated urinary tract infections can lead to acute or chronic kidney infections (pyelonephritis), which could permanently damage your kidneys. It is essential to have <gt;.
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