Urinary tract infection involves infection in any part of the urinary system. Urinary tract infection is the most common type of infection world over. The urinary tract is divided into the upper and the lower urinary tract. The upper urinary tract includes a pair of kidney and a pair of ureter and the lower urinary tract includes the bladder and the urethra. The urethra which is a tube that carries urine from bladder to the outside of the body is located close to the anus. Therefore microbes from large intestine can easily escape from the anus and enter urethra. Following the course of urinary system from the urethra the bacteria can travel up to the bladder and even the kidneys if the infection is not controlled by the defense mechanism in the urinary tract. Depending on which part of the urinary tract is infected UTI?s are given different names such as cystitis for urinary bladder infection, urethritis for infection of the urethra and pyelonephritis for kidney infection. Ureters are very rarely infected. Majority of UTI?s are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E.coli). Chlamydia and Mycoplasma bacteria can infect the urethra but not the bladder.
UTI’s are more common in females, as they have shorter urethra which allows easy access of microbes to the bladder. It is estimated that 50 percent of all women will experience UTI at least once during her lifetime. 20 to 30 percent of women suffer from recurrent UTI?s. UTI in pregnancy can prove dangerous for both the baby and the mother. Once infected the microbes are more likely to reach the kidneys due to the changes in the urinary tract during pregnancy. Similarly, there are some other factors that increase the likelihood of developing a UTI such as frequent, intense sexual intercourse with multiple or new partners that introduces bacteria into the urinary tract. Diabetes by lowering the immunity of the body and damaging the microvasculature of kidneys leads to increased chances of developing UTI. Poor personal hygiene, inability to void the bladder completely as in BHP, having a urinary catheter, kidney stones, use of some forms of contraception, bowel incontinence menopause, suppressed immune system, immobility for a long period, heavy use of antibiotics which can disrupt the natural flora of the bowel and urinary tract are all the risk factors for UTI?s.
Common Symptoms Of UTI
Common symptoms of UTI are strong and frequent urge to urinate, cloudy, bloody and strong smelling urine, pain or burning before during or after urination, muscle aches, pain abdomen and even nausea and vomiting with fever .People with catheters may have only fever as the presenting complaint due to UTI. In addition patients with kidney infection could also experience high fever with rigors and chills and pain in upper back and sides. Patients with cystitis or bladder infection tend to complaint of low grade fever, pain in abdomen and lower back.
Although common, UTI mostly is not serious. However UTI particularly of the upper urinary tract can lead to serious problems and permanent damage of the affected part. If the infection from the upper urinary tract enters the blood stream it can lead to septicemia. During pregnancy UTI increase the risk of the female delivering premature or low birth weight babies.
Considering the above one must observe necessary steps to prevent the likelihood of developing an UTI. These include drinking lots of water and urinating frequently, avoiding alcohol and caffeine that can irritate the bladder, urinating shortly after coition, wiping the genitals from front to back after urinating or after bowel movement, keeping genitals clean, avoiding using oils in the genital area, preferring sanitary pads over tampons, avoiding using spermicides or diaphragm for contraception, avoiding using perfumed products in genital area and wearing cotton under garment and loose-fitting clothes to keep the area around urethra dry as much as possible.
Once developed it is advisable to approach a doctor. Diagnosis is usually made by taking the symptoms and testing a urine sample for the presence of white blood cells, red blood cells and bacteria. However in people with recurrent UTI extensive testing such as USG, CT, MRI, Urodynamics to determine how the urinary tract is storing and releasing urine and cystoscopy may be required to eliminate presence of any anatomical or functional issues.
Homeopathic Treatment for UTI
Homeopathy provides best treatment for urinary tract infection and bladder weakness. Best selected homeopathic medicine not only helps to give relief from the distressing symptoms of urinary tract infection but it also removes the tendency to have recurrent infections. For this the homeopathic physician takes a detailed case history of the patient. He asks questions related to mental and physical sphere to find out the characteristic symptoms for prescription. This includes cause such as urinary tract infection due kidney stones and sand in urine- Sarsaparilla, Lycopodium clavatum, sensation such as burning with intolerable urging- Cantharis, or burning with scanty urine and odema- Apis mellifica or burning urination with profuse and frequent urine- Equisetum hymale or modality such as burning urination better by hot application- Arsenic album , burning urination better by cold application- Apis mellifica and lastly the concomitant.
Recurrent tendency for UTI can be best eliminated by constitutional and anti sycotic medicines like Staphysagria, Thuja occidentalis, Medorrhinum, etc. Best homeopathic treatment relieves the symptoms without causing any side effects as seen with the use of antibiotics and painkillers. Hence homeopathic medications with right lifestyle changes provides best and safest solution to counter one of the common problems of UTI.