The urinary system is our body’s drainage system for removing wastes and extra water. Our urinary system comprises 2 kidneys, 2 ureters, 1 urinary bladder, and a urethra. Infection can happen in part of this system and is termed Urinary Tract Infection. Urinary tract infections happen microbes such as bacteria, and 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 which is called the upper Urinary tract. The bladder and urethra form the lower part of the urinary tract are known as lower urinary tract.

Microbes are germs that invade 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 the infection. Bacteria are usually the microbes that cause UTIs, but fungi and in rare cases viruses can cause UTI’s.

Lower urinary tract infections are most common and can resolve on their own or with medication in 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: –

  1. Urethritis – Infection in the urethra.
  2. Cystitis – Infection in the urinary bladder.
  • Pyelonephritis – Infection in the kidneys.

Symptoms of UTI’s

Depends upon the area of infection: –

  1. Upper Urinary Tract Infection
  • Usually affects the kidneys and requires immediate care.
  • Common symptoms are: –
  • Pain and tenderness in the middle and lower back and also on the flanks (sider)
  • Fever with chili
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  1. 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 tea or cola.
  • Urine has a strong odor.
  • Pain – lower abdomen and pelvic pain in women and rectal pain in men.

Women are more prone to UTI’s than men because of the unique features of female anatomy.

  1. Shorter Urethra – Females have a shorter urethra compared to men and the urethra is placed close to both vagina and anus. Bacteria occur around the anus and vagina naturally and hence is easy to get infected.
  2. Sex – Penetrative sex can put more pressure on the female urinary tract and can move the bacteria from the anus to the bladder and can cause UTIs.
  3. Birth Control Measures – Such as condoms, spermicides, etc., can change the vaginal microbiome and can increase the chances of UTI.
  4. Menopause – With menopause, the estrogen levels in the body decrease, and along with there can be changes in vaginal pain and bacteria – hence the chances of UTI increases.

Other Risk Factors for Developing UTI’s

  1. Old age.
  2. Reduced mobility or prolonged bed rest.
  • History of UTI.
  1. Anything that caused destruction or blockage to the urinary tract such as:-
  • Urinary calculus or kidney stone.
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain forms of cancer – Chronic cons
  • Diabetes
  • Weak immune system
  • Prolonged are of urinary Calculi for avoiding urine.
  • Anatomical defect in the urinary tract during birth.

Common Causes of UTI’s

The urinary tract is 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 the 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 bloodstream.

Diagnosis of UTI

If your doctor suspects you have UTI, she/he will advise you on 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 UTIs or suspect structural problems in the urinary tract.
  • Cystoscopy – In case of recurrent UTIs.

Management of UTIs

  • Based on the causative organism antibiotics, anti-fungal or anti-viral are the first line of treatment for UTIs.
  • Since most UTIs are caused by bacteria, antibiotics are used mostly for the treatment of UTIs – oral antibiotics in case of lower UTIs and intravenous antibiotics in case of upper UTIs.
  • Also, the patient is encouraged to have plenty of fluid so as to flush out the system and 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 causing constriction, obstruction, pressure or irritation in the Mutramarga (urinary passage) and causing difficulty in urination. This condition is termed Mutrakrichra.

Depending on the doshas that are 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 during urination.
  • Shakrut Vighaataja Mutrakrcha – causes when the urge to defecate is withholder.
  • 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 the 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.

 Shodhana Therapies

Ayurveda does the root cause correction and hence elimination of the accumulated toxins is the first line of treatment which is done through our panchakarma 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).

Shamana Therapies

Post-cleaning, internal medication is stated that tones up the organs in the urinary tract and improve 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
  • Chandanaristham
  • Punarnasvasavam
  • 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 suppress the urinary urge.
  • Completely empty the bladder while urinating, don’t be in a hurry.
  • Application of vaginal estrogen 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 avoid the spreading of germs from the 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 floor 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)
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