Urinary system is our body’s drainage system for removing wastes and extra water. Our urinary system comprises of 2 kidneys, 2 ureters, 1 urinary bladder and a urethra. Infection can happen in part of this system and is termed as Urinary Tract Infection. Urinary tract infections happen microbes such as bacteria, viruses overcome the lively defense and enter the urinary tract. Urinary tract infections or UTI’s is the second most common infection that happens in human.
Both the kidneys and ureters form the upper part of the urinary tract and is called as the upper Urinary tract. Bladder and urethra form the lower part of the urinary tract and is known as the lower urinary tract.
Microbes are germs invades our body & enter the urinary tract and cause discomfort and urinary problem that range from pain or burning sensation on parring to urine to high bone & chills depending upon the security and location of infection. Bacteria are usually the microbes that casus UTI, but fungi and in rare cases viruses can be cause UTI’s.
The lower urinary tract infections are most common and can resolve on its own or with medication by a week or so. But if UTI is in the upper urinary tract, is, involves kidneys – the symptoms can be severe and takes more time to resolve.
Depending on the area of the infection, UTI can be classified as: –
- Urethritis – Infection in the urethra.
- Cystitis – Infection in urinary bladder.
- Pyelonephritis – Infection in the kidneys.
Symptoms of UTI’s
Depends upon the area of infection: –
- Upper Urinary Tract Infection
- Usually affects the kidneys and require immediate care.
- Common symptoms are: –
- Pain and tenderness in middle and lower back and also on the flanks (sider)
- Fever with chilli
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Lower Urinary Tract Infections
- Most common type and involves less complication
- Common symptoms include: –
- Increased frequency of urination and feeling of incomplete evacuation.
- Increased urgency for urinary.
- Pain, burning sensation or discomfort while passing urine.
- Color change of urine – it can be cloudy, bright yellow, bloody or can resemble like tea or cola.
- Urine has a strong odour.
- Pain – lower abdomen and pelvic pain in woman and rectal pain in men.
Woman are more prone to UTI’s than men because of unique features of female anatomy.
- Shorter Urethra – Females have a shorter urethra compare to men and the urethra is placed close to both vagina and anus. Bacteria occurs around anus and vagina naturally and hence easy to get infected.
- Sex – Penetrative sex can put more pressure on the female urinary tract and can move the bacteria from anus to the bladder and can cause UTI’s.
- Birth Control Measure – Such as condoms, spermicides, etc., can change the vaginal microbiome and can increase the chances of UTI.
- Menopause – With menopause, the osetrogen levels in body decreases and along with that there can be changes in vaginal pain and bacteria – hence the chances of UTI increases.
Other Risk factors of developing UTI’s
- Old age.
- Reduced mobility or prolonged bed rest.
- History of UTI.
- Anything that caused destruction or blockage to urinary tract such as:-
- Urinary calculus or kidney stone.
- Prostate enlargement
- Certain forms of cancer – Chronic cons
- Weak immune system
- Prolonged are of urinary Calculi for voiding urine.
- Anatomical defect in urinary tract during birth.
Common causes of UTI’s
Urinary tract are caused by microorganisms – bacteria, fungi and in rare cases viruses. E Coli bacteria found in small intestines is the causative factor of 90% of urinary bladder infections.
Complications of UTI
- Chances of repeated infections – especially in women.
- Narrowing of urethra – especially in men due to repeated infections.
- Low birth weight baby or premature baby in case of UTI during pregnancy.
- Untreated upper UTI can lead to permanent kidney damage.
- Sepsis – a life threatening condition due to the infection entering the blood stream.
Diagnosis of UTI
If your doctor suspects of you having UTI, she/he will advice you the following tests for an accurate diagnosis:-
- Urine Analysis – For WBC, RBC or pus cells in urine.
- Urine culture – For the causative microbe.
- CBC / Complete Blood Count – in case of suspected upper UTI and to make sure the blood is not infected.
- CT or MRI – In case of repeated UTI’s or suspect of structural problems in urinary tract.
- Cystoscopy – In case of recurrent UTI’s.
Management of UTI’s
- Based on the causative organism antibiotics, anti-fungal or anti-viral are the first line of treatment for UTI’s.
- Since most of the UTI are caused by bacteria, antibiotics are used mostly for the treatment of UTI – oral antibiotics in case of lower UTI’s and intravenous antibiotics in case of upper UTI’s.
- Also the patient is encouraged to have plenty of fluid so as to flush out the system and to remove the residual urine.
Ayurveda and UTI
According to Ayurveda, any disease affecting the kidneys and the urinary tract is classified as Mutravaha stroto roga.
In particularly, difficulty or discomfort while passing urine is termed as Mutrakrichra.
Mutra – Urine
Krichra – Difficulty passing
Pcod treatment in Ayurveda explains Mutrakrichra happens due to vitiated doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) entering the urinary bladder and caused constriction, obstruction, pressure or irritation in the Mutramarga (urinary passage) and causes difficulty in urination. This condition is termed as Mutrakrichra.
Depending on the doshas that is vitiated, different types of mutrakrchra (dysuria) is explained: –
- Vataja Mutrakrchra – vitiated dosha is vata.
- Pittaja Mutrakrchra – vitiated dosha is pitta.
- Kaphaja Mutrakrchra – vitiated dosha is kapha.
- Sannipataja Mutrakrchra – all 3 doshas are vitiated.
- Shalyabhighataja Mutrakrchra – caused when the urinary tract gets injured by a foreign body – internally or externally – causes severe pain on urination.
- Shakrut Vighaataja Mutrakrcha – causes when the urge to defecate is withholded.
- Ashmarijanya Mutrakrachra – caused due to urinary calculi.
- Shukraja mutrakrchra – due to abnormalities with ejaculation of semen.
UTI according to Ayurveda are identified as any of the above 8 varieties of Mutrakrchra, and the treatment is based on the cause.
Also, in any of the diseased caused in the lower part or pelvic region of body, there is also an involvement of Apana vata according to Ayruveda. Hence therapies that normalize the apana vata is also opted for treatment for UTI.
Ayurvedic Management of Mutrakrchra / UTI
Ayurveda has a holistic approach on management of any diseases and hence include a combination of
1) Shodhana Therapies – internal cleansing
2) Shamana therapies – external
3) Dietary changes.
4) Lifestyle changes.
Ayurveda does the root cause correction and hence elimination of the accumulated toxins is the first line of treatment which is done through our panchkarma procedure.
Panchakarma therapies include the following steps: –
- Snehapana – Oral administration of medicated ghee in increasing doses till the attainment of ghee saturation.
- Abhyangam – Oil massage to improve circulation and unblocking channels.
- Swedana – Fomentation to unblock channels.
- Panchakarma – is selected according to the disease and patient nature and may include virechana (purgation) and vasti (enemas).
Post cleaning, internal medication are stated that tones up the organs in urinary tract and imporves their functioning. Also, the medicines that normalized the function of apana vays can also be started.
Commonly used Ayurvedic medications for UTI are: –
- Brihatyadi Kashayam
- Trikantakadi Kashayam
- Chandraprabha gulika
- Niruryadi gulika
- Shatavari gulika
Diet advised for UTI
- Drink plenty of fluid – especially water.
- Drink cranberry juice.
- Refrain from cold drinks, caffeine alcohol.
- Avoid meat, sea foods, excess salt and astringent foods.
- Include more fruits, vegetables, herbs such as coriander, turmeric, amla, gokhur, etc., in the diet.
Prevention of UTI
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily.
- Don’t hold urine or suprers urinary urge.
- Completely empty the bladder while urinating, don’t be in a hurry.
- Application of vaginal osetrogen can help prevent UTI’s in women after menopause
- Make sure to empty the bladder after sexual intercourse.
- Wear loose fitting clothing and cotton underwear.
- Keep the genital area clean.
- Females should also wipe from the front to the back to help avoiding spreading of germs form rectum to the vagina.
- Switching birth control method in case of recurrent UTI’s.
Yoga asanas advised in UTI
Yoga asanas that strengthen the pelvic flour muscle and the urinary system include: –
- Gomukhasan (cow face pose)
- Uttanapadasana (raised leg pose)
- Viparitakarani (legs up the wall pose)
- Pawanamuktasana (wind relieving pose)
- Ardha matsendragana (half spinal twist pose)